Chief Strategy Officer
Digital technology was revolutionising our world – and I had to be part of it.
Like many young males, it was videogames that got me hooked on digital. Soon, I was building websites and programming for myself. In fact, I still have a graphics calculator with games I coded on it. I went on to do a computer science degree at Durham University, focusing on the academic side initially as I wanted to be able to deconstruct any problem down to its building blocks before creating the basis for a solution.
While I was at uni, I did briefly consider pursuing an academic career full-time but was far too eager to get out there into the ‘big bad world’. I learned about Scott Logic through its Chairman, Gary Scott, who gave a lecture at Durham back in 2006. By then, I was all set to go into the games industry but Scott Logic appealed to me more as the work sounded fascinating and I wanted to do London-level work – but not based in London.
My application was successful and I was brought on as a graduate developer at a time when the company only consisted of 15 people working predominantly for Lehman Brothers. For someone fresh out of uni though, it felt like I had joined the ‘big league’. After working on a dummy system to win a new client, I was moved on to Lehman Brothers’ trading research platform before relocating to Scott Logic’s new Edinburgh office, as my girlfriend lived there.
As well as my day-to-day dev duties, I soon became passionate about the potential of data visualisation and UX design to better serve our clients. My interest was triggered by a Deutsche Bank project where I introduced UX elements that proved transformative to the project’s success; it put usability front and centre, instead of focusing solely on a great-looking design.
In 2013, I discussed the possibilities of UX with Gary who decided I should explore its potential as a new offering to Scott Logic’s clients. This led to me spending some years as the Head of User Experience Design, building up an in-house UX team while rolling out our new UX offering to more and more clients.
As well as managing the team, I soon found myself again drawn to areas where we might offer better or different approaches to our existing processes and solutions. As ever, Scott Logic encouraged me to dig deeper and in 2018, I was asked to bring my expertise to bear on the whole company, its operations and client relations – but on a more formal basis as Scott Logic’s Innovation Director and later on, as an Executive Director too.
My current role sees me driving change, whether it be for client solutions or internally at Scott Logic itself. With the former, it’s often helping established market leaders who feel new, nimbler start-ups are eating into their market share, and are keen to adapt so they remain competitive.
Internally, one of my current focuses is on our social impact. For instance, what part are we playing in climate change? How about diversity? What’s our impact on the local economy? These aren’t rhetorical questions, either; I advocate for change at the boardroom level so that we get the pan-company buy-in we need to keep pushing, growing and doing better.
Ultimately, I’ve always wanted to be part of an organisation that actively encourages you to explore new territories. The fact that I’ve now been at Scott Logic for 15 years is testimony to the fact that the company lets you do just that. You really can’t ask for more from a job.