Introducing Jess

Hello! I’m Jess, Perago’s new Service Design and Research Lead. With the demand for user centred service design skills growing in Wales, I’m really thrilled to have joined at this exciting time. I’m a public servant at heart, having worked in digital and design roles across 5 central government departments in the past 5 years. Although before starting this role, I was working at one of Wales’s only product and service design consultancies, so this way of working isn’t completely new to me.

Why I joined Perago

I’m really passionate about improving public services using user centred methods. After working in this way for many years now, I struggle to imagine why you would ever build a service without first understanding what it needs to do for the people it serves. I know this is different to how many public service (and private sector) teams have tended to work in the past, so I’m keen to introduce and embed more user centred and digital mindsets to service delivery to as many teams as possible.

Although I’m the first dedicated specialist in this area at Perago, the team here are big advocates for this way of working and have plenty of experience of working alongside service designers and user researchers and there’s so much I’m going to learn from their experiences. Facilitating change in the public sector can be a tough role, so I feel really fortunate to have found myself a gang of experienced digital change experts to help me navigate it all.


My priorities for the role

I’m in week one of the new role so my aspirations are still emergent at this stage. It loosely boils down to three key points:

Do the thing – Perhaps a little obvious to say as Service Design and Research Lead, but I’d like to do some service design and research! There’s not much better than getting stuck in with a team and doing research and design work to improve their services. There’s lots of projects already ongoing at Perago that I’m keen to get involved with. One of the beauties of consultancy work is you never know what project might be around the corner. It would be my dream to use user centred design methods to help with big social issues, like health, housing and the environment. Although I find it quite easy to get excited about most domains, as long as the potential to make things better for people is there (spoiler: it always is).

Develop the market – The appetite for user centred design skills in Wales has been a long time coming, which means service design jobs in the local area have previously been hard to come by. With the buzz around the recently established Centre for Digital Public Services Wales, I hope that things are starting to change. As part of my role here at Perago, I anticipate I’ll be introducing teams to what user centred service design is all about and winning some hearts and minds across the public sector. I hope that more organisations continue to hire experienced service design professionals to improve their services and to build the capability for this way of working in their existing teams.

Build the supply – As mentioned, compared to other parts of the UK, user centred design jobs tend to be few and far between in Wales. This means that lots of talented professionals in Wales move away, commute to England or end up under-employed or unfulfilled in other jobs. As the demand grows for these skills, I would love to see opportunities for local people flourish. It’s also a hard industry to break into so I hope to play a part in helping others start their career in service design. We don’t quite know what this will look like yet, but it’s part of my role here at Perago to help figure out how we help meet that demand.

Just a few small and in no way daunting tasks (sarcasm). Please say hi if you’re interested in any of the things I’ve written about. I’d love to hear from you!


Twitter: @jess_neely




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