User-Centred Digital Strategy

A 45 minute Case Study / Experience Report by:

Sophie Dennis


Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Case Study / Experience Report

Peter Drucker once observed: “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all”. Strategy is how you avoid this. A sound strategy tells you where you are going, and sets out a high-level, achievable plan to get there. It’s how you make sure anyone can decide what the right things are to work on.

Yet bad strategy documents abound: massive tomes, years in the making (during which the organisation has continued to do what it perhaps should not have been doing at all), full of platitudes, unattainable visions, or uninspiring lists of mundane tactical objectives. Documents that sit in draws, routinely ignored. It makes it easy to pooh-pooh strategy, dismissing it with another Drucker aphorism “culture eats strategy for breakfast” or the mantras of “strategy is easy, tactics are hard” and “the strategy is delivery”.

Using real-world examples of successful discovery and strategy projects, this talk will show you how to reclaim strategy, do it well, and get the support you need to translate it into action. You’ll be able to apply what you learn whether you’re developing the overarching strategy for a whole company, for a particular product or service, or delivering a brand, content or customer experience strategy. Culture may still eat strategy for breakfast, and implementation may still be the really hard part, but with a good strategy behind you you’ll have a lot more chance of succeeding.

You will learn:

  • how to distinguish between vision, strategy and tactics, decide which your organisation needs right now, and the UX methods to apply to each
  • how to hit the ‘goldilocks point’ with your strategy: not so visionary you fail the "yeah right" test, not so mundane you fail the "so what?" test
  • how and when to engage with stakeholders, avoiding big surprises in order to get the support and buy-in that’s necessary to turn recommendations into action
  • how to tackle the discovery process and structure your findings and recommendations

About the Speaker

Sophie is a freelance consultant and coach. She helps organisations deliver better services to customers by putting user needs at the heart of their digital strategy, and leads, coaches and mentors UX and agile teams. She's led ambitious user research and discovery programmes, defined digital strategies for major public and third-sector organisations, and built high-performing teams able to deliver high-quality user-centred digital services at pace. Currently at NHS Digital, she has over 15 years' experience working with multi-disciplinary teams on strategic content, design and development projects including Public Health England, Department for Work and Pensions, the National Trust, Land Registry, Bristol City Council, the University of Surrey, Jisc and the Office for National Statistics, and world-leading experience design agencies CX Partners and Nomensa.


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