Just over 7 years ago I hung up my Royal Navy uniform and became a civil servant working for Dstl (the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory). It’s been a challenging and hugely rewarding time. I started in the geospatial intelligence team, working on a variety of research projects as technical lead or project manager (occasionally both). Working with some great colleagues I was able to play the lead role in establishing MOD’s spatial data infrastructure – a technical coherence framework that formed the basis for a major investment in the Defence Geospatial Services programme.
An internal secondment led to a new job in the CIO’s team leading on the management and exploitation of knowledge and information. Three roles in one, combining traditional IS direction, corporate change and research leadership. This was a great opportunity to use my influence to secure an Executive commitment to “shift the way that Dstl works” and adopt a programme of collaborative technology and behaviours. One of the cornerstones for this was an implementation of MediaWiki with the semantic extension which gave us a way to build a powerful internal encyclopaedic knowledge base.
The other main component was the implementation of a social software platform to get folk collaborating across the boundaries of projects and departments, which over the years had become somewhat isolated silos. I led a great team working on this, spanning our ICT contractor, immediate colleagues in IT, 3rd party software vendor and advocates across the organisation. Working together I’m proud to say we pulled off what one key player described as a ‘wow project’. And in January this year we got some great recognition in the civil service TW3 (The Way We Work) awards. We were Team runner-up in Technology category, with the judges citing our work as a contributory factor to Dstl’s win in Corporate Leadership. It’s not often that you get the chance to instigate and then drive through a cultural shift like that at scale.
But I feel ready for a change and I’ve decided to leave Dstl at the end of March 2016.
I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do after that – but I’m fairly sure I’m not going to be seeking another full-time job straight away. That’s mainly because we want to move up to London for a few years and I need some time to get our house ‘rental-ready’. So I’m going to see if I can create a viable consultancy offering, possibly mixed with some short-term contract work. If that goes well, I may try and do more of it (with maybe longer contracts) after the move. If it doesn’t, I’ll try and get a regular job.
That covers leaving and moving. But if I can, I’m also staying.
I’m staying #OfTheGovernment – part of the community of government revolutionaries that want to build services that support people far better than the Government can today. So in a direct response to Jason (@xcaplin) Caplin’s phoenix moment blog post I’m declaring I will be ready for my next contract in-government, or as close as I can get, in Summer 2016.