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User-centred Digital Strategy

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, we’ll explore a simple framework for understanding what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ strategy, and discuss how we can reclaim strategy, do it well, and get the support we need to translate it into action. You’ll learn:

- The difference between vision, strategy and tactics.
- How to hit the‘ goldilocks point’ with strategy: not so visionary you fail the "yeah right" test, not so mundane you fail the "so what?" test
- The benefits of ‘good strategy’ and why its essential to becoming agile
- How and when to engage with stakeholders, avoiding big surprises to get the support and buy-in you need to turn good ideas into action

You should 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 practical strategy behind you you’ll have a lot more chance of succeeding.


Sophie is a freelance consultant and coach specialising in service design and product strategy. She helps organisations deliver better services to customers by putting user needs at the heart of their digital strategy, and by integrating user-centred design into agile delivery practices.

Currently working on transforming access to digital health services at NHS Digital, she has over 15 years' experience working with multi-disciplinary teams on strategic content, design and development projects. 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.

She’s worked for, among others, 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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