When I joined LBG in 2016, I arrogantly assumed I had little left to learn. Almost five years later I’m an entirely different person with a ton of new perspectives on people, products and working culture. Before I start my new adventure I want to capture these.

It’s easy to be a busy idiot in a sea of meetings that have limited value; meetings equal presence which suggest importance which creates a sense of security, something not to be underestimated as a motivator in an organisation which is continually striving for more efficiency (and less people).

The first casualty…

Inspired by this I wanted to reflect on what I’m currently doing as it will be useful for me to look back on, and might be interesting for others.

Location: South London (Penge!)
Current Gig: Design lead and product owner at Lloyds Banking Group
Current mobile device: Pixel 4, terrible battery
Current computer: Macbook pro and a HP surface book (surprisingly good)
One word that best describes how you work: happy; cheesy I know but I appreciate how fortunate I am and try and face every work challenge with optimism.

First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.

  1. Studied illustration at Falmouth uni.
  2. Left with no plan and…

I’m often asked about my career path through Lloyds Banking Group, by colleagues within the bank and friends outside. This is a series of reflections that might be interesting or useful for others.

The beginning

Day one — I wore a blazer, jumper AND shirt and was super hot all day

I joined LBG in November 2016; after a fairly heavy interview process I landed and was the second service design person in after my boss Alberta. At least I thought I was the second; as it quickly transpired there were several great service design brains already within the bank, and the early days involved a lot of coffee and a lot of “so what do you do?”…

Last Friday I ran a pub quiz with a load of friends and it was ace, so I wanted to write up the basics in case others found it useful. I’ve added loads of quiz content below as many people have asked me to share.

A brilliant mix of friends and family

What you need

  • The internet and a laptop/tablet
  • A group chat platform — I use whereby.com as it require no plug-in and is usually super stable
  • A couple of hours to plan quiz content
  • A date and time to run the quiz
  • Willing participants :)


I planned five rounds and this took about 90…

I’m almost three years with Lloyds Banking Group, in which I’ve helped to establish a thriving service design team (now 34) and more recently helped shape and lead a broader retail design team of 112. I’ve made mistakes but am also proud of some great achievements and where we’ve gotten to, so I’m writing this as a chance to reflect and also making it public as I hope others can relate.

People people people

I know this is obvious but I so often forget it. Whenever I feel stressed or out of control, it’s because I’ve not been paying attention to people. Whether…

  1. Drawing is a superpower and I should do more rather than less.
  2. Do few things well rather than many badly.
  3. FIP FM is the only music you’ll ever need.
  4. If asking others to do work, prioritise time to brief them well.
  5. Everything is a cycle and there’s joy in revisiting old ideas in new contexts.

Through 2018 we’ve developed Lloyds banking group service design capability to a team of 24. I’ve written before about the realities of service design within a large bank, and wanted to share something we’ve been using to assess skills within the team.

Why assess skills?

Initially team growth was brilliantly chaotic. We hired (mostly) design veterans from places like IDEO and Vodafone, confident they could mold their skills to fit the problems they were thrown into. This worked well for a time but some in the team felt we needed more structure and agreement about what it meant to be a service designer…

A few weeks back I saw a tweet from Olivier Huntington linking to an easy-to-follow guide to build a budgeting widget using the newly released Monzo/IFTTT integration. I followed the guide, but quickly lost interest in the widget as it didn’t fill any unmet need I had.

I wanted a daily spend counter so did some clumsy hacking in Olivier’s original spreadsheet and worked out a simple way of collecting a given days spend:

=SUMIF(G2:G999, TODAY(), H2:H999)

  1. Following Olivier’s original guide, insert this into the second sheet on the ‘main budget sheet’:
The sum is inserted in the J column above

2. Then use this cell rather than the…

To celebrate service design day I thought I’d share some insight into what doing service design in a large service provider is like on a day-to-day basis. I’m head of service design at Lloyds Banking Group and have been since November 2016.

Team shape and structure

In mid-2016 Alberta Soranzo was hired to build the team, and today we’re 16 strong. We have a mostly senior team with backgrounds from IDEO, Ministry of Justice, Tesco, Vodafone and many others. The majority of the them work in specific journeys (mortgages, retail banking etc), delivering work that I’ll talk about below. …

Since joining Lloyds Banking Group I’ve been really fortunate to work alongside a brilliant systems thinking team, along the way learning stuff that now informs every conversation I have. I’ve found it incredibly useful as a designer and so wanted to share three things:

Stop blaming people

The performance of anyone is governed largely by the system that he works in, the responsibility of management.— W. Edwards Demming

Above all, systems thinking has given me tools and language to express what I’ve always known intuitively as empathy. Person X is not necessarily a bad person for blocking my project, and Person Y is…

Ross Breadmore

Mum asked for a baby, dad asked for a transformer - I was the compromise. Chief product officer at 4G Capital.

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