Being a designer in a large organisation

Ross Breadmore
5 min readJun 1, 2020

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?” type conversations.

Learning #1: I quickly learned it was better to embrace others with similar goals, rather than try and beat them or shut them down.

We then went about building a team and within a year we had around 15 people, enough that I had to step away from the hands on design and focus on team leadership (I’ll come back to this). I also spent a lot of time reading endless posts defining ‘service design’, and attempting the same myself. In hindsight this was wasted effort as the sooner I got my hands dirty the better.

Proving credibility and value

Alberta asked me to jump into our largest and most complex design lab, which centred around retail transformation (everything from digital service transformation to in-branch design). Again within this lab there were several parties already doing service design (third party and internal), so I didn’t receive the fanfare I was hoping for. This was partly because service design was being treated as a convoluted and highly mysterious topic that people were wary of, or was being reduced to a series of documents. There wasn’t the simple and methodical design thinking that I was used to.

I felt lost for a few weeks but then decided to focus on small and achievable goals for service design, commandeering a few workshops and showing how getting thinking out of powerpoint decks and onto the walls would help solve problems. I got involved in customer testing and showed the power of video to bring customer opinion out of the testing lab and into exec steering sessions (I remember a PO…

Ross Breadmore

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