Head of User Research and Service Design in Scottish Government

Cat is Head of User Research and Service Design in Scottish Government. She leads a team of User Researchers and Service Designers helping people and organisations across the Scottish public sector learn to make sense of their user’s worlds, and put that sense to work in the design of services, strategies and policies.

She had a diverse career in the private sector including a spell as co-founder of the first gay owned and run café in Scotland, and another running a company that developed the world’s first online trademark monitoring service. Then she moved into the third sector, most notably as Director of Operations on a UNHCR funded relief project to Bosnia during the Balkans War. After that experience she took a PhD in Computing (which was actually an ethnographic study examined by a sociologist…) ‘for a wee rest’.

During her academic career she worked on a number of large European, industry and EPSRC research projects, and helped 5 people get their PhDs. She also designed and launched the world’s first masters in Design Ethnography. She has consulted, taught and talked about design and design ethnography in India, the USA, across Europe and in Australia. Companies she has collaborated with on projects include Intel USA, Unilever UK, Microsoft USA, the BBC, Intel Eire, Swisscom and NCR UK.

Outside of work she is a passionate disability advocate – she has been living with multiple sclerosis for over twenty years and has become mightily irritated but how bad design disables the disabled. For a former punk she’s also weirdly fond of opera and given a chance will bore you to tears explaining why Handel and punk have more in common that you might think.

Tweets as @operanomad