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Co-design

New members bringing innovation to the team

One great part of working in a team is when we get new people coming into the team. They always bring innovative ideas and different experiences. Over the past few months, we have welcomed several team members, into new posts, from our graduate scheme and replacing colleagues who have gone to pastures new.

I asked our  them to share something of the experience they bring, their first impressions and what excites or interests them about what they have been working on.

So I would like to introduce our new teams members.

Marcus Elliott, Product Lead – Over my career so far, I have gone from teaching assistant in a primary school, science teacher in secondary, a learning support tutor in FE, before making the jump to HE. I’ve worked at the University of Lincoln in digital education, and at Nottingham Trent University as a consultant supporting institutional change. During that time, I have developed skills, knowledge and experience in accessibility, agile methodologies, digital capabilities, thought leadership and a lot more. This team is a place where things happen, and they happen fast – the culture of collaboration is really strong, and user needs are the number one focus. I’m excited about meeting people from across the education sector, and working on some cool stuff that might make a difference to students.

Kerri McCrory, Product Lead – My career over the past 14 years has centred around research and innovation supporting the private, public and voluntary sectors in the UK and Ireland. During this time, I have helped to create or improve products, services, business models and processes that leverage emerging technology. I have a demonstrated history of working in the research industry and have worked on a range of EU and government-funded collaborative research projects committed to improving digital learning. My first impressions of the team were how effectively the collective expertise, the established product management and design thinking approaches are used to develop products to transform education and research. I’ve particularly enjoyed helping to build a new member focussed innovation programme, Pathfinders, aiming to lead to transformative solutions for the sector.

Tom Jenkins, Product Lead – I’ve spent my career in digital, leading transformations for HE and public sector. Having done roles across product, user centred design and agile delivery, I have a lot of skill in applying and coaching these approaches. Despite previously working in HE, I never knew just how much Jisc does for the sector. I’ve already been part of so many different projects and explorations from research bureaucracy, to sustainability in education, and helping get our new Pathfinders innovation initiative up and running. I’m looking forward to the impact they will have for the sector.

Khateeba Ahmed, IT Graduate – Despite being a complete beginner in this innovation space, I’ve always had one main driver – purpose. My education background is Business & Technology, which made this team and role feel like a natural fit. I gained experience in a similar innovation role in the FinTech industry when completing an internship. Quite frankly, I decided not to return because creating products/services for wealthy investors didn’t really fascinate me. With this team I found a purpose I care for. My first impressions of the team were the speed at which ideas move across the pipeline. I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to contribute towards projects such as ARMA due diligence and IT Estates. I look forward to the influence these projects will have on Jisc and the sector.

Kike Fatogun, IT Graduate – As someone with no experience whatsoever, in a company like Jisc, I had no idea what to expect. From my first interaction with Jisc at the assessment centre, I knew this was a company I wanted to work for straight away. The staff are honestly what make this company come together and I am forever happy and grateful to be part of such a team. My first rotation Edtech and Codesign has been filled with work  such as, participiating in conducting interviews and writing up book chapters, things I would never imagine myself to have participated in. It surely is opening a new window of interest for me and helping me build confidence in my career and personality.  As a fresh graduate, I’m hoping I will be able to bring a new perspective and insight into the team.

Helen Nicholson, Junior AI Specialist – I have come to Jisc after a variety of roles in different sectors including museums and heritage sites, IT support and more recently in Edtech for secondary education. When joining Jisc I was first a bit overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the organisation, but the team have been fantastically welcoming and everyone is keen to share their skills and expertise. I’m excited to be working in the National centre for AI team where we are supporting members in using artificial intelligence effectively. This year I’m particularly looking forward to supporting our members in piloting innovative AI tools.

Emma Beatson, Junior Product Lead – Initially starting out in magazines before moving to books, I have spent around fifteen years working in editorial and content design roles in publishing companies, including Penguin and Haymarket. I’ve largely worked on non-fiction and reference titles (from accessible travel guides to KS1 educational workbooks) and have always loved the challenge of taking a big or complex topic and making it digestible for the reader. While working on the development of study materials for an online training provider, I realised that I felt the most motivated when working on well-considered products that had a useful purpose and the potential to have a positive impact. So, I decided to undertake a career transition and completed a UX Diploma. I’m very happy to now be working in this role at Jisc, in this diligent and exciting team, and have enjoyed making a start on getting to know the sector. I am most looking forward to getting stuck into a co-design.

Danny Hanscomb, Junior Product Lead – I’m a week into my first graduate role at Jisc, having recently graduated in German and Politics at the University of Nottingham where I thoroughly enjoyed academic research. Throughout my degree I taught English as a foreign language. At Jisc, I am able to draw on my research strengths as well as my teaching experience to contribute to a sector that I am so passionate about. I am relishing the responsibility I am being given already in my role as Junior Product Lead, having joined an exciting project around driving educational success in a changing landscape. Jisc has been an incredibly friendly and welcoming place to start my career and I look forward to meeting my colleagues in person at our away day in London next week!

Harvey Norman, Junior Product Lead – I just graduated from Leeds Arts University earlier this year. At Leeds Arts University I studied Comic and Concept Art, during which I learned and practiced how to design assets for various forms of entertainment like movies, games, and TV shows which has made me accustomed to the research and ideation process commonly used in Product Management and especially here at Jisc. I’ve not been here at Jisc long, but I can already tell that its the right company for me. It’s been fascinating to look into all the research put into looking at how universities have been affected by the pandemic and I’ve heard and seen a lot of really exciting potential solutions being suggested and developed by the team. I’m thrilled by the prospect of potentially getting to be able to contribute to bringing those ideas into reality.

Chloe Tambling, IT Graduate – I am currently working on the Edtech and Codesign team for my first rotation as IT Graduate. The team have made me feel welcome and have opened me up to new challenges whilst supporting me throughout. I am excited about working on different projects and contributing to getting ideas through each phase. Being new to Jisc and an enthusiastic recent graduate, I think I will bring a lot of new valuable thoughts and ideas to the team.

What am I expecting….

Several of the new team members are joining us to expand our reach through the Pathfinder projects, working more with institutions and our members. Kike, Khateeba, Chloe are on our graduate scheme, and making valuable contributions and Kahteeba is already leading projects. As a team we explore at least 20 challenges each year to try to find the 3-4 ideas that have potential.  Although the ideas we look at are driven by our membership, it is useful to have a fresh perspective from teams members. I will share more about our current activities over the next year.

By Paul Bailey

Head of co-design, part of a research and development team

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