Years of experience in defence: 20
Brief summary of your career prior to Futures Lab:
After 18 years in the Army (as a Royal Engineer and Intelligence Officer), I joined QinetiQ and have spent several years in the Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE). Within ACE, I was a technical assurer (and later head of the Futures and Insight capability), working with customers across government (such as the NHS, Home Office and Ofcom) developing data, digital and AI solutions.
What does your role involve?
Understanding the problems faced by staff across the RAF and thinking about novel and innovative ways industry can help solve them.
What aspect of your role is exciting, rewarding, or interesting?
Talking to people, getting under the skin of their problems, and exposing them to different ways of thinking, different solutions and different sectors/industries approaches.
How important to you is teamwork? Are there any other factors at play which are crucial to you being successful in your role and key in the success of Futures lab?
I don’t want bureaucracy to stand in the way of progress. It is demoralising when you have a good idea, only to be then faced with forms to fill out – it kills motivation. I would much rather collaborate and solve problems through dialogue, rather than the transactional approach of forms.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in defence?
The opportunity to help people, having an impact and the excitement and adventure of serving in the Armed Forces.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Flexibility, both in how I deliver my work and the freedom to challenge and demonstrate the value of different approaches.
If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing instead?
Crying quietly into my pillow and wishing I was part of Futures Lab.
If you could provide any advice to aspiring colleagues, what would it be?
Dare to think differently. Thinking can be shaped by the work environment, assumptions, pre-conceived limitations, etc. Make an effort to think beyond these confines and always ask why and why not.
What has been your career highlight?
Two things stand out: being a company commander, and working in ACE. As a company commander, I had the privilege of leading some incredible soldiers. Working for ACE exposed me to the value of innovation and thinking differently.