Why I left the London digital design agency world and joined Capgemini’s UX team

I’ve just been watching a video of David Reed, a Principal Consultant for Capgemini Consulting, talking about his first 100 days with Capgemini and it made me think about why I, as a creative person, made the move to join Capgemini.

Having worked in the amazing London digital creative industry since 1999, in 2010 I was looking for a new job. As expected I started interviewing with various agencies but none of the roles really felt right. This scared me as some of the roles on offer where top jobs at great companies.

Having turned down the first few job offers, roles I would have accepted in the past, I decided to take a look at what I wanted and where the industry was heading.

Place your bets

Just then a recruitment agency contact me with a role that did not fit what I was looking for. The role was an internal role for a betting company. I had never considered inhouse roles as an option before and not being a betting/gambling man and not having the slightest interest in watching sports, this role seemed wrong on all accounts.

But because I was going through this what-do-I-want-to-do crisis I went to the interview and was really gobsmacked at the professional approach to digital design, including proper user testing, real objectives to reach and a tangible creative design process.

It felt like utopian version of agency world where the team had time to create properly crafted work that delivers tangible results.

In the end the role was too junior, but it was the first vacancy I got really exited about, which was strange as I had no personal interest in the product.

Rethinking my views on digital creative work

And then it hit me: In recent years companies are increasingly establishing internal digital departments owning the digital strategy and the creative thinking leaving only tactical design work to the agencies (banners, anyone?).

I started applying for inhouse jobs and suddenly the roles got more interesting. I think it is because the inhouse roles and teams felt like a grown-up version of the digital agency environment, which to some extend still suffers from the early days of web design working crazy hours, mixed with getting drunk and playing table fussball.

But was I ready to work for only a single brand? I was looking for a company where I could stay for a long time and the prospect of working with the same brand day in and day out for years and years didn’t feel all that appealing even though I had no experience to base that negative feeling on.

Why Capgemini

The Capgemini role felt like the best of both words: One one hand it had the professional feel of the inhouse teams I had met and on the other hand it offered the variety of working with several clients that agencies can offer.

But the single thing that made me go “yes” was the creative freedom a company like Capgemini can offer. Think about it for a second:

If you work for an digital agency your creativity is actually limited to what your development team can deliver.

With a company like Capgemini I would have an army of tens of thousands of developers behind me. Whatever crazy solution I come up with there would be at least one developer  capable of delivering my concept.

I joined Capgemini in the summer of 2010 and so far all of the above has been true:

  1. I work within a UX team made of talented craftspeople in a professional organisation.
  2. I work with a range of exiting projects and clients.
  3. And I’ve made good use of the creative freedom of having an army of developers.

And there’s been further benefits: I have learned a lot of new things from some brilliant people (Windahl Finnigan, Laurence Buchanan and Guy Stephens to name a few). And this is the first time in many years I feel I am learning and growing rather than only teaching and mentoring.

I hope I’ll stay with Capgemini for a long time to come.


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