I can honestly say that I never, ever thought I would read that… anywhere.
However, Andrew has been appointed as Director of Digital Engagement here in the UK, and as such, his trendiness was bound to happen.
So… 🙂 no doubt there will be a gazillion posts about this appointment, and here is my tuppence.
First reaction, open-mouthed ‘wha…?’
I have worked with Andrew on the transformational government, website rationalisation agenda; and as such know him professionally. He has a brain the size of several planets, and ‘does maths’ in a fashion and speed that always floored me. He was passionate about the rationalisation work, and really worked us all hard to make sure that it happened. And it is this characteristic that leads me to completely review my opinion of the Director of Digital Engagement post.
To be honest, I rather thought that this would be given to some super clever bod from outside government, who would come at the job with a wealth of experience, challenging ideas and determination to ‘make stuff happen’. Then, as so often happened before, said person would begin to flag in the face of the enormity of the expectations of the job, burned out within a year to 18 months and left to go and do something else, broken.
Well… that won’t happen now; so this job that seemed a bit of a ‘nod in the right direction, but basically impossible’ is actually not that at all. If they wanted it to be that, they would not have appointed Andrew.
So this post really is going to do something and mean something. Well, really you could knock me down…
I am going to watch this with a sort of bewildered awe, I think; and hopefully the stuff Andrew decides has to happen will be good, build on what has already started, and sustainable.
Well I never.
That’s a really interesting perspective. I’m glad you added your thoughts – particularly as they seem to go against the grain.
Do they? I have on purpose not read any other blogs 1. because today is SILLY busy (so not time) and 2. because I really did not want to be influenced.
I did have to post though as the thoughts were just rolling around my head, so had to get them out there.
Fine but could it simply be that no one else with a ‘giant brain’ applied.
What was the job description all about? What was Tom’s ‘engagement’ about the job description all about if – as you imply – they wanted Stott all along?
My post on this http://tinyurl.com/pn7wh8
Ditto Emma – see my response to Simon Dickson’s blog here http://puffbox.com/2009/05/13/reactions-stott-appointment-instant-credibility/
Gah it is so tempting to keep following these posts, please forgive my churlishness but I can only reply tonight really, the day job is actually murderously busy.
Paul, I have absolutely no intention of implying that at all, I meant that they actually mean this as a serious job; I doubt Andrew’s brain size nailed it, rather his ability to deliver cross-government projects, against all odds. The almost impossible task in the job description was making this work in departments; the rest was pretty simple if one has a brain. Well…
Admittedly I never took into account his ability to do “maths’ in a fashion and speed that always floored me”
…almost tempted to change my opinion…almost…
It’s always the balance to strike: insider knows the system and can work it, but d0esn’t always have the hunger for change. Outsider has the fresh vision and perspective, but can’t find the levers to make things happen and gets frustrated.
My own thoughts are that he sounds like a good nuts-and-bolts man rather than a high-profile revolutionary. That’s probably fine, but it wasn’t how the job was pitched when it was launched.
@paul I simply do not know the answer to the ‘what did they want then and what have they chosen now’ question, but what I do know is that Andrew will just get on with it, he has the hide of a rhino so can weather the Press attention – I am intrigued, but it feels OK.
@alex How funny!
@david sorry were you dripping with sarcasm there 🙂
@anthony oh I can assure you that Andrew is a revolutionary…!
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I just don’t think it should be forgotten that we were engaged with over the job and the appointment appears to go against what was said then – that’s why everyone is ‘surprised’.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t want this appointment to work or take yours and others insider knowledge of the guy seriously (though others have a different experience), but saying one thing and doing another creates cynicism as can “just get on with it”.
Paul, very fair point. If the position was touted as one elected by the people and with the people then it is tricky to justify the fact that there has been a long time in appointing it, and the appointment does not completely match the original requirement. However, I cannot comment on that – not because I am being deliberately ignorant, I simply do not know. I was not a party to any of it, did not contribute to the JD and did not have any involvement in the appointment.
All I can do is give my reaction from what I know of the man, and the job that needs to be done.
Sorry if that is a bit of a rubbish position, but I am not sure what else I could really do – except make stuff up…
As one who ‘met’ Andrew only at the last Local CIO meeting and regards this two year post as a bit of a nonsense anyway. He’ll need to understand central government, is willing to meet local government and can ‘talk the talk’, I think he’ll be as good as anyone, so lets watch, listen and LEARN…
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