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United Kingdom

Director of Housing and Land transformationUK Government

Lou Downe is Director of Housing and Land transformation for the UK Government, based at Homes England, a non-departmental public body that funds new affordable housing in England. Lou's critical role includes the responsibility for transforming planning and development across the sector, as well as implementing Homes England’s new operating model and designing effective services to support the government’s ambitious goal of delivering hundreds of thousands of homes across the country each year.

Lou was previously Director of Design for the UK Government and established the cross-government standards for good services and founded the discipline of service design, building a community of over 3,000 designers, user researchers and content designers across government.

Before joining UK Government, Lou worked at Engine and EY Seren as a Senior Service Strategist. Lou was nominated as one of the top 50 creative leaders in the UK in 2016 and one of the world's 100 most influential leaders in digital government in 2018 and is a passionate believer in the role of design to create a world which benefits everyone. Lou is prominent protagonist for transparency and ethics in the design industry.

Lou is author of 'Good Services', a book about how to design services that work and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics at Birkbeck, University of London.

Event role
Keynote speaker & masterclass leader


'Building user-centred organisations at scale'

Most of the services we use every day aren’t designed to meet our needs. In fact, most of the services we use every day weren’t designed at all. Design is an increasingly mainstream activity inside even our most traditional organisations, yet the services we use today are still more likely to be the product of technological constraints, political whim or personal taste than they are the conscious decisions of an individual or organisation.

Why are businesses still failing to deliver services that work for users? The answer lies in our ability to see services as things to be designed in the first place and with it out role and realisability as a service provider. Lou will talk about the experience of building the UK’s largest in house design teams in the UK government, and what it takes to build a truly user-centred organisation at scale.


'How to design services that work'

What exactly makes a service ‘good’? Ask most people this question and you will very often get the response of ‘it depends’. But the belief that all services are completely unique, and need to be designed from scratch each time means we spend a lot of our time solving problems that have already been solved... more >

Friday, September 11, 10:45 - 11:15 (keynote)
Friday, September 11, 16:30 - 19:30 (MC)
Saturday, September 12, 13:00 - 15:30 (MC)

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