FT Producer application

Part 1

Please submit up to three examples of work you have been involved in. For each example, please explain your level of involvement in the project and how it provides evidence of your strength in those areas.

Diplomacy / change — International Criminal Court

I was an external consultant brought in to work with the internal communications team at the ICC. I worked as product manager and UX designer using during the discovery and alpha phases using design methodologies to define problems, establish user needs and develop and test possible solutions. During the beta, internal team members took over day to day running of the project while I worked on content design and governance, including style guides, as well as keeping user needs and the principles of the alpha at the forefront of the beta. I helped to manage change using various diplomacy techniques in a technologically-resistant organisation with conflicting parties (the “organs” of the court are designed not to agree). The result was a website with authority, presence, stature, decorum which served the needs of its users. I did a similar thing at the STL in 2011, but the ICC was a bigger project. You can see the ICC site here

Product invention — WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 - Skill It App

I came up with an idea for a mobile game for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi, a big event that took place in October 2017 in the UAE. Students could download the iOS/Android app, start their own business, try different skill challenges at the event, collect points to help their business rise to the top and win prizes. The app encouraged exploration and competition at the event which was attended by over 80,000 students. I developed the idea in collaboration with external teams from PAN and Mettle Studios. I came up with the idea, got internal support and funding for the project, worked on testing and iterative improvements with students. I took the project from inception to various concepts to launch. I worked remotely with teams of designers/developers to create the product. It was downloaded thousands of times and average time spent in the app was over 10 minutes. You can see the iOS app here

Data / visualisation — Amnesty International

Amnesty International publish figures on death penalties and executions around the world every year. I was lead developer on a project to visualise this data on a map and a timeline using D3. I worked with the internal design and content teams along with another developer at We Are Thought Fox to create a web application. Users can play through the timeline or search for a country or both. Languages are handled via a dictionary file to avoid duplication of data and everything is hosted and edited via Github. The application is embedded using a responsive iFrame. This really tested my JavaScript skills particularly planning and developing a robust application which is easy for content editors to update in various languages (including Arabic). I’m pretty happy with it as the application works well on touch devices thanks to an autosuggest search for countries and the way the timeline changes for smaller screens. You can see the map here

Part 2

Please write a memo of no more than 500 words explaining your vision for the team and your role within it. Within this memo, please also name the one problem you would be most excited to tackle if you got the job. Please explain why you are excited about it and how you would go about tackling it.

We’re starting to realise that more information does not make us more informed. The potential of the web is being squandered. Businesses built upon networked technologies have often succeeded only by hijacking our society, our culture and our minds. But people are slowing waking up and they will need (perhaps demand) new, humane information systems that help them engage with others and thrive together. With its sound approach to funding and a brilliant team, the FT is in a great position to serve these emerging needs.

The “creative producer” role will be someone with a deep understanding of the constraints and potential of our (im)materials - someone skilled at working with the “grain of the web”. They will know how to get the best from inter-disciplinary teams, keeping teams talking across silos, building consensus from diverse perspectives and uniting different specialisms behind a common vision. I have lots of experience with this approach on big and small projects in sectors ranging from media to finance to international affairs. The results are always far greater than the sum of the parts. Combining humanity with technology imbues work with soul and heart and sparks emotional understanding and empathy in users rather than just appealing to narcism, anger or practical function.

The creative producer will also strive to make journalism more useful. Audiences for news go beyond the few per cent who currently seek out the news. The opportunities for news organisations in this shifting landscape are myriad. But the only way to claim back territory from tech giants is to make things that are so good, useful and valuable that people will want to use them.

Although engaging and compelling individual projects will be a vital part of the creative producer role, I am particularly excited by the challenge of making the news less about “new” and more about persistent value. Many news organisations assume a cadence of looking at the news every hour. The FT needs to serve a range of different behaviours. Reminding users what they might have failed to remember can be just as important as imparting the new things they need to know. By giving more attention to things we would like to be better known over months and years, we can provide context, highlight connections and reveal ripple effects that will help users to develop a deeper and wider understanding of the world beyond the news cycle. Many of today’s biggest stories, particularly global and financial ones, are too big and complex to see or comprehend in a single view. When you’re up close, you can’t see the scale or feel the edges. I would like to create more “macroscopes” for news. Things that, as John Thackara says, “help us see the aggregation of many small actions looks like when added together”. I’d like to be part of a team at the FT that conveys complex topics in comprehensive, interesting ways and helps users to see grand vistas as well as feel things at a human scale.