10 years of revolution
Thanks Martha

Aviation house in the afternoon light

It’s 10 years today since Martha Lane Fox sent the “Revolution not evolution” letter to Francis Maude, and changed how the UK government worked with the internet.

(The letter, and its reply, weren’t published until a few weeks later, in November 2010. But as I did in the GDS story, I’m going with 14 October 2010 as the “beginning”. And I know very well that it was just one beginning among many, in a line stretching back many years before 2010.)

That letter, written by Martha and a small team of advisors and helpers, did amazing things.

It resulted in the Government Digital Service, and GOV.UK.

It kicked off a new culture of user-centred service design in lots of government departments. It provided support to many long-serving civil servants who had been thinking about users all along, but whose efforts had been overlooked and pushed to one side.

It brought together groups of people who had never worked together before, some of them long-term civil servants and some of them newcomers to the public sector.

It was a catalyst for skills and ideas that spread outwards – not just across central government, but into local government, the charity and non-profit sector, and yes, back into business too.

It sparked the creation of dozens – perhaps hundreds – of new businesses.

It changed my career, and my life. It changed quite a few people’s lives.

Martha (and advisors / helpers): thank you.

Filed under: work
(14 October 2020)