Cat Drew appointed chief design officer at Design Council

Drew, who is director of policy and place at FutureGov, previously worked as a civil servant for 12 years, helping Government departments streamline policy-making through design and digital.

Cat Drew, director of policy and place at public services design consultancy FutureGov, has been appointed chief design officer at Design Council.

Drew has a background in graphic design, having received her master of arts (MA) in graphic design in 2015 at the University of the Arts London (UAL).

She has worked extensively with Government; she was a founding member of Policy Lab, which brings new policy techniques to civil service departments. Before FutureGov, Drew was director at service design agency Uscreates, now part of the FutureGov family.

Helping to improve health services

At Uscreates, she oversaw projects creating better design for health and well-being services. This included helping a local council change its focus on prevention and resilience building as well as launching a hackathon to develop ideas for digital verification for online health services.

“It is a real privilege to be joining Design Council, with its longstanding and well-deserved reputation for using design to solve some of the biggest challenges in society,” she says.

The role of chief design officer provides leadership and strategic direction for the organisation in fulfilling its aims to design and innovate across social, public and private sectors.

Design Council is a charity, and the Government’s adviser on design. Its Design in the Public Sector programme, run in partnership with local authorities, has recently focused on services for young people, including support for young parents in Surrey and mental health provision for schoolchildren in Maldon.

Drew brings “wealth of design experience”

Sarah Weir, CEO at Design Council, says she is “delighted” to welcome Drew, who “brings with her a wealth of design expertise and experience, as well as exceptional leadership and communication skills”.

“As part of our dynamic senior leadership team, Cat will play a critical role in helping to ensure our sustainability as well as growth, championing the vital role of design in creating better products, places and processes,” she adds.

Drew is also co-presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Fix, a series where young creative people offer solutions for social problems such as alcohol abuse and childhood obesity.

Begins new role in July

She is known for her public speaking, including a TEDx talk about how to make Government function better through design as well as a Royal Society of Arts (RSA) keynote about how design can challenge power structures, culture and societal values.

“I look forward to working with everyone at the charity, forging deep and lasting relationships with our many stakeholders and making further connections between design and the public, private and social sectors to build on our valuable work of making life better by design,” Drew says.

She starts the role 1 July.

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