Here at Zaizi, the digital consultancy I founded 15 years ago, we’re on a mission to make the UK the best place to live and work. We do that by designing, building and sustaining secure user-centred digital services for UK public sector organisations that serve the needs of the community and civil servants. We also do a lot of vital research that informs government policy.
I recently started reflecting on those 15 years working in this area. It occurred to me it was high time that I started posting on what I have learned from the experience. I hope you’re going to find this insight from the coalface useful.
I will also be writing about where I believe we and our public sector partners should be heading next. Expect much more soon on topics like assembling mission-driven teams, social impact, B Corp certifications and scaling purposeful organisations.
I feel it’s appropriate though to kick off by describing our purpose. I think it says a lot about what the nature of a relationship between a purpose-driven digital consultancy, government departments and the wider community should be.
Realising potential together
I am proud to say that at Zaizi we have a clear and unifying purpose that drives everything we do. We call it realising potential together and it is fundamental to the way we do business. I also believe it is fundamental to the successful delivery of digital projects within government as they have evolved since we first started out in 2007.
In fact what’s most important about our purpose is the impact it has beyond our own four walls. So let’s start there.
Realising our clients’ potential
Whenever we work with customers such as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, our goal has always been the same: to ensure we deliver successful outcomes for them and leave them in a better place than when we started.
That means we go beyond focussing on the successful delivery of a project. It also means we do more than focus on successful citizen and organisational outcomes – though obviously both these things are hugely important.
What we do for our customers is go to the next level. We establish a multi-disciplinary team to deliver that mission. And we ensure we hand over knowledge, upskill their teams and leave them in a place where they can be truly self-sufficient – if they choose! – without any further intervention from us.
Realising potential for our clients is about delivering sustainable outcomes for the public sector, not a long term revenue stream for us. I believe this is a clear break from the way consultancy relationships have worked with government in the past. It is key to the way we think and act.
Realising our employees’ potential
At Zaizi we recruit people who want to make a positive impact on the community they live in. Above all, we like people that want to work on impactful and challenging projects, achieve breakthrough outcomes and make the UK the best place to live and work.
You could say in many ways our people are the cornerstone of our purpose. For that reason we make great efforts to invest in our employees. We want to create an environment where they achieve their goals.
We have clear structures for this. For example, in line with agile principles, we actively promote continual learning and team empowerment.
We also provide dynamic and in some ways unconventional routes to progression. At Zaizi, you don’t need to wait around for an outdated annual review cycles that can slow down your career. We have set criteria for achievement that are defined by our purpose (I’ll say it again: to realise potential together – with each other, with our government customers and with the people they serve). My personal commitment is that whenever you can prove you have met those criteria, you will be promoted.
For me, realising potential together with our employees has real meaning. We provide a platform where people can challenge themselves, improve the lives of people living in the UK and be rewarded for it.
Realising potential of the wider community
Helping citizens and communities reach their potential is a key objective. It’s wired into the government services that we build.
It is also key to the way we recruit and develop people from diverse backgrounds and support opportunities for people across all areas of society. One of our KPIs is giving people an opportunity through apprenticeships. We also have an open arms approach to people that want to come to us and reskill. For example, we work with the UK armed forces to bring ex-service people in and train them up. We recruit nationally in the UK and have plans to establish regional hubs across the nations of the UK.
READ: Tech apprenticeship: A change of career direction at Zaizi
I’m proud to say that we also take social value seriously. Recently we won a contract with the NHS. One of the key reasons for that was because of the amount of NHS staff we committed to training up and the legacy that will leave behind.
Over the years I have thought long and hard about this. Realising potential together for the community means opening up opportunity. And it means giving as many people as possible the platform to thrive and help others. We will do it for many more years to come.
A final word
There are many other ways we are committed to realising potential together for the benefit of the UK. We are seeking B Corp certification, the certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental impact. We are also working with the UK government and Carbon Neutral Britain to help the nationwide push towards net zero emissions. This year we became Carbon Negative.
Our purpose is no empty slogan. It has always been implicit in what we do. As the last 15 years have unfolded, I have chosen to make it explicit because it clarifies what we enjoy doing the most. That is, working on challenging projects with our customers for the benefit of the national community as a whole.
If you would like to join us on that journey, either as one of our team or as a client, you’re very welcome to get in touch.
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