Postbureaucrat

Personal blogging by Steph Gray, founder of Helpful Digital and erstwhile bureaucrat

Au revoir

Shortly after the forthcoming General Election, I’ll be leaving the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Tomorrow will mark my second anniversary of working at BIS, and its predecessor, DIUS. It’s been a fantastic couple of years, which has introduced me to some phenomenally talented and creative people in and around government. I’ve been privileged to have the time, space and trust to experiment with how a policymaking department might use social technologies, though I’m conscious we’ve barely scratched the surface.

But it’s time for a change. I have virtually no idea what I’ll do next. I appreciate that this is, in the words of a long-time colleague, insane. For those curious: my departure is at my own behest, is on good terms, and isn’t a result of civil service cuts, linked to my own use of social media or in any way politically-motivated (I’d be happy to serve pretty much any government).

I’m optimistic that it’s a good time to be a general purpose webby. There are exciting opportunities for digital engagement around government, and lots of clever folk drumming up new ones. It would be interesting to step back into the private sector world of digital marketing, or the fast-developing world of digital campaigning in the third sector, and learn more about how things are done there. Or maybe it’s time to go back to my roots as a market researcher. In PR and digital, there are some smart young agencies and startups doing exciting things. And I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneur manqué, so perhaps this is the moment to listen to Lord Sugar, take the plunge and turn some of those crazy tools and techniques into grown up products and services myself.

If you have a project or venture you’d like to discuss with me, I’ll be all ears for the next couple of months – I’m hoping not to rush into anything too quickly. You can contact me via this blog, DM me on Twitter, or contact me via LinkedIn.

Thanks all for your support over the last couple of years. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

Photo credit: Kisforkate

Related posts on this blog

46 comments on “Au revoir

  1. Avatar lesteph says:

    Blog: Farewell to BIS http://bit.ly/dxLyeQ

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. Avatar Mark says:

    A big loss to BIS but I hope not a loss for the wider community. Good luck for the future and I am sure that we will continue to work together on various initiatives in the future.

  3. Avatar Dave Briggs says:

    Steph, you’ve seriously been an inspiration to a lot of people, me included. Thanks for everything you’ve done, and more specifically, in documenting it here so everyone can share what you’ve learned.

    Am crossing my fingers we get to work together on something again soon.

    Someone, do yourselves a favour and hire this man.

  4. Avatar hubmum says:

    blimey @lesteph NO WAY http://blog.helpfultechnology.com/2010/03/au-revoir/ bit stunned… not sure whether to congratulate or shout at u

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. Avatar davebriggs says:

    HIRE THIS MAN http://bit.ly/cgiz6S

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  6. Avatar Ste says:

    Steph, I wish you well – you have been a quiet inspiring source of brilliant ideas and innovations. We’ll miss your contribution. But I hope you & I will stay in touch. Very Best Wishes, Stephen

  7. Avatar Jeremy Gould says:

    Tour of duty completed with distinction I reckon. Sorry to see you’re off, but it would be churlish of me to say that is the wrong thing to do. You really have done yourself huge credit. Good luck with the future.

  8. Avatar Lesley says:

    Hi Steph

    I’d like to echo Dave’s comments wholeheartedly.

    All the best in your future endeavours!

    Lesley
    (@lesteph groupie)

  9. Au revoir:
    Shortly after the forthcoming General Election, I’ll be leaving the Department for Business, Innovatio… http://bit.ly/9TkdDd

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  10. Avatar Russell says:

    Good luck for the future Steph,

    I’ve learnt a lot from following the excellent work you’ve done at DIUS & BIS, and from your blogging, so thank you & a big (pre-emptive) congratulations to whoever is lucky enough to employ you next!

  11. Avatar Neil says:

    I’m still in denial.

    It’s been a pleasure working with you, both when we were in different departments and working to you in the brave new world of BIS. You’ve taught me a lot, and I’m going to miss having that lesteph wisdom on tap when I need it.

    In fact, rather hoping it still will be in some form or another 😉

    Good luck, stay in touch, keep blogging.

  12. Avatar neillyneil says:

    It’s official: @lesteph is leaving the civil service- http://is.gd/aJB81 …. but what a contribution he made while he was here!

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  13. Avatar neillyneil says:

    It’s official: @lesteph is leaving BIS – http://is.gd/aJB81 …. but what a contribution he made while he was here!

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  14. All the best for the future.

    Hope the blog continues.

  15. Avatar Jeremy Gould says:

    dreadful shame, but totally understandable.

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  16. I retweet: @neillyneil: It’s official: @lesteph is leaving BIS – http://is.gd/aJB81 …. but what a contribution he made while he was here!

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  17. Avatar Helen Aspell says:

    A veritable temple of knowledge. The gov’t and digital engagement movement will be worse off without you and your willingness to share.

    Helen

    @hel_razor formerly of @EHRC

  18. Avatar hmshale says:

    Damn RT @lesteph Blog: Farewell to BIS http://bit.ly/dxLyeQ

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  19. Good luck, have always enjoyed your blog and tweets. Brave man to walk away from security but as they say we have one life so do what you want and not live in regret.

    If I hear of anything work wise will let you know.

  20. Avatar Tim Davies says:

    All the best for future projects 🙂

    You’ve always gone far beyond the call of duty at DIUS/BIS. The Youth Work Online community would not have developed the way it has were it not for being welcomed into the building one Saturday (and then again a year later) – with frontline staff who would never normally set foot inside a central government building sharing stories and ideas with others.

    And many thanks due for all the ideas and bits of code generated through your work that you’ve shared so openly.

    Keep blogging & hope to meet on other projects in future…

    Tim

  21. Avatar Matt Jukes says:

    Good luck Steph – exciting stuff!

    You have been a great source of ideas to steal over the years so I hope you continue to openly blog..

  22. Avatar Neil says:

    Whoa… That’s a shock and a shame. Good luck for the future. As a wise man once told me: “the one way to have a career is to keep careering”.

  23. Steph, thanks for your support and inspiration over the last 18 months. We definitely couldn’t have launched two big Corp sites without you.

    I took a similar leap of faith a few years ago and have no regrets. You won’t either. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – it’s a crap cliche but it’s also true.

    Good luck and please do stay in touch.

  24. Avatar Mark Pack says:

    Real shame to hear you’re going – and all the best.

  25. Avatar Justin says:

    Steph,

    Good luck on the move. You’ll find your feet wherever you next land.

  26. Avatar shane_dillon says:

    Blog: Farewell to BIS http://bit.ly/dxLyeQ – knowledge sharer par excellence. Best of luck @lesteph

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  27. Avatar Adam Bailin says:

    Thanks for all your help and inspiration over the years Steph and good luck with your next move.

    Keep blogging.

  28. Avatar Mark Horrell says:

    Wow, good luck, Steph. Fortune favours the brave, but I somehow think you won’t be short of offers!

  29. Is this a joke? A clever social media scam? An experiment of some sort?

    🙂

    It’s been good working with you, Steph. Very good.

    Look forward to working with you in the future.

  30. Avatar Noel Hatch says:

    You’ll be missed I’m sure, but hopefully there’ll be opps to work together in the future!

  31. Avatar Jenny says:

    Like Neil I’m still in denial, boo hoo. I’d like to add my voice to the outpouring of grief above and say thanks for being an inspiring boss. At this rate they’re going to need to set up one of those phone lines like when Robbie left Take That. 😉

  32. Avatar Andrew Lewin says:

    Wow, Steph, you never cease to surprise! Everytime I’ve got used to you being somewhere, you up and leave soon after – but it’s always on to bigger, better and/or more interesting and fulfilling things. I’m sure the same will be true here, and I’m naturally jealous in equal measure to being sad to see you moving on from GovLand.

    Will be watching the next chapter in the lesteph story with avid interest.

  33. Avatar David Pearson says:

    Sad news indeed – but bestest wishes for the future – and rest assured that we’ll keep watching for nuggets of lesteph wisdom wherever they may occur!

  34. Avatar Alex Coley says:

    Damn, another one bites the dust. I was still getting over Craig Manson leaving DG Innovate at the end of this month. Good luck Steph ‘and thanks for all the fish!’

    *mooches* away from guilty Hitchikers’ Guide catchphrase.

  35. Avatar Liam King says:

    Best of luck Steph!

    I do hope you will keep up the blogging wherever you end up and continue sharing your insights. I’ve learnt much from your posts over the last year.

    … so thank you.

  36. Au revoir http://bit.ly/bunVeV

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  37. Avatar Alex Butler says:

    Steph
    I don’t know what to say except that there are a few people that you will always remember during your career. You are one of them. And although you will be a huge loss to our digital.gov.uk world, I still remember you as the brightest of bright, clever COI researchers – we miss you here too.
    I just know that you will never be that far away…..
    Thank you from me too.

  38. Looking at the post on my reader, I assumed you were off for an early holiday in Spain! So a bit of a surprise. Definitely a huge loss for BIS and central government, but hopefully you will not be lost to this space entirely and will continue contributing either full time or in your spare time to the difficult task of helping government to explore, understand and make good use of social media! Good luck for whatever you do next and stay in touch.
    Paul

  39. Avatar Julia says:

    Bolt from the blue! You will definitely be missed Steph – I’ve learned a lot from your examples over the years, and been in awe of your ability to get things done in super speedy time, while also managing to explain to us all how you did it!
    I echo all the comments above – and hope you’ll keep in touch.

  40. Avatar Nick Booth says:

    A loss to winning people over inside government but brilliant to know you’ll be available.

  41. Avatar CUnetwork says:

    [from Podnosh] Au revoir at Helpful Technology – lesteph leaves government http://ow.ly/16QViu

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  42. Avatar Niddler says:

    Blimey. Can’t imagine you finding it hard to get work – but immensely brave move all the same!

  43. […] I wrote that – and in a bit of characteristic bad timing – I’ve also made the decision to leave BIS shortly after the election. Thanks to everyone who’s sent me their good wishes – and […]

  44. Good luck Steph!

    As has been pointed out by everyone else above I’m sure you’ll excel at whatever it is you choose to do next.

    We’d love to work with you again so look us up if you’re ever down in sunny Brighton. It’s wireless between the piers!! (should that be any lure…)

    Enjoy considering your options
    Jamie and the TSR Team

  45. […] Today the man they call @lesteph is leaving the Civil Service to work on… well, other le stuff. Read about it in his own words here. […]

  46. […] the civil service and set up a company, nearly two and half years ago, it’s fair to say I didn’t have much of a plan. Thanks to many kind people and plenty of luck, the purchase orders kept flowing and I’ve […]