All speakers

Lou Downe

Director of Housing and Land transformation

UK Government

Lou Downe is Director of Housing and Land transformation for the UK Government, based at Homes England and author of Good Services - a book about how to design services that work.

They were previously Director of Design for the UK Government, where they established the cross-government standards for good services and founded the discipline of service design, building a community of over 3,000 designers, user researchers and content designers across government.

Lou was nominated as one of the top 50 creative leaders in the UK in 2016 and one of the world's 100 most influential leaders in digital government in 2018 and is a passionate believer in the role of design to create a world which benefits everyone.


  • Founded the practice of service design in government
  • Authored the UK government's strategy for service design within the Government Transformation Strategy
  • Founded a £5M programme of teams working on service transformation across government - including the Performance Platform, Service Manual & Service Toolkit, design patterns, GOV.UK Frontend, accessibility and inclusion, cross government service design and policy and delivery training
  • Created the public sector’s first ever Design System for the UK government design community to share and contribute to patterns
  • Established and grew a community of over 3,000 designers, user researchers and content designers working on services across government
  • Re-wrote the government’s Service Standard in collaboration with departments to reflect true end-to-end service design and emerging technologies.
  • Established an international government design consortium working to set global standards for country-critical services such as immigration and healthcare. Hosting the first international conference for government designers with over 250 designers form 52 countries
  • Established a design leadership network and recruited 12 heads of design to lead key delivery departments in government
  • Created a long-term support service to enable government to restructure around services sustainably
  • Created a formal training and apprenticeship scheme to enable designers to join the government design community across the UK leading to a 500% growth in the Government design community in 2 years

Good Services: Building User-Centred Organisations At Scale

Most of the services we use every day aren’t designed to meet our needs In fact, most of the services we use every day weren’t designed at all. Design is an increasingly mainstream activity inside even our most traditional organisations, yet the services we use today are still more likely to be the product of technological constraints, political whim or personal taste than they are the conscious decisions of an individual or organisation. Why are businesses still failing to deliver services that work for users? The answer lies in our ability to see services as things to be designed in the first place and with it out role and realisability as a service provider. Lou will talk about the experience of building the UK’s largest in house design teams in the UK government, and what it takes to build a truly user-centred organisation at scale

Q&A with Lou Downe

Andy will take your questions for Lou.

No Coffee Line

Avoid the queues and just bring your own refreshment of choice.