I began my journey as a user researcher with Lagom at the beginning of March. Following a year or so out of research after completing my PhD in sociological studies last year, I was instantly grabbed by the opportunity to get stuck into research again after seeing Lagom’s job advert for a digital user researcher at the beginning of 2022 (coincidentally, on a day off work which, had it not been for yet another apparent covid outbreak, was due to be my PhD graduation).
Fast forward a couple of months later and I’m now a few weeks into my new role. All of the team at Lagom couldn’t have been more welcoming – or helpful! During this time I’ve begun to piece together a better understanding of delivering public-sector user research and the form this takes at Lagom.
Whilst I was aware from the outset that research in my new role would be very different to that in academia, there have been one or two things that have really stood out for me so far.
First off is the clearly very well-honed workflow structure that each project goes through here at Lagom. Built into this process is a significant amount of work with clients. Through my experiences in academia I’m no stranger to working alongside various stakeholders. However I’ve previously engaged with stakeholders more through what could be classed as hustling – strategically placing myself in situations which enabled me to take any opportunity I could get to grab the attention of potential stakeholders and gatekeepers. Contrast this with the neatly organised planning calls and kick off meetings with clients which Lagom facilitates before beginning research activities. My first few experiences of helping to facilitate these meetings has really emphasised to me the extremely well thought-through and planned nature of each interaction with clients.
The next key difference is the range of different projects that each team member is involved in at any one point in time, something which is extremely different to the PhD experience which affords the relative luxury of focusing on a single piece of research for a number of years. In contrast, I’m currently engaged in a piece of work with the RAF as well as two with Health Education England. Needing to balance a number of different projects at the same time has resulted in the organisation of my memos has reaching another level over recent weeks! Not that I’m complaining about this – little satisfies me more than seeing a nicely organised, and colourful, list of notes.
Overall, my first few weeks at Lagom have been a great experience. I’m excited to properly sink my teeth into my current research projects, and get stuck into lots more in the future. I’m looking forward to blogging about findings soon. In the meantime, alongside immersing myself in my current research projects, I am likely to be found organising my memos and making full use of the checkbox function!