Enjoying the challenge of scaling his behavioural research and user experience (UX) consultancy, SimpleUsability, Guy Redwood talks to BQ about his interest in neuroscience, enjoying the creativity of innovation and the stress-busting benefits of a pack of huskies.
What is it the company does?
SimpleUsability is a Leeds-based behavioural research and user experience consultancy, working with high-profile clients including McDonald’s, Coca Cola, ASDA, Jet2.com, Morrisons, NHS, DWP and many others.
We inspire organisations to build better customer experiences, supporting clients to improve websites, apps and services, by providing an in-depth understanding of natural customer behaviour. In a world dominated by opinion, our business delivers recommendations based on evidence and facts.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
My days are incredibly varied as a business owner and managing director. I oversee the day-to-day business operations at SimpleUsability and I also handle new business development, staff training, recruitment, client and supplier meetings and budgeting.
Another side to my role is how neuroscience can be applied to user experience and aid market research. Since 2001, I’ve led the SimpleUsability team to create a user research methodology, combining proven psychology principles with technology, to observe customers’ natural behaviour. The ultimate aim of my work is to connect our clients with the needs and desires of their consumer base.
I’m a creative individual and so my favourite part of the role is driving innovation across the business; through its services and company culture.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I’ve worked in the digital industry for more than 20 years. Prior to establishing SimpleUsability, I headed up the user experience team at American multi-national corporation, CSC.
Here, I was fortunate enough to witness the rise of online technology and play an integral role in the turnaround of failing projects with customers including Sainsbury's. Alongside my colleagues, I developed the concept of designing web applications for different types of user within the dot-com focused project teams.
I also have an undergraduate degree in electronic communication and computer engineering, which I gained from the University of Bradford in 1994.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Somebody that surrounds themselves with talented and passionate people. In the SimpleUsability office, there is a range of personalities, skills and attitudes; this means we’re constantly learning from one another and pushing boundaries to progress in our careers.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Scaling up has been a challenge for us; ensuring we have the right processes and people in place to grow. We’re looking to break the million-pound turnover barrier in the next few years and we have a solid plan to smash this.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
My morning meditation routine is where I consider all possible scenarios for the day ahead. This means I’m rarely unprepared for all eventualities.
I’m also a keen motorsport fan and a member of Ginetta Racing Drivers Club.
In the evening, I enjoy spending time with my pack of huskies – who never fail to offer an alternative attitude to life.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was never encouraged to dream big as a child. It was assumed that I would follow in my father’s footsteps, working in some form of electrical engineering. This did give me a great start in life; I was introduced to computers at an early age and then the very early networks that eventually became the internet.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
The pitching process is a particular pet hate of mine; I believe it is outdated and often ineffective.
At SimpleUsability, we like to meet the client and build a rapport. We pride ourselves on forging solid relationships with our clients and we believe this is the best way to maximise output.
Our track record in delivering successful projects to highly satisfied clients, speaks volumes; we would much rather run a collaborative workshop to find solutions to a client’s problem.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
SimpleUsability will be a significant disrupter in behavioural research in the next five years. We have been developing game-changing software tools for the last two years; more details will be revealed about this soon.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Ensure you spend time out of the business, observe the world, keep learning and always try to recognise what you’ve achieved.
Always choose to see things positively, in all situations – even in the darkest of moments.
It’s also really important to meet new people. I aim to meet 30 new people a month.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
You are the average of the people you spend the most time with. So, make sure you spend the majority of your time with people you aspire to be.
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