Meet our new Human Centred Design Assistant Researcher, Dr Sally Cloke
As part of our ongoing quest to build our team with brilliant people, we’re very happy to be introducing our latest addition - say hi to Dr Sally Cloke, who joins us as a Human Centred Design Assistant Researcher.
At PDR, one of the principles we specialise in is using design research techniques to solve problems and help our clients come up with new products and services. As our new Assistant Researcher, Sally aids the team in the research element of our design projects.
We take what we’ve learned about people and their needs, see where it aligns with that organisation’s strengths and help them maximise what they can offer in terms of new products, services or experiences.Sally Cloke | Human Centred Design Assistant Researcher | PDR
“Human centred design research is an extension of the methods used by the design industry to solve problems and spark innovation. It focuses on finding out what real needs people have and trying to meet them. This could involve a range of research techniques such as interviewing people or observing them in day-to-day situations like going shopping, getting the bus or in the workplace. When working with a client, we take what we’ve learned about people and their needs, see where it aligns with that organisation’s strengths and help them maximise what they can offer in terms of new products, services or experiences,” Sally explains.
Before PDR, Sally completed her PhD in design at the University of Newcastle in her native Australia. “I was working as an academic, teaching and researching design thinking, philosophy and social theory for creatives, design theory and history, even collaborative film-making,” Sally explains. Before moving to academia, Sally worked as a communications officer in international development, travelling to humanitarian projects in South-East Asia and with Indigenous communities Australia. This followed an award-winning career as a writer in the advertising industry and in religious media.
When I read about PDR and how well-regarded they are in the world of design, I thought it sounded a terrific place to work.Sally Cloke | Human Centred Design Assistant Researcher | PDR
She decided she wanted to get some overseas experience - which is how she landed in Cardiff. “When I read about PDR and how well-regarded they are in the world of design, I thought it sounded a terrific place to work,” Sally continues. “When I asked the panel who interviewed me what their favourite thing about working at PDR was, they all said ‘the people’ - and it’s true. I’m really enjoying working with them and getting to know them.”
Asked about making the move from ‘teaching’ to ‘doing’, Sally suggests that the two aren’t so different after all. “There’s quite a bit of overlap actually. The workshops we conduct here at PDR are a little like teaching – they involve introducing people to new thinking tools, facilitating discussion, encouraging people to share insights and collaborate and to reality-test their ideas to see how they stand up.”
Outside of work, Sally’s been enjoying exploring her new hometown. “Cardiff is a really interesting place and a huge contrast to Australia. I’d really like to explore more of the city. I love the arcades and I’ve discovered some great charity shops. I’m still looking for a really good coffee, so if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!”
And, finally, Sally lets us in on her secret talent: “I’m learning to play the trombone. I was in a brass band in Newcastle, and I’m hoping to find an opportunity to play with other musicians at some point. I’m aware that Wales is the brass band capital of the world, so I may face some competition!”
As ever the PDR team would like to wish a warm welcome to Sally.