A lot in the press last weekend about the UK civil Service recruitment ad for a Director of Digital Engagement http://tinyurl.com/digitalengagementdirector
Ignoring the salary on offer mid credit crunch, was the fuss warranted?
It’s a matrix role with a small team and small budget but a very senior reporting level. But what’s its purpose? Well,for starters, the DeliveryDemon wants to know who is to be digitally engaged, what makes engagement digital, and what constitutes engagement anyway? Reading between the lines, it appears that the DDE will have to come up with those answers, apart from the ‘who’ – it appears that the recruiters are falling into the trap which marketers are climbing out of, and concentrating on the young while ignoring the existence of an internet-savvy older population.
Is it spin, or is there a real purpose behind the role? There are lots of weasel words – work with, act as, head of profession, feel they are accountable, work differently, break new ground, influence, embed…. All very aspirational and spin-like. There are also some apparently hard deliverables and measures:
- 6 months to deliver a strategy and implementation plan and show ‘concrete signs of momentum’ in executing it
- effective and efficient use of hardware and software
- introduce new techniques and software
- convene an expert advisory group
- effective use of digital spend
- save significant sums
There’s a distinct step into the contradictory with the expectation that a ‘world class’ pattern of usage of fast-evolving technology will still be seen as world class after sufficient time has elapsed for it to become embedded in the normal work of government. Look behind the spin. Does the taxpayer actually want to pay for something world class, whatever world class means? Or should the aim be something which works effectively and reliably without costing the equivalent of the budget of a small country the baleout cost of a large bank?
Only time will tell whether such a role can make government departments into more effective communicators through the use of a wide range of technology. The DeliveryDemon fears that the underlying requirement for effective communication has been lost in the focus on playing with new technology.