My name is Meg Pickard. I describe myself as a creative geek, which covers both my personal and professional passions, which seem to overlap more and more as time goes on.
I’m interested in people and communities both on and offline, as well as social uses of technology and web applications. This is probably related to my background in Social Anthropology: In the mid-1990s, as part of my undergraduate then postgraduate studies, I conducted ethnographic research into cultural identity and customs with communities first in highland Bolivia and then subsequently on the internet. Despite departing academia for the bright lights of the Internet industry a long time ago, that strong interest in cultures, communities, communication and computing has stayed with me, and in many ways has influenced much of what I’ve done since.
I’ve been working in New Media for over sixteen years, mainly in creative roles for media companies you’ve probably heard of. I’ve worked and consulted with small startups and big corporations, global brands and charities. My main areas of expertise and interest are digital praxis, participation and collaboration, consumer experience and product strategy. I’ve also had years of experience of creating and managing content-led propositions and related strategies.
As a creative catalyst and product owner, I’m not a developer, but I know enough about technology platforms, systems and approaches to be able to communicate confidently and sensibly about their various challenges and benefits. I’m also completely comfortable working with agile development methods (including XP) and rapid prototyping or R&D, as well as innovation programmes. Over the course of my career to date, I’ve managed a number of multidisciplinary teams of people, including developers, editors, project managers, moderators, producers and strategists.
In my most recent employed role at Guardian News and Media, as Head of Digital Engagement, I worked with journalists, technologists and users to develop and explore all forms of engagement (collaboration, conversation, co-curation…) plus create and manage new social web strategies and experiences for The Guardian.
My professional bio (for conferences, speaking events and so on) is as follows:Meg Pickard is an independent consultant, working in the areas of digital engagement and strategy, product innovation, community practice and creative collaboration. Meg comes from a background in social anthropology: in the mid-nineties, she conducted ethnographic fieldwork into community participation first in Bolivia and subsequently online. Since then, she has worked as practitioner, strategist, consultant and academic with a range of big-name brands, non-profits and startups, including a long stint at AOL Europe. As Head of Digital Engagement for Guardian News & Media over five years, she was responsible for developing and supporting existing and new social web strategy and interactive experiences, bridging editorial, technology and commercial departments. Since 2012, she has been working with a range of organisations mainly in the media and charity sectors, to grow capability, collaborate with users and help staff become more digital by default. Meg’s particular areas of interest are community engagement and the emergence of new forms of collaborative and participatory media. She describes herself as a creative geek and lives in London. You can find her at megpickard.com and on Twitter as @megpickard.