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Posted: 21 April 2020
By Alastair Lee

From me, to we

When I went freelance in 2013 I wanted to help clients build better products and services with user-centred and agile methods. That hasn't changed, but now it's not just me. Now I'm bringing together teams of experts to make a bigger impact. And that's exciting.

Bamboo forest
Our favoured habitat.

The formation of this company has been a long time coming.

I left my last full time job in 2013. I had spent five years managing the digital side of Time Out Group, based in London. I had learned a lot about product, content, management, commercial realities and the importance of user-centred design.

I was moving west with my young family and decided to ‘go freelance’ so I set up Product Panda as a vehicle for that. I was a product manager by trade. But freelance product management wasn’t really a thing. So I worked for agencies like Great State and Head (now Zone) as a strategist, doing discovery work for major digital product design and transformation projects.

I also spent 18 months with cxpartners, leading the engagement with their biggest client – Bristol City Council. It was there that I really began to appreciate the power of involving users at all stages of the design process, and I owe a lot to the people I worked with.

I went on to form a consultancy called Pilot Works, doing primarily discovery, strategy and product management consulting with clients like DoHSC, Ovo and the National Trust.  My co-founder and I had different visions for where we wanted to go, so we split in 2018.

Over the last 18 months, we’ve been flat out on delivery, doing work I’m really proud of, with people I love working with. Thank you Will, Ant, Ben, Stuart, Patricia and all the folks who have made our clients and their users happy.

Covid 19 has given me a chance to step back, think about what we do and how we do it and get our website together. So here we are, Panda. No longer Product Panda, just Panda. A carefully curated collective of designers and makers, ready to design better products, better services, better processes and organisations.

Now is the time to accelerate towards a fairer, more sustainable, more compassionate future. Everything is up in the air. We may as well choose to land somewhere better.

Let’s design better.

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