An introduction to the faces behind our new behavioural insight division


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Earlier this year, we announced the launch of our new behavioural insight proposition here at CDS, and we’re excited to share more information about the people leading the charge.

From behavioural research and service design through to user experience and planning and performance, our aim is to help companies to understand users’ needs and create authentic, empathetic communications between brands and their audiences – across both the public and private sectors.

So, without further ado, here are the names and faces driving this initiative forward.


Clare Gledhill,
Operations Director

Role overview: Responsible for spearheading the entire operation, Clare oversees the management and strategic development of our new venture. She will work closely with the behavioural research, service design, user experience, and planning and performance teams to ensure both client objectives are being met and our wider mission of levelling up communication for everyone in society – regardless of background, gender, disability, age, race, or ethnicity – is achieved. Clare believes that the humanisation of communications is crucial for organisations to truly get to grips with not only their users but employees too.

A few words from Clare: “We want people to feel their own individual needs are understood by the organisations they interact with, and this means inclusivity, empathy, and user understanding should be baked into their communications strategy as standard. The one-size-fits-all approach to communication is neither effective nor sustainable for organisations and we’re here to empower them with true user insight, to help create an ethically and commercially stable future – which has the target audience at its heart.”

Fiona-Harwood Fiona Harwood,
Head of Service Design

Role overview: Fiona champions our user-centred service design offering, which takes a holistic view of the end-to-end experience of a service – diving deeper into some of the key touchpoints to ensure it meets the needs and requirements of all involved. Fiona helps clients break down the stages of their service, including understanding all points of interaction and thinking about it from different perspectives – which can be end-users of the service or employees within the company who support the end-users.

A few words from Fiona: “It’s important that brands don’t think about their service as a ‘thing’ – e.g. a website or brochure – it’s an experience for the user. It’s as much about a product or service meeting an experience need as it is about meeting a value exchange need.”


Susie Spencer,
Head of Behavioural Research

Role overview: Working with clients and internal teams throughout the development and lifecycle of a digital project, Susie’s team is responsible for accessibility consultancy, user research, participant recruitment, and facilities hire, and provides strategic support and consultancy to clients across both private and public sectors.

The team provides insight to support user-centred design – from initial discovery through ideation, design, development, and delivery – supporting internal agile sprint teams and clients alike to understand their goals, end-user needs and expectations, and to facilitate the design of usable, delightful, accessible, and inclusive experiences.

A few words from Susie: “Organisations often fear that the research phase of a project will slow them down, but ultimately it can not only make them move quicker – by removing guesswork and internal debate – but it also helps to produce a better, more successful outcome with reduced need for costly redevelopment of underperforming functionality and features. Ideally, behavioural research should be carried out at the very start and then throughout a project – challenging assumptions, informing solutions, and prioritising features to make sure that development time is used effectively and efficiently to deliver a high-performing product.”

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Lucy Beldon,
Head of Planning and Performance

Role overview: Lucy and her team use research and data to generate insights that enable informed and improved decision-making. They’re often involved in the discovery phase of projects – an initial ‘deep dive’ that uncovers an organisation’s challenges and aspirations – and after the behavioural research is completed will work with teams across the firm to devise inclusive strategies, plans, and solutions to get the best outcomes for end-users. Analysis is also a core component of planning and performance. The team monitor, optimise, and evaluate the success of a project to learn what worked well or could be improved upon to drive further positive change.

A few words from Lucy: “Our job is to use data and facts to make the best decisions for our customers and their end-users – often challenging perceptions and existing approaches. In reality, a user-centric approach rooted in inclusivity and accessibility should be the norm across all organisations and sectors, but unfortunately, it is often ignored or treated as a tick-box exercise. We’re here to help businesses realise the importance of audience understanding and the impact it can make. We’re here to provide them with the evidence, research, insight, ideas, and tools to connect authentically, effectively, and empathetically with their target audiences.”


Martin Gittins,
Head of UX and UI Design

Role overview: Working in collaboration with the research and development departments, Martin and his team are tasked with making sure that what is being built fully meets users’ needs, and is based on an understanding of their motivations and pain-points – creating an experience and interface that truly delights. Getting to grips with the behavioural insight and using this intelligence to create an end-product that not only looks aesthetically pleasing but is functionally useful and positively impacts people’s lives is a major priority for this area of the agency.

A few words from Martin: “To create successful digital transformation projects, we start with understanding user needs and developing empathy with them. In particular, the most technically demanding projects require a joint effort between design and development, to deliver work that is not only functional, reliable, and useful but also delightful. We specialise in making the complex seem elegantly simple, creating engaging user experiences that enrich people’s lives.”

Keep your eyes peeled on our blog and social media for more updates from this side of the business, including plenty of advice to get you started. If you have any questions, please contact our friendly team via

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