Dr. Rachel Jones


Dr Rachel Jones is an independent Digital Strategist delivering technology solutions for a client list that includes Microsoft, Vodafone and the Digital Catapult. With over 25 years’ experience Rachel is trusted by major organisations to identify, scope and support the creation of new technology propositions.

Whether the brief is highly specific or wildly ambiguous, Rachel’s expertise bridges the gap between the technology and the end-user to deliver successful people-centred products, services and systems.

Working with

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Commercial Business

Rachel works with large corporations to create business propositions that tap into new and innovative technology. This includes both identifying uses for new technology and scoping areas where opportunities for new technologies exist.


Where a new technology is being developed, Rachel will work with the team to research its potential end-users and identify their specific product needs. This vital understanding helps to define the technology, ensuring it reaches its full market potential. Rachel’s skill is bringing together product and market potential to create a holistic solution that manifests in a tangible and designed product or service.


Similarly, when companies look to expand their technology into new sectors, Rachel conducts the vital background research to identify possible technology partnerships and establishes the beneficial relationships. Rachel works together with partners to outline mutually valuable projects. Rachel puts together the business propositions and manages the projects through to completion.

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Funding Bodies

When funding bodies identify an area for investment they need to ensure that the money is used most effectively. Rachel works directly with stakeholders to really understand their challenges and to explore the innovation opportunities and market openings they present.


This involves carrying out horizon scanning and intelligence gathering, mapping out and scoping the strategic areas in an industry sector, running workshops, interviewing industry leaders, producing informative white papers, and then fully managing the tender process.


In short, Rachel plays the key role of facilitating the discussions that identify the key opportunities for investment and create the crucial partnerships that go on to develop truly effective technology solutions.

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Research & Development

Working with Research & Development teams, both corporate and academic, Rachel helps to explore new technology ideas and then create working demonstrators that bring those ideas to life and show their potential.


This includes identifying an area of research, obtaining funding, building proof of concept prototypes, writing academic papers and developing patents.


Most importantly it involves managing the transfer of the idea into a business itself, ensuring its use by existing teams or helping to establish new units that will exploit it for the company’s benefit.

"Rachel’s elaboration on how we define Design, how Design operates in practice, and how we might look to apply it across InnovateUK has been invaluable."

Innovate UK, Technology specialist

A few examples

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Adding emotion to Nokia’s design process

Client: Nokia (HQ)


Objectives: To revitalize Nokia’s market share in the face of tough competition from the iPhone. Nokia wanted to improve their development process so that more ‘emotionally appealing’ products passed their development criteria and reached market.


Challenges: Measuring emotional qualities is intrinsically complex. Rachel’s team was also working at a global scale, covering Nokia’s key markets across the world.


Actions: Rachel and her team worked closely with end-users in five carefully selected countries. This provided a real understanding of the role Nokia’s handsets played in people’s lives, both from a user and a cultural perspective. Rachel used this unique insight to develop a framework that mapped the handset’s emotional qualities and the role they play in different areas of people’s lives. Rachel was then able to use this framework to develop value statements that could accurately deliver metrics.


Outcome: Rachel’s work contributed to a major cultural and technological shift within Nokia. Emotional appeal is now a valued and integral aspect of Nokia’s handset development process, helping Nokia to produce the handsets that customers really want.

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Helping to shape Microsoft’s platform development

Client: Microsoft Research


Objectives: To inform and support Microsoft’s development of innovative community technologies based on the needs and activities of an exemplar community, amateur musicians. We were expected to develop novel concepts for the product groups, usable patents and academic papers in world class publications.


Challenges: The social network space is already overcrowded with ‘novel’ ideas!


Actions: Rachel led an extensive research study of the amateur musician community. This showed how amateur musicians employ a plethora of online services to sustain local fan bases, reach out to new fans, collaborate internationally, and actively promote both digital and material products. Rachel helped to create extremely novel concepts in this space and to translate these into interesting extensions for Microsoft products that help to differentiate them in the global marketplace.


Outcome: Rachel helped to create many concepts that are successfully being rolled out into Microsoft products. The concepts included event-oriented promotion tools, community-oriented analytics, tangible and embedded products, and limited-edition digital experiences. These have also had great feedback from the community itself.

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Developing a health sector strategy and projects to support it

Client: Digital Catapult, the UK government digital innovation centre


Objectives: To develop a health data platform that provides digital health companies with a data service that allows them to gather the evidence they need to support a business case. The lack of such a service blocks the deployment of innovative products and services that could both improve patient care and provide significant efficiencies.


Challenges: Gathering personal health data has become highly controversial. We needed to find a new way of understanding the evidence for digital health products.


Actions: Rachel discussed the challenges with industry leaders, representatives from the health sector and leading health professionals. Having mapped the data and data activity landscapes, Rachel developed a roadmap of potential activities where the Digital Catapult could maximise its impact. By determining common project objectives and scoping partners’ possible contributions, Rachel produced case studies for three projects based around a consortium of industry partners and funding bodies.


Outcome: Rachel’s work provided the Digital Catapult with a number of options for projects designed to break down the barriers. The white paper Rachel produced has provided Digital Catapult with all the intelligence they need to make informed decisions on the right projects to initiate. When these projects go ahead, companies will be able to gather the crucial evidence they need to validate their products and deploy them effectively. This will lead to improvements in patients’ health and greater efficiencies in the system.

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Helping healthcare funding to maximise its impact

Client: Innovate UK, the UK government innovation agency


Objectives: To stimulate innovation in the health system where it would have the most impact. We also needed to create a pilot project that would demonstrate the value of design strategy within the health sector.


Challenges: The process needed to make the most of lead clinicians’ limited time. It also needed to embrace the many different viewpoints of multidisciplinary teams. We needed to identify the key areas where innovation would have a real impact on patients’ lives and the treatment they receive.


Actions: Rachel brought together discussion groups made up of representatives from multi-disciplinary clinical teams. These met in the health clinics themselves, where the setting helped to stimulate and ground ideas. Rachel based the discussions around a process familiar to all stakeholders - care pathways. These were presented with highly engaging visuals that guided and structured the conversations by providing a tangible entity around which people could talk. Rather than searching for solutions, participants were asked to identify challenges and opportunities. This allowed a much broader range of solutions to be considered, including ideas from industries outside of the clinical sphere. This all ensured the discussion groups were positively focused and highly generative.


Outcome: From the findings Rachel was able to scope a tender briefing document that focused on specific, high priority challenges that can realistically be solved. She threw open these challenges to an exceptionally diverse set of suppliers who were able to offer practical solutions based on innovative new technologies. Rachel’s work has also provided business with a real understanding of the challenges faced by clinicians and is enabling more effective procurement for the NHS.

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Roadmap for the Internet of Things

Client: Innovate UK and Research Councils


Objectives: To develop a program of funding that would address the opportunities and challenges presented by the Internet of Things. As part of a cross-disciplinary team, Rachel represented the fusion sector, which is a mix of creatives and digital technologists. The team was tasked with producing a roadmap setting out activity streams, and then with determining the most appropriate funding mechanism for each stream.


Challenges: We needed to capture and combine a broad range of different viewpoints from groups of people working in sectors that don’t usually collaborate, and across industry and academia. We needed to form a program of generative activities both for the immediate and the longer-term.


Actions: To inspire such a diverse mix of people to work together, Rachel helped to design a special two-day offsite workshop. Particular attention was paid to setting up the steering group, inviting the right attendees, gathering intelligence on the current state of play, and determining the agenda. The workshop, for 120 people, was carefully planned to include inspirational activities that would genuinely appeal to everyone. The activities were also designed to provide the sponsor with a clear set of actions moving forward. The outputs were collated, synthesized and presented in a detailed written roadmap report.


Outcome: The roadmap has been used to map funding support for the next ten years. Projects supported by this funding are now underway and showing real success in a wide variety of areas.

About Dr Rachel Jones

For a full CV contact me directly



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