When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Creativity and innovation
8:20am Thursday 19th July 2012 in Profiles
Martin Stott, public sector mutuals consultant at LaunchPad, answers our questions about his career
What was your first job and what did your responsibilities include?
I was a graduate trainee at the Town and Country Planning Association (a cross between a think tank and an environmental campaigning organisation) in London. My job was to support the director drafting policy papers, letters to ministers, press liaison, tea making, etc How much was in your first pay packet and what did you spend it on?
£175pcm (in 1977). More than I care to admit went on beer and a much-loved motorbike (not at the same time!). The rest on boring things like rent.
Describe how you career developed to the present day I have spent 35 years in sustainable development. It was not called that when I started. I have worked as a campaigner, consultant and researcher. I moved to Oxford to work for the Political Ecology Research Group, and have spent the last 20 years or so in various management positions in local government.
My last job was as head of environment and resources at Warwickshire County Council where I was responsible for a range of environmental services including waste management and planning but also corporate responsibilities including creativity and innovation across the organisation.
What are the key responsibilities in your position?
I am now a management consultant working with financial, legal and change management colleagues to provide a service to the public sector to support groups of staff looking to redesign their services and spin-out as joint ventures, social enterprises and staff mutuals. This is where my creativity and innovation work in local government has taken me.
Describe a typical day There is no such thing as a typical day, but running workshops with groups of staff, briefing and advising senior executives or elected members or joining colleagues to identify venture capital or other funding options for clients are typical elements of what I do.
Who/what have been the biggest influences on your career?
Being elected as a councillor in the 1980s made me realise just how much impact councils have on people’s everyday lives. Making the transition to working for one in 1990 was critical as a career move, for which I must thank John Harwood, then chief executive at Oxfordshire County Council.
What has been your best decision?
My move to Warwickshire County Council in 2004 gave me a lot of new opportunities. My career thrived because I was given freedom to range across the organisation, way beyond my formal remit.
And your worst?
I should have got more experience in different jobs when I was younger. I let too many opportunities slip.
What is the secret of good management?
Empower staff. Do not try and do their jobs for them. Good managers provide the resources and the strategic direction for staff to do the job and then get out of the way. They support, encourage, challenge and above all, communicate clearly.
Do you have a good work/life balance?
I think so. I have always taken it seriously and worked part time for a while at Oxfordshire CC when my daughters were young. I keep chickens, have an allotment and I am secretary of my local residents’ association. I also had a photographic exhibition as part of Artweeks this year.
What are the biggest challenges facing your business today?
A lot of the public sector is still resistant to change. It is hard to convince people that creativity and innovation in the delivery of public services has much to offer.
Is there anything in business that really irritates you?
Myths and stereotypes in the business world. ‘Red tape’ is one. Many is the time I have seen people demand government get off their backs and the moment something goes awry demand ‘something must be done’, usually by government.
How do you see your company developing over the next five years?
LaunchPad is a start up. We have everything to play for. If public service reform takes off we are well placed to provide a high-quality integrated service for people coming out of it.
What has been your most satisfying moment?
One was winning the Municipal Journal Achievement of the Year Award for partnership with the voluntary sector. Another was improving Warwickshire’s recycling levels from 15 per cent to 50 per cent and being ‘most improved county in England’ two years in a row.
How much do you use social media and how effective is it?
I am on LinkedIn, and Facebook and I have my own website (www.martin-stott.com). You cannot be a serious player without using social media, but it is important you control it rather than the other way round!
What is your attitude to the environment and do you have any green policies in place?
I have spent my entire career promoting sustainable development in business. Who wants to work in an unsustainable business?
What do you do to motivate your workforce?
By having fun and knowing you are making a positive difference.
Is there any other job you would like to have done and why?
I was tempted by journalism. I received a serious offer from a national magazine when I lived in London in the 1970s. I turned it down because I felt I was more of a doer than a thinker or scribbler. But I still write regularly.
What would you like to do when you retire?
I do not really intend to formally retire. But I want to improve my horticulture skills, including fruit trees and their pruning and find more time for cooking as well as growing and take photography more seriously.
Name: Martin Stott Age: 58 Job: Public sector mutuals consultant at LaunchPad Time in job: Eight months Contact: Martin@martin-stott.com Web: www.uklaunchpad.com