2015: My Year in Review

Posted: 31st December 2015

2015 has been a wonderful year, full of new ideas, new projects and new connections. It started with my New Year wedding at the magical Caer Rhun Hall in the Conwy Valley, North Wales, a beautiful venue we had all to ourselves, with just close family and friends to celebrate in the New Year (and some genius retro songs to dance to after midnight to ensure the party kept going and going…)

So January was spent in the USA in Vegas, San Diego, on a long Amtrak Sunset Limited west-to-east train journey, in New Orleans (where we participated in the legendary Dr Gumbo cocktail history tour… and lost a couple of hours of our lives somewhere), to Miami Beach and a few days at Disney. So not much business happened in January, but that’s ok, sometimes you need to take a good break, and a honeymoon is the perfect excuse for that.

Two particular sound bites stick in my mind from that trip, the first was from a chap we sat with for dinner on the train from Miami to Orlando. He was on his way to visit his 80 year-old mother and her far-younger boyfriend who lived together in a nudist colony. Rather than be prudish Brits, we took his matter-of-factness as an invitation to ask way more questions than we should have. I’m nosey like that.

The other came from a conversation I overheard between two "sportsday moms" on the early Disney bus to the Magic Kingdom. They were discussing tactics to get their little girls to the front of the queue to see their favourite characters… “Well, you know there’s going to be a sprint for the princesses”, one declared… Only at Disney!

Quotes from Disneyworld

I have since fallen into the interesting world of having multiple identities. I am in fact now a Jones, but like many women who have built their career and reputation using their maiden name I still use Hampson too. In fact I often get confused between which I have used and where, and have had far too many dodgy-sounding phone conversations where I say something to the effect of “the booking might be under Hampson, can you check Jones? My name is either Hampson or Jones”.

This year saw me venture more into the world of Adult Social Care, working with a group of people with great energy in the Local Digital Team at the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and across a number of local authorities. We developed a tool for helping people to establish whether they are eligible for taking out a Deferred Payment Agreement, (a financial mechanism that allows people to use the value of their homes to help pay for care home costs) and if so, how much it is likely to cost them. (Have a look at the Local Digital DPA page)

On the outside I commented often that this tool was like “the gift no-one wants, as it wraps up things we Brits are highly squeamish about, like death, inheritance, residential care, capacity, independence, family, money… and packages them up into one handy online tool”, but delving deeper, there is a gulf of information missing to give people the information they need about paying for social care, especially when it often comes at an emotional time of crisis and heightened anxiety. If this tool helps people in some way to navigate the complex area of social care funding then I’m proud we did it. I’ll reserve my thoughts on the outrageous prices, and shockingly bad variation in the quality of care people receive for the money they spend on it, for another blog altogether!

June saw the launch of Desire Code at a super-cool little venue, the screening room of the stylish Charlotte Street Hotel in London. Desire Code is a framework I created which draws together some great behavioural economics insight from my last 8-9 years of working with literally thousands of practitioners across the UK and beyond, and arranges it into a practical approach for making services, products and campaigns more appealing. It’s the work I am most proud of, and since I shared it with the world it opened up a whole new level of wonderful opportunities for me to work on interesting projects and puzzles with some truly great people. I have to say, the days I deliver Desire Code are some of my most fun work days, which is just as well because from January onwards there are an awful lot more coming up!

Launch of Desire Code in June 2015

Many of you know I enjoy speaking at conferences and events (in fact I just like talking a lot – I blame it on my genes from my grandmother) and one of this year’s highlights has included speaking at the Marketing and Communications Directors Forum Conference, a 3-day floating conference on the Arcadia cruise ship. The audience were largely executive-level folk from major private sector companies. I took my preparation seriously too, which means I missed out on 4am karaoke in the bar the night before my keynote, clearly a high price for professionalism, but one worth paying.

The Directors Forum also led to a wonderful opportunity; someone on board was organising a TEDx event (TEDxUKIPO) and invited me to speak at it. I’m a huge fan of the TED and TEDx format so it was a real honour to be asked. The video isn’t available online yet but I’ll post a link to it when it is. The title is “Where’s the certainty, or is behavioural transformation just a game of chance?”

Speaking at TEDxUKIPO

In quite a few of my keynotes this year I have included some content which referred to Oracle/teletext. For anyone under the age of 30 or anyone who didn’t grow up in the UK, this is how we used to waste time before smart phones. It’s so nostalgic and every time I have talked about teletext this year I always get the best instant responses from my audience. In the spirit of firing up the ‘nostalgic neurons’ in your brains this New Years Eve, here’s a little message from December 31st 1992… (The "Happy New Year" bit, not the "we're closing down" bit!)

Oracle  December 31st1992

In 2015 I was described by the Daily Post as a “dynamic blonde” (article here) and met and spent time with inspiring, sparky people who helped me lift my game too! Including the amazing Seth Godin (if you want to know what is special about him check out http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/, Twitter @thisissethsblog).

Meeting Seth Godin

So, Happy New Year everyone. Don’t forget to make a wish at midnight tonight and I hope your dreams come true in 2016 – see you there.

Denise x

(PS connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Periscope @DeniseHampson and on LinkedIn)



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