Andrew Dixon | Interview

by | Nov 18, 2021

Andrew Dixon

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know Dr Andrew Dixon, our Managing Director, who is passionate about working collaboratively between small and large businesses and utilising technology pull-through from academia into delivery. Our “national platform” includes Andrew’s roles chairing the Small Business Forum for the Institute for Collaborative Working and vice-chair of the TechUK Defence & Security SME forum. Andrew is also an external examiner for the Cranfield University Battlespace Technology course.

Andrew’s focus is on continuously transforming the business to respond to the market, driving and delivering great outcomes for our clients, partners and associates.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

My day always starts with a few cups of tea and breakfast is definitely my most important meal of the day. Before the day gets going, I usually catch up with the latest events with Starship development in Boca Chica, Texas via the YouTube daily update. It’s amazing to watch the evolution of the largest launch vehicle and orbital rocket ever made … and Elon Musk’s approach to keeping it simple; learn by doing is something I really relate to.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

That’s a tough one. I’m fortunate to have had a few. Helping to fundamentally shift the land platforms market through some policy changes whilst working in the MOD to create a more level playing field; delivering market engagement to improve procurement success through Niteworks across a range of projects; management of chunks of Skynet – future military satellite programmes both 20 years ago and now; working on the Nuclear Deterrent; and working with the Institute for Collaborative Working to promote small business collaborative engagements.

But I think my proudest work achievement is happening now with FCDO Services at Hanslope Park, where we are working in an innovation collaboration to enable the transfer of large volumes of digital public records to the National Archives – supporting democracy through transparency. Amazing!

What do you love most about what you do?

People have said to me in the past, that as a small consultancy we surely can’t make much difference. That couldn’t be more wrong. I love that we help the public sector to make the best decisions with the limited funds that it has available. They get better capability, and achieve more because of our intervention and support. The public sector making better decisions, more effectively and more efficiently leads to lives saved, taxpayer money protected and better services to the public. It’s a huge privilege to be providing the service that makes such a difference.

What does your typical working day look like?

Blimey. They can be long days. Running a small business like SVGC can be challenging, with many balls to juggle and such rapid turnaround on bids and proposals. I am fortunate to have an amazing team around me who make it happen.

I still deliver some of the fee-paying work myself, which is important to me to stay in touch with the ground truth of delivery, and maintain close working relationships with key clients.

My working days usually start quite early with a mixture of company business, client work, lots and lots of calls. We talk a lot with partner companies and clients to ensure we keep in touch with both delivery and opportunities.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Change the subject and do something else for a while. If that doesn’t work, and it’s late, I will often go to sleep and somehow have the answer in the morning. The odd round of golf helps too. I’m also a keen sailor and time-permitting, it’s surprising how problems seem to get resolved when you’re sailing past the Needles!

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