Rod McLaren: Words that work |||


My work: words that work for digital and carbon transformation, content and brand.

Projects by IF
2023-4: Projects by IF help organisations make the leap from experience to trust I helped Sarah, Valeria and the brilliant IF team sharpen up the story and the words for their brand relaunch.

Generative Engineering
2023-4: Generative Engineering reduces the time and cost of engineering individual parts or full systems by generating and testing thousands of alternatives for. I helped their team write about generative AI and physical product design/engineering in an era of faltering supply chains and heightened climate urgency. Re-engineering the world:

We need a faster and better way to create engineers. One that isn’t competing for talent with the existing system, but that is incremental and parallel to it. And we need to make all engineers more efficient and productive, regardless of their training. They will need vastly more powerful tools. What if the time from idea to manufacturable product becomes hours rather than years?”

Public Digital
Public Digital helps leaders and teams transform their organisations to meet the challenges, technologies and expectations of the internet era.

2022: Content and communications for a global bank. The same for a FTSE 100 UK retailer. This work is often about how you make what you say resonate with the rest of your organisation. How you make it signal genuine change rather than the years of IT programmes” that don’t quite deliver.


2021: United Nations Development Programme UNDP - a report on the circular economy in Viet Nam which helped set the scene for the Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub.

2018-24: ustwo are an employee-owned digital product and service studio that drive positive change for people, business and organisations. I write ustwo Europe’s newsletter, and you can sign up for the email. According to Mailchimp the newsletter has an open rate of 82% and a click rate of about 7%.

Rod writes our Europe newsletter - a round up of all the goodness happening and ustwo news we believe will be interesting and relevant our customers and readers. He gets the ustwo mission and our positive attitude and voice. It’s the kind of content magic I really appreciate. - Nicki Sprinz, European Managing Director


2021: I researched Internet of Things and emerging opportunities for a multi-national bank, with the brilliant Matt Webb of Mwie.

Projects by IF
2018-21: Projects by IF specialise in ethical and practical uses of data. Data is becoming increasingly central to individuals, organisations and how the world works, so IFs work on responsible, creative and trustable data use is timely and important. I’ve edited and written reports and website content for several projects for their customers in government, healthcare and technology.

Rod pairs firsthand, extensive domain knowledge of tech and design with a real talent for wordsmithery. He does the full stack of writing: from microcopy to strategy and visioning. Teams love him, management trusts him, and he’s an all-around excellent person to work with. I’ve worked with him in previous roles as well, and recommend him to everyone. - Dr. Ella Fitzsimmons, Head of Narrative Strategy at Projects by IF

Co-op Digital
2016-22: I wrote Co-op Digitals newsletter. It looked at what’s happening in the internet/digital world and how it’s relevant to the Co-op, to retail businesses, and most importantly to people, communities and society.

Love it, this! - Mike Bracken, Chief Digital Officer at Co-op Group

Public Digital
2020-21: Crunchy words for C-suite readers: I wrote the words for Public Digital’s website. The team at Public Digital and their development partner helped, it was a good project. We boiled the story down to this: Digital. Teams. Work.”

This is spot on! - Ben Terrett, CEO at Public Digital

Stripe Partners
2022-3: I helped Stripe Partners write a some provocations about how agile development” works today, now that it has evolved from a test-iterate approach to software to a cultural aspiration for organisations. They’re conversation-starters rather than academic assessments. More here.

Co-op Foundation
2022: The Co-op Foundation is Co-op Group’s charity - it works to build fairer and more co-operative communities. The brilliant Linda Humphries and I write a landscape review” of what’s been happening in the world of data and digital rights for the Foundation’s Federation programme.

Bulb Energy
2019: I wrote about smart meters for Bulb Energy.


Earlier projects

2019: I researched and wrote on retail trends for Public Digital.

2018: Worked with the brilliant Ella Fitzsimmons to create a prototype newsletter for DotEveryone, a think tank which champions responsible technology. Doteveryone’s team took it on: Society in the loop and it is a great read.

2017: Worked with the magnificent Brad Legge to write an agile development plan for a legal software product and evaluate potential vendors for Kemp Little, a tech/media law firm.

2016-17: Product/project management of a software build for Water Aid, with Storythings.

2016: Introducing agile approaches (iterate, adapt) to Storythings and their client projects.

2015: Business model design and early product management for, a job matching website from Team Prime.

2015: London Tube Map with Walklines is in London Transport Museums permanent collection.

2015: Spreadsheets are dreams, a piece on design/craft for Hand & Brain alongside contributions from William Gibson and others.

Before Holdfast I ran product and finance at a mobile security software business. Before that I was a product manager at Eckoh, an AIM-listed speech recognition company, and was the head of design at Football365, but that’s a very long time ago now.

Holdfast Projects Ltd.
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