Lets try again shall we?
Last week, for some reason, I just couldn’t write. I think it must have been something about the previous weeks being so busy that meant that a relatively normal week felt, well, a bit flat.
So I thought I’d leave weeknotes and come back when I had a bit more to say. But today, I’m recovering from the worst migraine I’ve had in a long time. So there’s likely to be more typos than usual as I squint at the screen.
Actually, as I’ve written that paragraph I’ve gone back and corrected three.
So actually, maybe these should be short this week.
Its been good to be back in the office working on sprint planning and sprint work with the team. I’ve had some chance to think more about my funded projects and, as we’re edging closer to deadline day it’s been so good to see how they’re all progressing.
I had a really good day this week getting all of my notes together for my funded projects, I got my canvasses up on the wall and started pulling together all of my thoughts. Our team are going to be publishing a blog, about how we are working with the funded projects and what we are finding, which will be live soon.
I spent a couple of hours at a workshop this week with the team from the Worcester Office for Data Analytics (WODA). Throughout their discovery they’ve been whittling down use cases, and its good to see them gaining clarity on which approaches will hold the most value. The workshop included colleagues from five other LAs who gave feedback on use cases and provide feedback from within their organisations. It’s really exciting to see such great collaboration happening in front of my eyes.
You can find out more about the WODA project here: Registration Services Data – unlocking local government opportunities – Local Digital
Afterwards I met with Olly and Jessica from Social Finance to talk through the User Research report that they’re working on with my Manchester project and to provide feedback. I’ve been really excited to see these outputs of our funded projects because I think we’re going to learn so much from them.
Here’s where you’ll find the Manchester project: Common Data Model for Children’s Services Statutory Returns– Local Digital
What else has happened?
The most amazing thing happened. The great Dan Barrett wrote a theme tune for me. It is exceptional, but excruciating, but it would be totally remiss if I didn’t include it here: https://soundcloud.com/user-387447016/sams-theme
Even though it’s incredibly embarrassing, its also incredibly wonderful to be a part of a community who do these kinds of things. So yeah. Now I just need to create a podcast so I can get away with using it on the regular.
There was a big petition this week, and so my twitter feed was mostly taken up with people talking about that, leading to this:
I thought that this thread was one of the best examples of working in the open, with an honest, open, and useful set of information to help people understand what was going on. Props to the team who were working on this and to the comms team who allowed them to make these statements publicly, it’s just so important.
I’ve also been really enjoying seeing the One Team Gov bureaucracy hack coming together. I’ve been working on blogs with them and providing some input, I’ve been writing lots of tweets for the team recently, and I’ve been working to pull everything over to Linked In so that we can build a wider audience for the event. I think it’s making a small but rippling impact, so I’m pleased about that.
Oh and you can apply for a ticket now!
I can’t write any more but I’ve read a lot of interesting things this week so here you go: The Algorithmic Emptiness of Allbirds Shoes
An interesting article about moving away from conspicuous wealth and designing items to be deliberately boring. When I first saw these trainers on Instagram my impression was indeed “man those are boring”.
I always love reading about Milton keynes, and Louise night appreciate this too.
This was an interesting account and I was really glad to read about someone’s experience.
I absolutely loved this piece above about Elizabeth Swaney, it’s a really great story about a person who clearly just loves learning and trying things for it’s own sake and it’s a really great story. While we are on the subject, if you haven’t seen the Eddie the Eagle film you should totally watch it.
I thought this was a really excellent piece about WeWork and office culture as a service, about community building, and for whom?
I’ve been watching a lot of TV competitions recently. The Great British Sewing Bee, Celebrity Bake Off, and something on BBC3 called Glow Up. Yeah, BBC3, and it’s about makeup, and I’m a 36 year old mum. What of it?
Anyway, in Glow Up they have these things called red chairs. They set all the contestants a challenge, and the two worst performers get given a red chair for the second challenge. This means that they’re at risk of going out of the competition. It strikes me that the red chair adds a certain amount of additional stress for contestants as they complete their second challenge. But then in episode three they also told the contestants that they would have 15 minutes less time than the others.
It got me thinking about this well established trope of long form TV competition shows that identify the worst each week and remove them. Maybe I’m being stupid or overthinking but it just seems so wrong to me that we would be so bought into that way of working, looking for imperfections and removing the worst.
I know that participants of Masterchef often go on to have great careers, opening restaurants and becoming celebrities even if that’s just on a fairly local level in their communities. Wouldn’t it be a better trope to take those 10 people and instead of whittling down to one, you tried to find a way to build them all up? Then they’d go back into the real world and have even more impact?
In the case of Glow Up, it just felt unnecessarily cruel. These programmes also perpetuate the notion that industries are cut throat and makes it seem like it’s impossible to get good at something, or that you have to be really special to get good at something. I wonder what would happen if the two who had performed the worst were given 15 minutes extra, levelling the playing field and helping them to do something great.
Anyway, perhaps I am feeling overly emotional today.
I also thought this was a great article about Instagram and tattoo artists.
Finally I watched a show in BBC4 about memes which I quite enjoyed:
Immediately after I watched this Storyville documentary which was important but also totally horrific. I’d recommend it but honestly it might make you consider the platforms you’re using and your effects on people all around the world.