Where did the sunshine go?
Hi, how are you? Happy Friday. I hope you are having a lovely time despite the rain descending.
I’ve had another good week, less manic and lots of time to think about things, I’m also really enjoying my little One Team Gov side hustle at the moment.
5 Things that happened (more than 5 things happened)
One. On Monday I travelled to Hackney to help support with some discovery assessments for them. It was a really interesting experience (these are not a typical within central government and not mandated by GDS) as well as an opportunity to learn some more about local government, as I’m still very much on the upwards slope of my learning curve with that.
It was also a good opportunity to be involved in an emerging piece of work as the team design the best approach for them. It was also interesting to see somewhere where they are trying to work out the internal mechanics of this type of work, especially considering we have a number of discovery projects that we have funded and also look at in a very similar way.
I liked how inclusive the sessions were and how different the projects and delivery of findings were, it was also lovely to see Cate, Philippa and Rahma and to meet Roo who I know from twitter. Having lunch with Cate and Philippa in the sunshine was a highlight.
Two. I’ve had some thinking and doing time this week which has been useful. Egle started off a spreadsheet where we could record examples of “what good looks like” and Egle, Eni and I added some examples.
Egle went on holiday so I went through all of the project outputs, pulling out what I thought were some of the best bits, and then grouped these together in broad themes.
We plan to write a blog post about what good looks like, and what I want to do is to:
- provide a stepping stone to something resembling a toolkit for how to do good agile projects, and,
- provide some real life examples that the wider community can see, read about and adapt to their needs in order to be able to tell better stories about the work they’re doing.
So to do that (and to make sure this isn’t just all coming out of my head) I set up a “What does good look like” board, printing and displaying some of those outputs by theme to get people’s feedback. I know it’s not ideal for one person to do this work but it provides a starter and I think it’s important to just start and let people feed in with where I’ve got gaps (there will always be some) and by getting visuals up provides additional interest which will hopefully get more thoughts.
Three. I’ve been thinking a lot about things our team can do to support collaborative projects and to help them to succeed. I’ve been banging on about Research Ops for ages now but it finally all clicked together that #ReOpsaaS might be something our team could carve out as a service to local government, enabling researchers working on projects to concentrate on the actual research and conversations.
I’m trying to think about how we might run something that is useful. The ReOps publication is a goldmine for this and this post by Emma Boulton is really handy.
Four. I went to One Team Gov breakfast on Wednesday and it was lovely to see people there. Douglas was in town as he had been helping with Civil Service Live the previous day, and Sarah was over from NZ which was awesome. Kit also popped along for a bit.
On one of the One Team Gov WhatsApp groups people have been talking about running an event focusing on the environment and sustainability which I am really excited about. It feels like the most pressing issue at the moment and there is lots to be done.
I’ve been feeling really dis-empowered by the whole #ClimateCrisis recently, but at the same time have been thinking “As a civil servant, there surely must be something I can do about this”.
Maybe a One Team Gov event is that thing, if I can help to catalyse thoughts and help to amplify the conversation then I’m there.
If you want to add your thoughts about what an event like that should include then you can add your thoughts tot he collaborative Google Doc here:
We talked about a few different subjects at breakfast: dealing with meeting fatigue, collaboration tools and we also spoke about my subject: “how do we acknowledge the environmental impact of digital and tech?”
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the impact of digital and technology on the environment. With the Radical Visions work I keep hearing again and again how automation is going to change how we deliver services, but AI, machine learning, robotic process automation, all of these things use powerful computers that need a lot of energy. Increasing use of emerging technologies has a significant environmental impact.
There is work that can and should be done within government that can help to reduce the impact of this, and I think it’s really important.
I even recorded my own video for the #RadicalVisions work — gasp! I’m sharing it here with you now but shhhhhh because it’s just one of many views I’ve been collating and we aren’t supposed to publish yet (putting this here in case it inspires some last minute thoughts from someone).
This article by We are Snook also goes some way to thinking about this.
Five. I’ve been spending lots of my spare time doing this Radical Visions work. It’s been really fun and really fulfilling. Today is the final day for thoughts before we start the synthesis and transcription work.
It’s been cool to be in the middle of submissions coming in from around the world. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the thoughts and they’ve sparked off lots of ideas.
I’ve written up *almost* everything (as they are still coming thick and fast) and put them into a trello board where I can split up the key points and group them by themes.
It needs more work, it needs prioritisation and it needs more eyes, but just like the “What does good look like?” board it’s a start. All of these opinions need to be squashed and shaped into something with a narrative and a vision.
Awesome colleague beckymiller33 showed me some speculative design work she is currently doing which I find really exciting, I’m wondering how what we’ve collected could lead in to some really interesting speculative design work, and I wish I was creative enough to actually do some of that because it would be *so cool*.
As an aside Becky will shortly be leaving our team to take a role in the Policy Lab. I am
1. incredibly jealous as I would give my right arm to work there, and,
2. quite sad, because she is excellent and I’m disappointed I didn’t learn more from her while we’ve been working together.
I wish her loads and loads of good luck.
And what else?
I finally wrote up my squashed cake post about staff networks. I hope it makes you hungry…
I’ve read some really interesting things this week, I really love reading things like this, which I found via Ben the Illustrator.
Independent people doing their best for the wider industry, asking people, using their network, discovering stuff, sharing it and generally just helping. Plus its an interesting insight into how people commission illustration which I’m really into. If I could do any other job it would be at an illustration agency and I would get work on commissioned things and look at beautiful images and work with super creative people all day…
This interesting case study of a “Bossless organisation” which sets a standard I think for how organisations will have to change in the future.
This piece about resilience:
This article reminded me of the Caroline Cirado Perez book, Invisible Women.
And that’s it, here’s my playlist. It’s a non-stop dance party. Have a lovely weekend!