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A photo of a forest by Lukasz Szmigiel.

Take a deep breath.

Drop your shoulders and roll them back.

Unclench and relax your jaw.

Wiggle your toes.

How’s your week been?

I’m writing these Weeknotes on a Sunday. I’ve rung my Mum and I’m happy her flowers arrived on time — its the first Mother’s Day we’ve been apart. I haven’t seen my parents for over a month now, and there’s a gnawing, homesick feeling when I think about it.

Today I’ve been doing lots of reading and journalling; chores around the house (I may make it to laundry basket zero at this rate); supported my local cafe who have just come onto Deliveroo; planted my two Marks & Spencer ‘Little Garden’ pots; and sipped coffee by the window. I really wish we had a garden or a little terrace. …

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Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. …

What I’m doing isn’t a job. I’m on a quest, and a quest that is deeply in alignment with my values. A quest in which who I am informs what I do.

Polly Higgins (quoted by Cassie Robinson in her #SDinGov keynote)

Start of the week

Monday was my usual round of catch ups with the teams and planning for the week.

We had two new starters join us in UCPD. Cindy (an APM from the Fast Stream) who I’d met at last years DDAT conference where she said she’d love to work in UCPD. The universe conspired and here she is! We’ve also been joined by David (a developer from GDS). Both are part of our cross-justice delivery team — in UCPD we have three discovery teams and one delivery team. …

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#UKGC20 organisers celebration (minus Vanessa). Photo credit: Janet Hughes https://twitter.com/JanetHughes/status/1225517501225807872

Our merry band of Govcamp organisers reunited on Thursday evening for our #UKGC20 retrospective and celebration (minus Vanessa — her due date is very soon!) Ahead of our get together, I set up our Trello board for a “4Ls” retrospective to reflect on and discuss what we loved, learned, lacked and longed for* — and added suggestions from folks via Twitter.

There’s a lot that goes on “backstage” so I wanted to share some what we discussed and the ideas we have.

THINGS WE LOVED: ❤ ❤ ❤

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Just some of the #UKGC20 organisers and camp makers [photo by Nigel Bishop: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wnbishop/49420688568/in/album-72157712770717572/]

My #UKGC20 experience was all kinds of wonderful. The entire day passed by in a blur and our amazing community energised me through the day. I’m still reflecting and structuring my thoughts to sum up the day – so in the meanwhile I thought I’d tell my Govcamp story. In my usual storytelling style, it will meander off into different directions and include people and life events around Govcamp that have shaped me into the person I am today.

‪I went to my first Govcamp in 2011 (#UKGC11 @ Microsoft) with the excellent Nick Keane.

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Nick & I at our colleague’s wedding (2013)

Nick was my first mentor at work and someone I’m incredibly grateful to have met. I’d come out of university, pretty crushed there was a recruitment freeze on hiring police officers and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. He’d always put me forward for different opportunities, saying he saw a spark in me. We worked on the early days of digital and social media in policing together — it was amazing. Nick would often say that my vulnerability and openness was a gift. It took me many years to understand that.‬ …

“She was conscious that the things she did were the things she had always wanted to do”— Zelda Fitzgerald

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Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/-d6kTMGXV6E

It’s good to be back.

The start of a new year always brings a giddy excitement, and I’ve felt that ten-fold this week with the start of the new decade.

My new Nuuna journal has that beautiful ‘new book’ scent. The crisp white pages are being starting to be filled with my Art Deco doodles and dreams. …

“All of my creation is an effort to weave a web of connection with the world: I am always weaving it because it was once broken.” — Anais Nin

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https://unsplash.com/photos/OgDrj7Q8EAw

Hiiiiie! We’re half way through the year. Who have you been longing to connect to or catch up with?

Usually my weeknotes follow the “[x] things that happened” structure, as described in Sam Villis brilliant weeknotes structure blog post. This time I’m going to try out part of the “stretching questions” format to see if it changes the way I write and what stories from my week it brings out. …

‘We have calcium in our bones, iron in our veins, carbon in our souls, and nitrogen in our brains. 93 percent stardust, with souls made of flames, we are all just stars with people names’ — Nikita Gill.

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https://unsplash.com/photos/E0AHdsENmDg

Hiiiiiie, how’s it going? What are you most excited about at the moment?

So I’ve been working in MOJ Digital (as part of our User Centred Policy Design [UCPD] team) for a few weeks now and I really feel like I’m home. I can’t even put my finger on what it is — but I think its a combination of working with teams that truly have an open mindset and bring that to every situation; being able to access the right tools and technology that make real-time collaboration easy; and being part of a culture where feedback, challenge and early ideas are positively encouraged. It’s even the super simple things that I took for granted (before I stepped back into an analysis/policy world) like being able to have whiteboards everywhere to sketch things out, to gather round those visuals and ideas easily, and to build on them as more of the picture develops. …

‘Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.’ — Goethe

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https://unsplash.com/photos/jbtfM0XBeRc

Hiiiiiie, how’s it going?

After many weeks away, my return to weeknotes is an exciting one – this week I joined MOJ Digital as the Head of User Centred Policy Design.

UCPD was set up in MOJ Digital in 2016 and led by Jack Collier. It was inspired by the Policy Lab in the Cabinet Office, and MOJ was the first Department to create their own in-house team. Now we’re now one of a number of central Government departments that have an in-house “lab” (including DWP, HMRC, DFT & DFE – if I’ve missed yours, please yelp!) which provides us with a brilliant opportunity to continuously learn from how others are implementing and iterating their approaches and models. …

‘Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.’ — Anaïs Nin.

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https://unsplash.com/photos/L1e2kd0FR0s

Hiiiiiie, how’s it going?

It’s been a good couple of weeks. Previously there were some things about work that I was getting worried about, as well as some personal matters to juggle which has seen me going into myself, but now I’m feeling pretty zen.

I kept feeling I wasn’t being fully authentic in my weeknotes because I was writing and deleting my most vulnerable feelings of being lost and confused, and figured more time would give clarity. I kept taking work matters too personally, thinking I was failing, but my week working in Argentina gave me the space to see things more clearly. I’ve accepted that I don’t think I’m in the right place (or perhaps it is the right place but without the right conditions?) to best utilise my strengths and ideas, and that’s okay. …

About

Amanda

Design, leadership, open culture, data, ethics, justice. These are my personal thoughts on work.

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