Post-its for Lean Coffee at Westminster One Team Gov breakfast

This is my #OneTeamGov, what’s yours?

Taking inspiration from Prateek and Debbie to tell my story about why One Team Gov is important to me.

I’m getting increasingly excited about the One Team Gov Global unconference, happening in July. I’m also incredibly proud to be part of the team creating the event which will be attended by over 700 civil/public servants and people interested in civic tech and policy from over 40 countries around the world.

So, inspired by Debbie and Prateek I thought I would write about what what I’ve got out of being involved, so far. I hope it inspires you to come along to an event or start your own local events.

I started working in the Civil Service in 2015. It was a culture shock, I had never worked in such a large organisation and it took me some time to find my bearings.

After a while, I got used to the idiosyncrasies of my particular department and started to find flow in my work. Time opened up and I found that I had the ability to look further afield for ways to improve and opportunities to grow.

Totoro seed growing gif

It was around this time that I stumbled across Kit’s blog about One Team Gov and the principles of the movement.

These principles aren’t rocket science, they aren’t necessarily new or novel, but they spoke to me at a time when I needed them. They enabled me to think about and frame my work, and helped me to understand how I can add value and help to build better public services.

These principles also made it easier for me (as a person who sometimes suffers with imposter syndrome) to be “in the room” with a group of people I hadn’t met, because I knew that they broadly thought similarly to me.

At one of my first breakfast meetups I said I was new and slightly nervous. James was chairing and quickly went round the room asking people to put their hands up if it was their first meeting: it was over 50% of the room.

I was immediately at ease. It became clear to me that point 4 of the principles (Be diverse and inclusive) was being lived out in this environment.

I’ve witnessed some great, inclusive facilitation from the likes of DavidBuck and James and I’ve learned a lot about practical things that I can do to be more inclusive.

I’ve also got the opportunity to meet (and work with) people in lots of other departments, a number of which have become good friends.

I’ve found a peer network who I know will be on hand with hugs if I feel a bit crap, and will cheer for me if I want to celebrate. I will do the same for them. Together we lift each other up.

Sometimes breakfast club can be a little like an agony aunt service where people can offload in a safe space. Sometimes we work through a specific issue for someone (e.g. how to go about writing a strategy paper), or we signpost them to others who can help.

Sometimes breakfasts are more like ideation sessions; lots of off the wall ideas coming together and strange metaphors involving crabs. But somehow turning into something which could work, could be real, could happen.

This is a throw back to an obscure metaphor by Jenny which you can find here: https://weeknot.es/weeknotes-s03-ep10-cc7897386bda

One Team Gov inspired me to look beyond my department and make connections which, I believe, make me better at doing my job. If it hadn’t been for the network of people I’ve met I’m not sure I would have gone on my mission to be nosy, as a “digital” person, I might never have applied for Policy School, and it’s unlikely I would have found out how to answer my AI conundrum, let alone write about the experience of doing all of these things.

It’s helped me to be more open and consider how I can share my work through #weeknotes, and the support of the network has given me the confidence to share my mental health story. It’s also helped me to be more aware of when and how I can help other people to achieve, and spurred me to become a mentor.

I’m optimistic for the future and I’m confident that we can achieve even more together. So thank you!

Thank you One Team Gov

That’s #MyOneTeamGov — what’s yours?