Weekly Braindump #49
The Promised Land & The End
Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week? Here’s what I’ve been doing, reading and watching for the last 7 days.
I’ve been doing…
This week I’ve been delving through repairs & maintenance systems with my colleagues. We recieved a crash course in setting up workflows so that we could provide a bit of support to a member of the repairs team who is looking for someone to bounce problems and ideas off.
It’s a tricky proposition because as technological generalists we rarely get the same level of immersion & mastery in specific systems as our colleagues who use them everyday. But we can often provide help in the form of a fresh pair of eyes and a methodical brain. I think non-techie people often assume there’s a secret sauce for grasping ‘new stuff’.. and it’s often just being curious and asking the stupid questions that nobody else does.
Had an interesting chat about how as a small organisation we can resource additional things that need doing without having to appoint more people to be responsible for them. My initial answer.. automate & simplify! Liberate people from bureaucracy and they’ve got half a chance at doing other stuff that adds more human value elsewhere. Considerably easier said than done.. I know. I am reminded of a James Callaghan quote that used to adorn one of my old offices.. “You can never reach the promised land. You can march towards it.”
I sat in on a meeting with a project group that was assembled to understand what people think of our digital services and how they use technology. The group was mostly comprised of tenants with some staff dipping in and out to provide help where needed. They contacted a cross section of tenants to gather data. (I’m not sure the results are publically accessible as yet, but I’ll try and share them in future as it makes for interesting reading.)
The project group uncovered some really interesting and useful feedback. There’s still a prevailing opinion that the majority of people would prefer to pick up the phone because they feel it’s easier and more trustworthy (and also they really like our staff which is nice!). I think this highlights how frictionless and transparent (and therefore trusted!) digital services need to be to become a preferable alternative to picking up the phone.
I was getting a bit sullen about arranging more Lunchtime Learning sessions. I fired a load of dates out to people and despite some initial activity not much seemed to happened. Just as I was about to consign the whole thing to the bin someone got it touch with a really interesting discussion topic. Hopefully this will get the ball rolling again. Will likely run this up to Christmas (every two weeks) and then review outcomes to decide to keep going or ditch.
I spent much of this week trying to wrap up loose ends. I’ve got some much needed leave booked next week to generally forget all about work and decompress for a bit.
I’ve also been thinking about wrapping up the braindumps. A few weeks ago I decided that I’d push on to 52 (a years worth) just because it seemed like a good place to stop. I’m not sure what I’ll do after the grand finale. But I feel like I need to get a bit of distance from it before I can properly evaluate it. I’m a bit suprised that I got this far to be honest. Just goes to show what can be achieved by just putting one foot in the front of the other.
More generally speaking I feel like my current slate of life commitments have me stretched paper thin. To a certain degree that’s by design because I have an inner desire to push on. But lately I’ve been feeling like I need to reconfigure where my time is being spent. In some areas it feels like the law of diminishing returns. Could I actually get more done by doing less? (probably!) I have it in my mind that post braindump I’m going to ease off on a few fronts and just allow for some breathing space, just to see what it feels like and where it might take me.
I’ve been reading…
- Managing more experienced people.
- Huggers and hoppers — our approach to hot desking.
- Lab Notes #1
by Lorna Prescott
- Are young people ‘digital natives’?
- It’s safe to say, I don’t know.
- How is peer-to-peer accomodation regulated around the world?
- The three qualities of people I most enjoy working with.
- UK state should pay for housing, food, transport and Internet says report.
- Practical transformation: start by making things a bit less rubbish.
- Trust, flexitime and free therapy — tips for a happier, healthier workforce.
- How can we make learning and development fit for purpose for the 21st century public services?
by Dyfrig Williams.
- P.s. It’s all about the public sector.
- You’re allowed to be nosy…
by Sam Villis
- One day sprints.
- How many people are sleeping rough in Wales?
- Reflections on the (first) Digital Flu Clinic.
- Fantasy vs. Reality: design lessons learned on the job.
- From Paper Folders to Digital Streams
- Five questions about psychological safety, answered.
- Making youth homelessness everybody’s business.
- We all chose housing.
- Which side are you on, vendors?
- Community Housing Cymru’s #OneBig17 and the Man From A.N.K.L.E.
- A spoonful of me.
https://medium.com/@katie_attwood/a-spoonful-of-me-369475542317 by Katie Attwood.
- Paying too much council tax? It’s never been easier to check.
- Weeknotes 5
- The 2point0 Principles: Designing a Simpler Bromford.
by Paul Taylor
- What we learned from Get Online Week.
by Neil Lawrence.
I’ve been listening to…
- BBC Enquiry: Can we teach robots ethics?
- TED Radio Hour : Getting Organised.
- Innovation Hub: All About Accountability.
- TED Talks Daily: How to seek truth in the era of fake news.
- BBC 50 things that made the modern economy: Welfare state.