Daily note for 17 December 2023

Lovely bit of LocalGov blogging: Nature’s Genius: Service Innovation through Biomimicry.

This is a great story, about the wonder that was Yahoo Pipes, beautifully told… and now I am really interested in Retool, so I guess it did its job (tech marketers, take note)!

Working as a community to iterate the task list pattern:

We kicked off with an open call to join an online workshop, and had over 120 participants attend from dozens of government organisations. This helped us to understand the diversity of ways in which the task list pattern was being used, from application forms to case management systems, as well as collecting research findings, and user needs that the pattern was helping with.

From the workshops a smaller group, comprising designers and researchers from across different government departments, was formed to work on iterating the actual design.

Collaborating in this way wasn’t always fast – the work had to be fitted in around everyone’s main roles – but a dedicated Slack channel and semi-regular calls helped to maintain momentum.

Also this:

Daily note for 14 December 2023

Not been looking forward to today really. I have to go to see a foot specialist about an ulcerated wound on the balls of my right foot. It’ll be good to start getting it sorted, but it involves going somewhere I have never been before, not sure about parking etc, and the whole thing fills me a bit with worry.

I had no idea that Sarah Lay was back working in local gov, but am delighted she is.

A reflective, open and personal post from Carl. People – including ourselves – are not perfect, and that’s just the way it should be.

The challenge now for design in policy – I like a lot of the stuff in this post, which includes lessons that work for many relatively new disciplines, not just design.

Daily note for 13 December 2023

Lloyd mentions how he likes writing the date at the top of his daily posts, as it reminds him of school. It does me too, on these posts, but also on the daily notes that I write more religiously using my Kindle Scribe. I am writing a log of pretty much everything that is happening, or that I see, or think, that feels particularly meaningful. It’s a marvellous aid to my memory, particularly as I discover more about how I struggle retaining information a lot of the time.

Indieblocks could be an easy-ish way of doing my preferred way of blogging through chunks and links in WordPress, maybe.

Am rather liking the challenging nature of some of dxw’s blogging these days: Service delivery is broken – it’s time to join it up.

Why Neil Williams writes weeknotes.

CAPE is quite interesting, collecting data and plans from councils on climate stuff.

Jeremy weeknoted. It really is just like old times.

GOV.UK Cookie banner and why it “won’t go away”

The struggles of the web browser.

Daily note for 1 December 2023

Really impressive what Sarah and her team at Swindon are achieving. Just goes to show what can happen when people are given just a little scope for experimentation.

Been tempted by a Remarkable e-ink notepad for ages, but always felt I couldn’t justify it. So instead treated myself to the Kindle Scribe, which on Black Friday was half the price of the Remarkable. It’s pretty good! It’s great having a single, relatively small and lightweight, thing that I can have with me most of the time for scribbling things down to get them out of my head. I’m also using it to note down stuff that happens during the day, I often find that by 6pm I can’t remember a thing about the previous 10 hours!

Am switching to deck.blue for engaging with Bluesky for a bit. It’s got columns, like Tweetdeck had when that was a thing. Now Bluesky is getting busier, it does make it easier not to miss things.

Daily note for 27 November 2023

Miserable day here, weather wise. Very cold and very wet. Sort of weather than makes me want to hibernate!

I newslettered for the first time in a while. Lots of lovely people replied to say it doesn’t matter if I don’t get round to it as often as I feel I ought to. Love you all.

Neil’s weeknotes really are a joy to behold.

Been using Zoom a bit more recently for online meetings. There’s something about hte simplicity of it that I really enjoy. Also the idea – not limited to Zoom, of course – that it is a simple, cheap technology that you can use for whatever you want. It’d be easy to start a business with a website, an email address and a Zoom account.

Digital and Data – Continuous improvement assessment framework (via Ben Cheetham) – worth bearing in mind as I work with others on the Local Government Digital Quality Model.

Get involved with the launch of early access to GOV.UK Forms.

Why’s it so difficult for councils to adopt the same technologies?

Daily note for 22 November 2023

Raindrop is very good for social bookmarking it turns out. Mine are here.

As well as Neilly Neil’s welcome return to blogging, Lloyd is also publishing stuff on a more regular basis. This can only be a good thing. Tuesday’s was a good one, I thought.

Some awesome advice here on how to write a blog post.

Anne McCrossan is great at lots of things and one of those things is data. Found this post from her about data as a utility really interesting.

OpenAI’s Misalignment and Microsoft’s Gain – Ben Thompson’s take on the ongoing OpenAI kerfuffle. All this stuff just makes me nervous about the whole AI thing. Potentially game-changing, yes, but currently stewarded by bozos.

Daily note for 16 November 2023

Ouch, nearly a week since my last note on here.

I’ve been having a quiet week this week and it has done me a lot of good. Slowed down the pace a bit, spent a (little) bit more time outside, made some space to work on some things that are starting to come to fruition.

The main example of that is the Local Government Digital Quality Framework, which is my attempt at coming up with a scalable framework for councils to be able to figure out where they are at with digital design, data and technology. Most importantly, it also helps them decide where they want to get to, and how.

I’ll write a dedicated post about it though, as there’s a fair bit to say.

Was feeling sad about the dying art of social bookmarking reading this by Howard Harold Jarche. In the comments someone recommended Raindrop.io which looks neat and I am going to have a play.

Am finding my Google-powered emails are struggling to get through some organisations’ spam filters all of a sudden. Shane and Steph recommended taking a look at DKIM records and things like that, so I did.

The different ‘flavours’ of service design – by Emma Parnell (subscribed!).

The Future of the Blogosphere – “Yet, despite its very different political-economic DNA, the blogosphere has become enshittified as clearly as Facebook, Google, or Amazon. Not just at the level of aging software, but at the level of the aging people who inhabit it, maintain it, and continue to churn out content on it, though at a rapidly decelerating rate.” Ouch.

Trustworthy AI in Government + Public Services — A self assessment tool from Oxford Insights.

Daily note for 10 November 2023

Excellent technology advice. There are lots of other product categories that this could apply to, I’m sure.

This is great, from Audree at Public Digital: Changing how we change in the public sector. Business cases, big programmes and all that stuff can really hamper good work.

This is another great post from the digital team at Stockport Council: Updating our website: new brand, better performance, and a lot of TLC.

Very useful update on the really important work happening in digital social care from Alice Ainsworth.

This Transformation Programme Director role at Tandridge looks like a really good opportunity for the right person.

Daily note for 6 November 2023

Happy new week!

Am hoping it is going to be a happier week for me, and that I can put the stresses of the last 7 days or so behind me a bit. Saw the GP on Friday about it all, he upped my Sertraline dose. Obviously that’s a sticking plaster rather than a fix, but hopefully it will give me a bit of space to make improvements elsewhere.

Lots of people have been in touch to check in with me. I am hugely grateful.

dxw’s Dave Mann on what needs to happen to improve digital delivery in government.

Lauren Pope’s sharing is just amazing. Take this latest belter as an example: Prioritisation for content teams: a guide.

Fab to see the Adur & Worthing digital bods blasting out more awesome work: Using Low-Code to build No-Code: Customer Enquiry Forms.

Understanding & tackling government’s true legacy.

Daily note for 3 November 2023

I published a newsletter on Wednesday, talked a bit about blogging. Hadn’t done one for a whole and picked a fairly safe topic just to get back into the swing of things.

Today’s innovation igloo was a right laugh, as usual. Next time, Nick, me and the gang are meeting on Friday 17th November at 1pm and will be discussing the steps needed for an organisation to become truly data driven. If that sounds like your idea of quality thought-nosebag, sign up!

Have had a difficult week this week. I think I’m suffering a bit with stress, with a lot of work on and things happening at home. That seems to be affecting my blood sugar, which seems very high all the time, no matter what I eat or how much insulin I take. Tuesday I felt absolutely done in and spend the day asleep in bed.

Eddie Copeland wrote a nice post: Maintain, Fix, Equip, Create or Involve. What scale of solution do YOU need? I like stuff about levels of change and it’s helpful for people to remember that change – digital or otherwise – isn’t monolithic. It can mean different things depending on context and the outcome that is desirable and realistic. I wrote my own (sort of) version of this a while ago.

How video and images can help people complete forms – useful from Aderonke Olutunmogun at Citizens Advice Bureau (also, gah! Medium).

Nice new site from Emily Webber pulling bits and pieces together around communities of practice.