I was interviewed by Vicky Sargent again for her Interesting Times podcast. We talk about digital transformation in local governments, focusing on Adur & Worthing Councils and Hackney Council.
Five for Friday took a little break for a month or so while I settled into my new job(s). If I’m honest, I am still not completely settled – it takes time getting used to a little portfolio having concentrated on a single role for several years – but I am getting there.
Enjoy the links.
- Mapping service design and policy design – terrific post by Andrea Siodmok on how service design and policy design meet. Quite a lot of the focus on digital transformation misses out the policy element, and understanding what an organisation’s approach to an issue, and why it has that approach, is vital to defining services that deliver the intended outcome.
- Digital transformation, or digital fossilisation? – good stuff from Andrew Larner talking about the need to use the opportunity of digital transformation to address big strategic issues around the manner in which organisations operate – not just hard baking inefficient and user unfriendly processes using new technology.
- Defining Aggregators – you are probably bored of me banging on about Ben Thompson and how good he is, but this is another great piece, pulling together his recent thinking on digital operating models, diving deep into the concept of the aggregator. Now, the aggregator model might not be a good fit for public services, but it’s a great way to get thinking about this operating model malarky.
- Designing for democracy – Catherine Howe applies the ladder of participation model to designing services in the digital age. Making this activity democratic involves the political, of courses, and also links up with Andrea’s post linked to above, where understanding the political and policy context is vital to achieving desired outcomes. There’s loads and loads in here (like does an iterative approach mean the big picture can get missed?) and it needs a good read and mull.
- YC’s Essential Startup Advice – always take stuff like this with a pinch of salt (one shouldn’t ignore the pervasive Silicon Valley ideology that startups will save the world) but there’s some really good advice in here about launching new services. Much of it focuses on keeping things small and not worrying about scale until you know you have a thing that enough people like to require scale.
You can also sign up to get them delivered to you by email, if that’s your thing.
If you want to get people to use your service, get rid of the friction.
This really hit home with me the other week, at an event I attended as part of my work at the Department of Health, which was about the patient of the future.
It struck me that what will make the real transformative change in healthcare (for example) is when people’s access to services, data and indeed connections is entirely frictionless.
Downloading an app is friction. Signing up for an account is friction. Finding a wifi connection is friction.
This is where I think internet of things stuff comes in. When your coffee cup has an internet connection, when lamposts have an internet connection, when wifi is everywhere, friction disappears.
This isn’t so far away. You can already get a coffee cup that measures the calorific contents of what you are drinking. When everyone, everything and everywhere is networked, everything changes.
The friction is replaced, of course, by a bunch of other issues – mostly ethical ones. Another, technical one, is how we handle and what we do with all this data.
I’d like to propose VirtualGovCamp.
I’ve just been made aware that the lovely folks at LocalGovDigital are themselves working on a local version of a virtual unconference type event. That should be awesome, but I think my idea is sufficiently different to make it worthwhile running both. I will of course be doing everything I can to help LocalGovDigital’s event a success – and hope you do too!
It will be an online event, lasting a month – probably in February. The sessions will not be synchronous, that is, you don’t have to be online at the same time as a bunch of other people to get involved. So I’m not talking webinars.
Each session will have a page on the event website. The page’s content will be built by the person running that session – who’ll be called the facilitator. They can write some text, include some links, record and embed a video, or a slideshow, or Prezi, or whatever.
Each session is open for a certain number of days, which will be displayed on a calendar on the website. Whilst the session is open, the facilitator helps manage a conversation in the comments on that page. It isn’t real-time, so people can drop in and out as they choose and don’t feel under pressure to be online at the right time.
Before the event, I’ll run an ideas competition site to bring in ideas for sessions, which can be voted on to see which ones are most popular and will be included.
Everyone involved will be emailed on a regular basis throughout the month so that they can keep up with what is going on, and where they are part of a discussion in a session, they can sign up for alerts when new comments are added, and so forth.
There’s lots more to think about and get sorted, but that’s the idea. Is it a good one? If you think so, please complete this form and let me know how you’d like to be involved.
I found LocalGovCamp a really refreshing and cheering event this year. I’m going to spend a few quick posts writing up my thoughts.
Mary McKenna brilliantly facilitated an excellent discussion on collaboration – why it is needed, why it hasn’t worked that well up to now, and how that might be fixed.
There was also discussion of the limitations of the traditional approach to partnership working – overly bureaucratic, slow to make decisions, agencies working individually to deliver what should be shared objectives, really boring meetings, and so on.
What’s needed is a more agile, responsive and flexible approach to working in partnership to deliver shared outcomes.
This needs to mean organisations sharing people, resources, systems, data and more – and not just tick-box style partnerships.
What’s also vital to to this working are grown up conversations are needed about who can deliver what with the resources they have. This is no time for pride.
As well as making my own podcast, I also love listening to those created by other people.
Here are some of my favourites – maybe you will like them too!
This is the podcast that inspired me to give it a go myself.
This Week in Google
Leo Laporte’s TWIT network is full of great podcasts, but the Google one is my favourite, mostly due to the co-hosts, Gina Trapani and Jeff Jarvis, who really add insight to the weekly discussions about Google,
the cloud, mobile, social media and more.
The New Disruptors
A great podcast featuring weekly interviews with people doing new, creative things in new, creative ways. Hosted by the ace tech journalist Glenn Fleishman.
Myke Hurley chats every week to someone interesting who does interesting things. What can I say? I just like interview style podcasts.
In Our Time
Something a bit different – Radio 4’s In Our Time is just wonderful. Taking a different, often rather esoteric, topic every week, Melvyn Bragg teases a bunch of academics and experts for 45 edutaining minutes.
It would be great to hear what you make of these podcasts! Also, any crackers out there I ought to know about?
This year I’ve really got into the content-producing swing of things – dunno if you’ve noticed. With this blog settled down and at home on WordPress.com, my newsletter working nicely thanks to Goodbits, the podcast rumbling along nicely on Libsyn and my Pinboard bookmarks providing even more stuff for people to look at if they need it, the tech and workflow is all slotting together very nicely.
It would be fantastic to be able to just focus on this content creation an curation work. It’s what I really love doing. Figuring a way to make it sustainable though is not easy.
Shawn and Ben both have membership schemes. Their core blogging is available for free, but extra bits – including content via email and podcasts – are members only. Members have to pay a certain amount to get access to it all.
This is a great way of doing things, but you need people willing to pay for your content.
Sponsorship is another way of doing things. John Gruber’s Daring Fireball does this, with the blog’s RSS feed being sponsored every week by a tech company wanting to reach his (many) readers. Gruber charges $9,500 per week for this sponsorship. Wowza!
The other option I guess is what I currently do, which is to use the content creation as a way of promoting my consulting work. The downside of this is that a) the blogging etc is a means rather than an end; and b) that I have to leave the house now and again.
Maybe I should just stop being lazy!
Lloyd and I recorded another podcast last week.
Did you know I have an email newsletter? You probably do, and are fed up of me going on about it. Sorry.
It’s called Daveslist, and you can sign up for it at daveslist.io.
The newsletter is basically a list of five or so links I have spotted lately, cobbled together with a little bit of commentary explaining why I think they are interesting.
You might just find it a simple way to keep on top of interesting tech stories without having to dig them out yourself.
I’ve just hit send on the latest issue, which you can read on the web, if you like. Try before you buy! (Although, it’s free).
I put it together using a fantastic tool called Goodbits, which makes curating an email newsletter so easy it’s untrue.