Links of note 13/1/20

As mentioned in this post, I have started to find some time to read a bit more, and to bookmark useful stuff. Here’s what I have found in recent days (if I am honest, less than I would have expected – although maybe the time of year is to blame for that).

The coming storm – Paul Clarke

I’ve seen enough of this now to know the cycle. You all know the cycle. Government business is being done badly. Everyone’s fed up. Influential voices outside the incumbent delivery team grow and grow. Eventually they get a go at it. Rinse. And repeat.

Chrome OS has stalled out – Android Police

Nearly ten years ago, Google shipped an unassuming, totally unbranded laptop to a large group of journalists and tech enthusiasts as part of a 60,000 unit pilot program. That laptop was the CR-48, and it was designed to showcase a project Google had been working on internally for well over a year. It was called Chrome OS.

How to explain to CEOs why fixing the plumbing matters  – Eddie Copeland

Where we’re working to fix the plumbing, we should be doing so specifically to enhance capabilities that improve boroughs’ ability to tackle real-world problems. We can only determine if we’re doing that well by proactively working with colleagues to deliver some real-world outcomes.

Ethical technology? – Catherine Howe

So much of our lives are subject to the unconscious biases and technological evangelism’s of the people who create the virtual worlds and services we spend so much of our time in and our current fascination with ethics is a desire to create a controlling framework around the tools and systems which are now controlling our lives.


You can find everything I have ever bookmarked ever on Pinboard. I also tweet out these bookmarks as I create them.

LINK: “What’s happening with the service standard?”

We first talked about updating the service standard around a year ago. Since then, we’ve talked to hundreds of people in central and local government.

It’s still a work in progress, but we think we’re getting close to a final draft which supports the government’s ambition to deliver joined up, end to end services that meet user needs. So we thought it would be useful to provide some details about the direction it’s going in.

Original: https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2018/09/12/whats-happening-with-the-service-standard/

LINK: “Technology innovation in government survey”

The objective of the survey was to understand current activity across government in what might be termed new or emerging technologies that are related to digital or information technologies. Loosely defined, these are new technologies that do not currently have a critical mass, but which may have the potential to disrupt industries or generate significant savings.

Original: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technology-innovation-in-government-survey/technology-innovation-in-government-survey

LINK: “The wellsprings of UK digital reform part 2 – separating porcine lip enhancement from transformation”

Transformation is a world away from simply polishing the way things are currently done (the “lipstick on pigs” approach – the tired web- and form-based service design ethos of the past few decades, stuck Groundhog Day-like inside the broken silos and reference frames of existing organisational services). Improving our public services relies on the ability to step back and rethink and redesign current public policy by focusing relentlessly and selflessly on improved outcomes, with a profoundly beneficial and positive impact on people and their experience of delivering or receiving public services.

Original: https://ntouk.wordpress.com/2018/06/09/the-wellsprings-of-uk-digital-reform-part-2-separating-porcine-lip-enhancement-from-transformation/

LINK: “Delivery-driven Government”

The movement to modernize government technology has been focused on the delivery of government services using modern technology and best practices. But that is only half the solution; now we must also learn to drive policy and operations around delivery and users, and complete the feedback circuit. Only then can we effectively achieve the goals government policies intend.

Original: https://medium.com/code-for-america/delivery-driven-government-67e698c57c7b?source=userActivityShare-2e5276a56569-1527862195

LINK: “The Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook”

The Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook compiles what we’ve learned from four years of delivering digital services for government clients. Our playbook builds on and extends the Digital Services Playbook by the United States Digital Service. The USDS playbook is a valuable set of principles, questions, and checklists for government to consider when building digital services. If followed, the plays make it more likely a digital services project will succeed.

Original: https://adhocteam.us/2018/05/24/the-ad-hoc-government-digital-services-playbook/

LINK: “The wellsprings of UK digital reform part 1 – the backstory”

While there are some great pockets of work taking place to deliver better public services, the UK government’s overall attempts at technology-enabled, or “e-government” or “digital”, reform appear to be struggling to achieve and sustain the benefits promised at the pace and scale originally foreseen. And not for the first time – this has been a repeating cycle of optimism and disillusionment since the mid-1990s. So why is this?

Original: https://ntouk.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/the-wellsprings-of-uk-digital-reform-part-1-the-backstory/