Five for Friday

Am going to try and get a quick link roundup post out every Friday if I can, pointing out some interesting stuff I’ve seen during the week.

  1. Management is not about asking people to do stuff – really interesting article on being a better manager. Something that’s really been brought home to me in the last few years is that being successful in stuff like digital transformation or modernising IT relies on your ability to manage well as much as being some kind of epic visionary.
  2. Enterprise-wide Agility: Doing versus Being – I love the “doing versus being” idea and want to explore it more in a future post here.
  3. Council frontline staff lack digital skills competence – not just frontline staff I’d say and a lack of basic understanding of the role of technology and digital operating models is holding back transformation work in lots of organisations, no matter what the sector. I’m tempted to dust down my digital passport work of yesteryear to see if it could be refreshed to help fill this gap.
  4. Head of Technology Services – I’m moving on from my interim job at Horsham soon, and this is the advert for my permanent replacement. It’s a great job.
  5. Mark Thompson on platforms and government:

These have all been tweeted during the week, and you can find everything I’ve found interesting and bookmarked here.

Skills for digital transformation

gds-skills

The Government Digital Service has released a big list defining the skills needed for transformation.

It’s certainly comprehensive. It’s fair to say that it is more a list of skills that people need rather than the details of what goes into those skills, or how you start to equip a team with them.

However, for anyone putting together a team to tackle digital transformation, it’s a great guide for what people you’ll need on board.

LocalGovCamp 2014 thoughts #5 – tools

I found LocalGovCamp a really refreshing and cheering event this year. I’m going to spend a few quick posts writing up my thoughts.

There’s a kitbag of tools and approaches that can be used to tackle the problems facing us. Not everyone knows about them and this needs fixing.

I’m not necessarily talking about digital tools either – although there are some of those of course.

It’s more than that – it’s some of the emerging practices and processes, and mindset too. They don’t even cost money, most of these things.

Take the example from Carl Haggerty. At Devon they have a meeting room, decked out with fairly random, non-officey furniture, that can’t be booked out. It’s a room for the curious and the collaborative. You can have meetings in there, but be warned that anyone might turn up and join in. Or you could take your laptop in and get on with your day to day work, only sitting next to people who you don’t normally get to meet.

Like organisations acting responsively to their users. Being agile in the way services and products are delivered. Iterating in response to feedback. Co-designing to improve the way things work.

It’s also about a plurality of tools and systems to be used to help fix problems. I know this is a recurring theme of mine at the moment, but one size fits all solutions are dead.

People and organisations have to be flexible enough to be able to deliver different services in different ways to different groups depending on their needs.

This mindset, these tools and practices need to be rolled out to people in ways that will really help them bring about change. I don’t think training courses or online tooklits will cut it, somehow. We need something new.

Developing a digital organisation

I published a post today on the Department of Health’s Digital Health blog about the work I am doing there building digital capability across the organisation

Here’s a quick snippet:

To my mind there needs to be a three pronged approach to developing an organisation to help it become truly digitally enabled. Those prongs are:

  • Strategy – an approach to digital technology and culture that demonstrates a thorough understanding of the opportunities and the risks
  • Leadership – encouragement and permission from the top of the organisation that digital tools are important and that appropriate access and learning opportunities are provided
  • Capability – confidence, comfort and skills throughout the organisation so that staff can make the most of the opportunities and avoid those pesky risks

The department has a digital strategy in place, and a digital leadership coaching programme is currently ongoing. I’ll leave it to others to blog about those. My job is developing our network of digital champions, who are a key part of our means of developing capability throughout DH.

So who are these champions, and what do they actually do – and why are they doing it?

The champions are enthusiasts for working digitally. This doesn’t mean they have to be experts in any particular technology, rather that they embody the digital mindset of curiosity, creativity and cooperation. In other words, they don’t need to know all the answers, but they do need to have an idea of how to find them.

Do me a favour and go and read the whole thing.

WorkSmart’s digital strategy workshop will help you make this sort of thing happen in your organisation.

Where does the talent lie?

talentI was working once for a pretty big organisation, who wanted to start a blog. This was about ten years ago, so for a lot of people blogging was kind of new.

Despite the fact that I was working there, and had been blogging for a while, and actually had a bit of a reputation (admittedly outside the organisation), the decision was made to pay a communications consultant to come in and set the blog up, write the posts and so on.

The money spent on this project could have been saved by getting me to do it. It also might have been done better by me. It certainly would have cheered me up to be doing something I found genuinely exciting and engaging as part of my day job.

How many times does this happen in your organisation? The problem is that nobody knows what anyone knows. People finder tools on the intranet rarely tell you what skills and interests people have. You just know their job title and which team they work in.

There are lots of ways around this problem, but here are two.

First, have a more networky way of finding people in the organisation. Get people talking about their interests and passions, and to list the stuff they are good at. That will surface talents and skills you never knew your people had.

Second, when you need help with something, ask for it. Have a way of communicating across the whole organisation to say (to use my example above) “we want to start a blog, who can help?”.

So often a new project is handed to a manager to run, who then looks for someone in their but of the org chart to deliver it, regardless of whether they have the attributes to do it well or not. Easier, surely, to broadcast a request throughout the organisation to identify the best person for the job?

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Works starts on skills framework for web professionals

Vicky, from Boilerhouse and Socitm, pops by to tell us about the latest developments with the public sector web professionals network.

On 27 November, Socitm will be holding a workshop as the first stage in a project to define a professional skills framework for people who work on public sector websites.

This is part of it wider initiative to set up a web professionals group for this large and diverse group that includes:

  • programmers and coders
  • web developers (with technical skills)
  • web designers
  • content managers/editors
  • social networking experts
  • measurement/monitoring specialists
  • web marketers
  • web managers
  • customer service or IT heads with web responsibilities
  • e-communications professionals

The initiative kicked off earlier this year with a meeting called by Socitm and involving web managers and practitioners from local government across the UK, central government departments, the government supersites, and the third sector. Also present were representatives form some existing and past groups formed by webbies, including the Public Sector Web Professionals Group, SPIN and the Scottish Web Forum.

There was general agreement among those present that meeting web practitioners’ professional development needs would in future need more than informal groups, voluntary effort and free networking tools. It was also recognised that defining a skills framework for web practitioners and organising training, development and possibly accreditation around this framework would be a core activity for any professional group formed.

Following this meeting Socitm commissioned research to identify whether any other professional association or skills organisation was already doing or planning to do something similar. Discussions were held with a range of professional and skills organisations in ICT, interactive media, marketing, communications and publishing. We also talked with the CoI and the Government Communications Network about their plans in this area, and made useful contact with the Federal Web Managers Council in the USA. Contact was made with some web networks in the NHS to share and discuss idea, leading to some positive feedback about the potential for webbies in the health sector to join our activity.

At this point, the Socitm agreed in principle to set up a web professionals’ interest group for people involved in any aspect of web management and development. Individuals at any level of seniority or career stage, employed or freelancing in the public or third sectors, or in any organisation working with them would be open to join. The group would then run under the Socitm constitution, with the group electing a chair and officer and developing a programme of activity supported by Socitm’s paid staff. Members would be eligible for the normal benefits of Socitm membership as well as additional benefits exclusive to ‘web members’.

As well as agreeing to set up a group or community for web professionals, Socitm agreed to fund initial development on a skills framework. This is seen a central to the development of a sustainable future programme of activity that will attract web professionals to join and support the group. The workshop on 27 November marks the start of this activity

We are looking for people with experience of managing web teams in the public sector to get involved in this activity. There are a limited number of places available at the workshop, and a wider opportunity to participate in evaluating and offering feedback on the initial framework developed at the workshop.

If you would like to get involved, please complete the form to tell us a little more about your relevant skills and experience, and whether you are willing and able to attend the workshop on 27 November, which will run in London from 1000 – 1600. If by any chance you are unable to access this, email me at vicky.sargent@socitm.net.

We will be publishing the register of those interested in the community library.

Many thanks are due to Paul Canning for his work in getting this activity going, some of you will have been following his blogs on this topic in the CoP and elsewhere.

Skills 2.0

There are some interesting points in this PDF about the skills required in the age of web 2.0 from Harold Jarche, including:

Attitude: Accepting that we will never know everything, but that others may be able to help, is the first step in becoming a learning professional. This is an acceptance of a world in flux and that knowledge is neither constant nor fixed…

Learning: Learning professionals can no longer rest on their past accomplishments while the field changes and grows. They should be testing Web 2.0 tools so that they can develop optimal processes to support their organizations. If learning professionals are not setting the example of learning online, who is?…

Collaboration: Through sharing and exposing their work on the Web, learning professionals can connect to communities of practice and get informal peer review. There is no way to stay current with the technology, the neuroscience or the pedagogy all by ourselves.