Workshop recording: matching user needs with technology capabilities

Here’s the recording of the workshop I ran earlier today on using a process and template to help match user needs to technology capabilities. We worked through the example of an intranet and there was lots of interesting discussions as everyone chipped in through the session.

🖥️ View and download the slides

📄 View and download the template

I think this way of running short, focused online sessions works pretty well, and I will definitely be doing more in the future!

FREE online workshop: Matching user needs with tech capabilities

A while ago I shared a post with a template showing how you can take a capability-based approach to picking technology by focusing on user needs.

There has been a fair bit of interest in it since it was published, so I thought it might be useful to run a short online workshop running through how it works with a smallish group of people. As I have at this stage no real idea what I am doing, it will be free for public sector people.

Book your place now!

The workshop will run on Zoom on Wednesday, September 15 at 11am. I anticipate it will last around 45 minutes, but keep an hour free just in case.

At the end of the workshop, you will be able to:

  • Understand the benefits of approaching technology decision making through capabilities
  • Understand the core ideas around user needs and how they should impact technology choices
  • Confidently run your own workshops following the process in your own work
  • Come up with loads of ways to improve the whole thing!

The running order is as follows:

  • Quick intro to the session and what we will cover
  • Everyone says hi (and I’ll probably ask a silly question about your favourite something or other)
  • I’ll run through the idea behind the process and template and what it is meant to achieve
  • We will work through the example of the intranet as used in the blog post
  • We will then work through an example or two that people on the session suggest – hopefully real scenarios they are currently dealing with

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? So what are you waiting for? Book your place now!

Interesting links – 18 Feb 2021

I find interesting things to read, bookmark them, save a chunk of text as a quote, and then occasionally copy and paste it all into a blog post, so you don’t have to.

Digital Inclusion Toolkit: now live

Leeds and Croydon Councils recently won central government funding to create a comprehensive and collaborative how-to guide for digital inclusion.

Link

Delivering and accelerating in a pandemic – DWP Digital

Within DWP Digital our Technology Services team designs, builds and operates that platform, and in the last 10 months has ‘moved mountains’ to keep those services going.

Link

Working Smarter Field Guide

Learning informally and socially means connecting our individual work with our teams, communities, and networks. It requires honing our curiosity and seeking out different perspectives and ideas. It takes more than individual sensemaking to understand complex situations, so we have to find others to challenge our assumptions and learn at the edge of our professional abilities.

Link

The tiny video toolkit

People ask me [Coté] how I do the tiny videos. I hope to do a screencast at some point, but in the meantime, here are some notes.

Link

Announcing our new digital skills training offer – MHCLG Digital

We’re inviting local authority staff to apply for one of 10 certified courses with FutureLearn, covering a range of topics such as accessibility, design, decision-making and leadership. We’re testing the water with a small number of licenses and courses, but if we get enough positive feedback we’ll look to purchase more and make it an ongoing thing.

Link

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: “IT Matters Again: The Enterprise of The Future Present”

But the real answer to the question depends on how IT is defined. If narrow definition is used and IT is taken to mean nothing more than base infrastructure, then Carr’s viewpoint remains correct. If, however, the definition of IT encompasses the entirety of an organization’s technology portfolio and strategy, however, the assertion that IT doesn’t matter could not be less accurate today.

Original: https://redmonk.com/sogrady/2018/06/29/it-matters-again/

LINK: “Ignore the hype over big tech. Its products are mostly useless”

The endless noise emanating from Silicon Valley essentially has two complementary elements. One is all about dreams so unlikely that they beggar belief: the idea that the Tesla CEO Elon Musk will one day set up a colony on Mars; or that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg can successfully marshal an attempt to “cure, prevent and manage” all diseases in a single generation. Whatever its basis in fact, this stuff casts people and corporations as godlike visionaries, and then provides a puffed-up context for the stuff the big tech companies shout about week in, week out: stuff we either don’t need or, worse, which threatens some of the basic aspects of everyday civilisation.

Original: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/21/big-tech-products-silicon-valley

A digital journey

A tweet from Simon Wardley made me chuckle this week:

It stung a bit too – after all, I started out being someone promoting social media in government, and now here I am banging on about IT and transformation.

Of course, a bit of imposter syndrome is probably a good thing now and then – it never pays to be too confident, after all.

However, there is a bit of logic to my transition from hapless social media consultant to hapless digital transformation consultant, I think.

What I preached about social media was about getting on with things, making it easier and more convenient for residents and service users to access information, or make their views known. It was in a bit of a niche, around communications and engagement, but still.

However, as time went on, it became clear that this could only take you so far – you have to turn engagement into something actionable for a difference to be made. At this point I found myself in discussions with web teams and others around making websites more useful in delivering services (it was around this time that GDS started work on the single domain project).

Again, though, time passed and things didn’t move as quickly as I and others might have hoped. This was because, it turns out, that delivering great services online doesn’t just rely on a great website. It needs (at least) two other things: decent technology on the back end, and services fully designed to meet user need.

So it was at this point that, despite having started out in the social media days trying to work around IT, I realised it was necessary to fix IT in order to get even the simple things done properly. So here I am – modernising IT teams and helping organisations transform digitally.

Could I have started out at this point, ten years ago? Probably not. I needed to be hapless at social media so I could be hapless at websites so I could be hapless at IT and transformation.

Now I just need to work on being less hapless.