Daily note for 26 January 2024

Remember my course! It might be really helpful for you or a colleague!

Excellent podcast about what Iran is up to these days.

Giles thinks learning materials in organisations ought to be better quality, and of course he is right.

Simon Wardley shares some thoughts on project delivery that are well worth reading.

The Future Councils Playbook is a “set of tools to help you understand complex problems and their impact”. These are useful of course, and as much good practice support we can get out there the better. But a step change in local government digital quality is unlikely to result from such things – we need more.

More Simon Wardley – this is a fun new intro to his mapping, etc:

Yesterday I made use of Colin Stenning’s excellent local gov CMS research to help write an options appraisal for a council’s new website technology. What a legend!

Interesting links 18 March 2022

Things I’ve seen that are worth sharing.

The Policymaking / DDAT Divide – Jerry Fishenden

Despite politicians’ grand ambitions for DDaT since at least 1996, it’s had relatively little impact on radical government renewal and reform. Yet the political ambition has remained fairly constant during these 26 years: to ensure users are the focus, not providers; to design services more closely around people’s needs and lives; and to deliver more effective, and higher quality public services.

Think Links icebreakers a Miro board template that you can use – Emily Webber

These two quick lateral thinking icebreaker games will help participants flex their creative thinking muscles before jumping into your workshops. I love that they help get people checked into the session and open up new ways of thinking, particularly good if you want creativity in your workshop.

How we’re building our data platform as a product – Osian Llwyd Jones

While companies large and small have made considerable gains in building a scalable and sustainable architecture, we’re left with the uncomfortable questions: is what we’re doing truly providing value? Do we really know who our users are and understand their needs? If so, can they generate insights in a fast and reliable way? As long as users don’t complain and pipelines don’t fail, does that mean all is well? For all our investment in data, are we seeing the return?

The Birmingham Digital Approach – Peter `Bishop

As we enter this new phase, I am keen that we now move away from being seen as just an IT provider to the rest of the council to one where we can start to work more collaboratively in partnership with our service leads so that we prioritise, manage our demand, design and shape and build great digital services together; a place where we cultivate and nurture an environment of working in the open; grow our digital talent and become centres of excellence of good practice across our various digital and technology disciplines.

Sharing our new user research templates and guides – Helen Calderon

Today we’re sharing the first of our new user research templates and guides. We designed these for teams working within the council, and they can easily be adapted for teams working in other councils. You’ll find these on GitHub. Download them, make them your own, and let us know if we can make them even better.

Look and feel

If you visit this site in a browser, rather than just getting the content via your RSS reader, you’ll notice it looks a bit different. I have reverted the site to the new default theme for WordPress whilst I figure out how I want the site to look in the future.

Previously I was using the Thesis theme for this site. However, various issues, neatly encapsulated in this post, mean I don’t feel terribly comfortable with that choice any more.

Hopefully I will have something permanent sorted out soon enough.

Update: this is another good summary of the situation.