Weekly Braindump #15

Talking Digital With Tenants, The Importance Of Play In Work and Librarians Go Rogue!.

I’ve been working on…

  • I’ve been working with a colleague and some tenants to cast a critical eye over our existing digital services. As ever — talking to the people who use our services proved to be hugely informative. One gentleman made a stunningly insightful observation. He helps out at a local council hub. He observed that some people would come in and ask volunteers to do three job searches for them, then immediately leave. He said these people were meeting the criteria of the system, but actually not engaging with it at all in practice. I wonder how much of that we can apply to many systems imposed on people?!
  • We’ve been doing more work on David Marquet’s Turn The Ship Around. This week specifically focusing on how leaders are judged after they leave. If the organisation goes down hill, we often see that as a favourable reflection of the skills they took with them. Actually it should be reflection of the lack of skills developed in those around them. We also touched upon whether leaders operate on a very short term basis. Might be the case for the private sector, but actually the public & social sector tend to have quite a long term view. We try to be stable and stick around to support the people who need us (our regulators and auditors tend to like that!). That’s good — but perhaps we need some sort of stimulus to introduce an element of urgency for change. Fixed term contracts are probably too drastic for some — but something that puts an expiry on your current efforts. Built-in obsolescence.
  • I’m developing ideas around our digital transformation efforts. Current thoughts — make an honest assessment of where we currently are using a digital maturity index. Then I want to think about what behaviours a digital organisation would exhibit. What skills would our staff have? How would we work? How do we use data? This is almost the step *before* we try and formalise a strategy. I’m certain we won’t nail this first pass, but we need something tangible so that people can start having discussions around it.

I’ve been thinking about…

  • I spotted that Matt Ballantine had begun work on another book. This one is all about the importance of Play. You can peruse the introductory chapter here. It got me thinking of how I incorporate play into my life. This braindump is an element of that. A zero risk way of trying something new. More broadly, side projects have always been my mechanism for trying out new stuff without risk or interference. In the late 90’s (dial up modems kids!) I was building all sorts of weird and wonderful websites and managing community forums for fun. Little did I know that those skills would be totally transferrable in later life.

I’ve been reading…


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