Weeknotes S4 E5 2020

Ho Ho Ho!

I’ve been doing/thinking about…

Hello! Happy Friday!

This is my last day of work for 2020. Out of office on. Something suitably alcoholic is chilling for this evening. A selection of Christmas films are waiting to be watched. Christmas food shop is imminent. Cheese glorious cheese!

As such this is likely to be my last weeknote of 2020. I’m aiming to do a year in review post (no shortage of material there, eh?!) and starting putting some thoughts together about what my intentions might be for the year ahead.

I hopped on a call with the Service Works community of practice for design thinkers. It was lovely to catch up (albeit virtually) with people who I’ve not seen much at all this year. Lots to talk about things that people were trying to push along and plenty of experiences that sounded familiar. It’s always reassuring to know that your struggles are shared.

On a related point, I’ve really missed meet ups in 2020. Of course, lots of things have migrated into the virtual space, but for some reason I really struggled to find the time to attend events and as a result I felt a bit insular. This might be due to feeling a tad overloaded with lots of plate spinning going on both at home and work during different points of the year.

This is reminiscent of a previous year (2017 maybe?) where I thought that focusing more on task rather than going to lots of different meetups/events might be more productive and limit distraction. Wrong! I realised that actually that exposure to new/different thinking and cross pollination of ideas really helps fuel my mojo.

But as I observed this week, 2020 has been a real stress test of trying to do a good job of simultaneous roles of husband, parent, teacher and employee during a global pandemic. So I’m trying not to give myself too hard a time on this. I will instead assume that in the better days ahead, space for things will become available.

This week I have observed that invoicing would be an excellent design challenge. The number of times that paying for something is made orders of magnitude harder because the invoice is supplied without key information, like what the work entailed or which purchase order it’s related to. Added to that, some of the larger suppliers have a habit of accidentally creating duplicates, invoicing the wrong things or chasing for payment for invoices we’ve not yet recieved. This stuff is like kryptonite for me because it’s something that could be reasonably automated and yet it’s needlessly labourious and/or bureaucratic. Arrgh!

Ahem.. on the assumption that it’s difficult (though not impossible) to change the process/behaviour of an external third party, I need to figure out a better system for myself to mitigate this headwork.

Design Thinking Notes

I’m currently doing U101: Design Thinking with the Open University. These are weekly notes and observations from this course.

I had the results back from my first tutor marked assessment. 81/100 — which I feel okay about as I stared at the written bits of the submission for a while and don’t feel I could’ve improved without further feedback.

Speaking of which, the critique from the tutor was brilliantly specific so I’m able to understand where I did a decent job and where I’ve got room to improve. Essentially I needed to elaborate a bit more in detail about why I feel a particular composition is successful or not. But otherwise, documenting the process as I went came relatively naturally to me which I credit to the practice of weeknotes.

I’ve been reading/watching/listening to…

This is a cracking read from Chris Bolton on why knowledge management often defies neat technological solutions.

I watched this hosted session by Phoebe Tickell on ‘generative decision making’. I thought it was a really interesting way of exploring a proposal as a group. Requires some artful faciliation (imo) as Pheobe demonstrates here.

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