3 good things this weekend 

Yesterday I received a FaceTime call from M. We mostly discussed Beeny Boos and I had to decide which of her ‘raries’ is my favourite. (The turtle for anyone who’s interested). She had me in stitches. 

I discovered Stranger Things on Netflix and have managed to get through the entire first series. 

Berwick is a little better, or at least he is not falling over. He has regained his balance. His head is still lopsided but he seems ok otherwise. He is quite deaf so the fireworks in the run up to the weekend didn’t bother him. He is refusing to go out at the moment though.

Weeknote S1 E11 – with double unconferencing

Where I went & who I spent time with:
On Saturday 30th I volunteered at UK Healthcamp (UKHC17). It was really interesting to be at a health event as all of the unconferences that I have attended before have had a government focus. I met lots of people who I know such as Mary, Glyn and David and some new people for example Leeann. I enjoyed the day and found it really interesting. I was working on the session grid with Harry – achievement unlocked.

My fellow campmakers –
photo thanks to Giuseppe Sollazzo

From next week I will be working with hippodigital, I spent the day in the office on Friday. I am really excited about starting properly next week and it was nice to see a few familiar faces in the office as well.
On Friday evening I went to town for Light Night. I loved Out of the Aire which was a projection on the Civic Hall and Spark! (shown here in Blackpool).

What I did differently & what I learned:
There was enough familiarity at UKHC17 to make me feel comfortable and enough difference to make it interesting. I loved seeing unconferencing through Leeann’s fresh eyes.

Some of what I watched, listened to, read, and/or shared
Paul shared Labplanning 11 I really like the way that the lab works out loud.
Paul wrote The Offer
Giles wrote Permission
John wrote Why isn’t agile working?
The RSA published Transforming together: Leading for People and Place

What is next?
Next week I have a day of prep and then a funeral, then I am with Hippo from Wednesday. On Saturday I am a campmaker at GovCamp Cymru. I have never managed to get there before so I am really looking forward to that and hope to get to speak to Neil while I am there and of course the Satori Lab crew.

Weeknote S1 E10 – with actual socialising

Where I went & who I spent time with:
I spent most of this week working in London for the second part of the September Service Owner Programme. They were another great group with some fantastic conversations all week. On Monday evening I had a FaceTime call with my granddaughter as it was her 9th birthday. She showed me her presents and I gave her a video tour of my hotel room. I made it to another #OneTeamGov brekkie on Wednesday morning and went out for a lovely pizza with Bev and Al on Wednesday evening.

What I did differently & what I learned:
I learned that I still struggle to hear when I am on a conference call. It has been such a long time since I have been on a voice only call that I had forgotten. For the love of Mike can we get to a situation where everyone can use video, or give me a backchannel so that I can ask for clarification.

Some of what I watched, listened to, read, and/or shared
Some of these are from last week

Neil wrote The Anti-Problem: Digital Transformation

Helen shared Tools of a System Thinker

Woody shared Values to guide us

Carl wrote The transition from old to new

Jake shared Running design sprints in Japan which as he said is interesting even if you are not running design sprints in Japan.

Amy shared her team’s experience at a Service Assesment

Phil wrote about Memory foam…and culture

What is next?
I am a volunteer at UKHealthCamp on Saturday and I look forward to telling you all about that next week.

Weeknote S1 E9 – with a reminder about getting on with it

What I learned:
On the 8th September my Grandma died. The 8th September would have been her eldest daughter’s birthday. That daughter, my aunt, died in December of pancreatic cancer having tried valiantly to survive her mother. I am again reminded that life is short. Thanks also to @paul_Clarke for tweeting his Shift talk a short while ago. “Nothing is permanent, so nothing has to be cast the same”.

We will celebrate her long and full life at the beginning of October. She had expressed her wishes to one of her daughters, lightening the lead on them and had already distributed most of the items she wanted to bequeath when she moved into a care home three years ago. I shall wear her/my charm bracelet on the day and a set of (fake) pears to remember all of the Sundays when she put her’s on to hold court over Skype with family near and far.

What next?
Indeed…what next?

Look after each other.

Anniversary missed

Monday 4th September was the 6th anniversary of the day I went into hospital. Each year since I have marked the occasion with a message thanking my other half for his support at the time and since. This year I only realised that it had passed because one of those ‘Your memories on Facebook’ posts appeared from 11th September 2014 (clearly showing that I should not have been left in charge of a mobile phone at the time). I think that it is a good thing that I didn’t remember it. Here are some sobering statistics of 5 year survival rates of ischemic stroke. Take care of each other.

Weeknote S1 E7- with not a lot added

Where I went & who I spent time with:
Another week working mostly from home on the *thing*. I got a haircut on Tuesday and went to see my accountant mid week which is always nice. Apart from that I mostly spent time with the dog who is turning into a geriatric so a bit deaf and constantly needing to go outside.

What I did differently & what I learned:
I learned some new ways to use my book keeping software. whoop. I learned that the best time to start planning for retirement is 20 years ago.

Some of what I watched, listened to, read, and/or shared
Rico shared How the ‘Theory of Constraints’ Applies to Government
John wrote Quit Planning Ahead and Keeping People Busy
John also wrote All Companies Have Problems (Some Are Healthy, Some Are Lucky) and Paul shared it
Paul wrote We Need To Promote Outcomes At Work Not Presenteeism
Ben who has recently joined Futuregov wrote about that.
Kate wrote about an event which I was involved with. It was great to see the two teams working closely together and to hear that the feedback was that they got a lot out of it.
– I am reading Content Design by Sarah Richards at the moment (photo below).

What next?
Next week I am back in London and looking forward to meeting a new group of service owners. I have booked to go to a talk as part of London Podcast Festival and I hope to make it to OneTeamGov brekkie again.

Content Design by Sarah Richards

Weeknote S1 E6 – With added dancin’

Where I went & who I spent time with:
I spent another few days working in London this week for the second week of the August Service Owner Programme. They were a really nice group of people from a range of areas of Government and I really enjoyed spending three days in their company. I made it to another #OneTeamGov brekkie on Wednesday morning which featured the women visiting from the New Zealand Government. It was a fascinating conversation, this time about Rachel’s work with the Service Innovation Lab of which I am insanely jealous. If you are able to get to Teacamp on Thursday 7th in London they will be speaking again. I saw Rachel again on Wednesday evening at Women in Tech Speak Up (#WITspeakup) which is the brainchild of Charlotte. I will save the rest of my reflections for another post but what an amazing group of people Charlotte brought together on Wednesday night. The photo at the bottom of the post is a group of us in the roof terrace. If you are on Twitter you will be able to find Paul Clarke’s photos of the dancing. I had a moment before I left for the event, you know the kind of thing…”oooh I was not on Charlotte’s original list of women speakers”… “there will be lots of [insert intimidating adjective here] women at this event”…”I don’t think I will go after all” so I gave myself a bit of a talking to, told myself to woman up, got over there and I am so pleased I did.

What I did differently & what I learned:
I have been turning down the pressure to be constantly on (due to the aforementioned lack of iron and thus energy). I am continuing to learn that it is hard to set boundaries and keep them when people have an expectation based on previous experience. A lot of the expectation comes from myself though and like any habit it takes effort to change.
I am talking to some people about things that I can help them with and I am learning that I need another thing to get my teeth into. Preferably a physical thing.
Thanks to Jane I *learned how to do irish reels at #WITspeakup. *I may not be able to do it again.

Some of what I watched, listened to, read, and/or shared
John shared this “HOW TO BRING TEAMS TOGETHER DURING CRISIS” which I thought had some excellent points.
Helen Bevan shared Lynne Cazilly’s “Leader as Coach: T-o-o s-l-o-w” post. “The leader as facilitator is a different way of behaving and leading. It requires a lift in your thinking and capability.”
– I liked this from John Cutler “Limit, Visualize, and Improve“”(Almost daily) I urge teams to take responsibility for their working agreements, “process”, continuous improvement, and principles. No this is NOT code or a design. But it is the best way, in my opinion, to advocate for craft, sustainability, and not cutting corners. I am often asked to just “set it up”. But I explain that you have to internalize and live these principles. You can’t outsource it.”
– Most weeks I meet someone who would like to better understand APIs (Application Protocol Interfaces). Here is a talk by Andrew Seward “How to Talk about APIs”.
– This is an interesting post on Psychological Safety. I liked the questions at the top and also the example.
Another great post about WIP and flow over resource utilisation.
– Another Christina Wodke post “How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Design Thinking” “Design makes ideas tangible so that they can be understood and evaluated before committing them to reality.”

Here is the promised #WITspeakup photo.

Weeknote S1 E5 – With added spinach

Where I went & who I spent time with:
I spent most of the week working from home with a couple of visits to the GDS Academy in Leeds. I spent time with all of the Academy crew but this week, instead of giving everyone a name check I am going to limit myself to the top 3 conversations. I had a couple of really great conversations with Lara, an interesting chat with Al (as always) with whom I share lots of opinions, and a useful catch up with Rob. I had the opportunity on Tuesday to listen to the Academy interns run through the high level of their showcase which was very impressive. It was great to see what they had learned from their experience over the 8 weeks of their internship and their enthusiasm.

What I did differently & what I learned:
This week I have been working on a *thing*. It is a different approach to the existing process and it has been challenging. There are many different needs which need to be considered and I also have a personal preference and way of working which has been developed through my (many) years of working with groups and it is extremely difficult to codify some of that into this particular product. I am also finding it difficult to work in (relative) isolation on this. I am hoping to be able to work more closely with other interested parties from next week.
I learned that I have extremely low iron levels and so if you see me and I am not eating spinach or steak you know what to do.

Some of what I watched, listened to, read, and/or shared
Doug Belshaw shared this “Why you’re more qualified to be a consultant than you think” which I thought was an interesting read.
“Now, what if I told you that you don’t have to do those things? The fact of the matter is, consulting is not just for gurus and tenured professors. It really can be for you, provided you are willing to work tirelessly, learn quickly, and can adjust on the fly.”
– I shared this from BBC News “Why didn’t Electricity immediately change Manufacturing?”.
There are lots of parallels with the Internet/the web/ways of working and everything else I talk about on a daily basis.
– An Internet rabbit hole led me to this which I really liked. This is not limited to teachers. “Teachers Need a Roadmap, Not an Instruction Manual”
– Another excellent post from Paul Taylor“Never believe anyone who says they are busy”
– I found this really interesting from Pretty Agile about Re-squadification
– I shared the link to the lottery for UK GovCamp 2018 tickets.

Spinach for Sharon

Weeknote S1 E4 – With added Blue Whale

Where I went & who I spent time with:
This week I was back in London for the first three days of the Service Owner Programme. It was a small group of seven people representing five different areas of Government. Three people work in the same building but have never met before. It is a very varied group as far as experience is concerned, hopefully next week will be even more useful to them. One of my favourite quotes from last week was “we should be giving the responsibility to someone who is troubled by the problem” and from the same person “you’ve changed my mind completely about this way of working”. Lovely to see @antimega, @danielmac07 in Fulham, @psd @jwaterworth @Lizziew68 @twitrnick @AliceNoakes @RobLeQuesne @BevvySmith @webdoodoo @nunheadneil at GDS on Thursday, @kitterati @GlynRJones @Beatriceemilya & @sheilabennett at #OneTeamGov brekkie on Wednesday, and a bonus tube sighting of @bkamall.

What I did differently & what I learned:
I didn’t do much differently this week (Must try harder) but I am learning how to make the most of the visit to GDS’s new building, where the meeting rooms are and how to use the building for breaks etc.

Some of what I listened to, read, and shared
This post from Sam was a good one about the OneTeamGov breakfast.
More and more of what I am reading is related to complexity theory and I liked this post and the whole site of infographics.
Lots of people liked and retweeted this OneTeamGov post by Emma Charles – Why we need Introverts when I shared it on Twitter.
I enjoyed reading Infrastructure: it’s different (except when it isn’t) by Ellie.
Finally this is my favourite photo (so far) by Rico.

One more thing
So far, I have posted these weeknotes on a Friday but I was busy during the day on Friday and then we took delivery of a grandchild for the weekend and so I will include our exploits here. This weekend was the fourth annual trip to the Natural History Museum in London. We left home just before 8am to get the bus to town and then the train back down to Kings Cross just 44 hours after I left it. New for this year was M having the ability to video call her two year old brother from the train. When we got to the museum at about 12:30 we went straight into Hintze Hall to see Dippy’s replacement which is amazing (Go if you haven’t already seen it). Three and a half hours meeting (stuffed and bony) friends old and new and then we headed for Kings Cross and the traditional *gourmet meal before getting the train back. We had a lovely time but as usual were exhausted by the end of the day. Watch the Horizon programme about Dippy and the Whale on iPlayer until the beginning of September.

*Gourmet chosen by an 8 year old.

Blue Whale at the Natural History Museum