A week of facing in to some personal challenges, and the frustration of having impact limited by unchangeable systems (of several kinds).

Connection conversations

I’ve ended up unintentionally slowing down on the connection conversations – I don’t think I’d realised quite how much time to recharge I’d need around day to day work and life.

It was great to have the in-person Product day at work this week though. This allowed plenty of both connection and conversation with colleagues I knew and those I hadn’t yet had a chance to work with. Lots of inspiration and support for the work we’re all trying to do.

3 things this week

International Women’s Day

I fear that International Women’s Day has almost entirely been co-opted by brands with a tokenistic vibe without any intention or commitment to recognising how they could contribute to making things better. Still, it doesn’t make me want to stop celebrating, supporting, and uplifting the womxn around me.

One of my reasons for wanting to join the team at Birmingham was the leadership team around UCD and Product – Annie Heath, Kat Sexton, and Cheryl Doran. It’s been brilliant (and a relief) to find it’s all I hoped for and the team beyond those I could see from the outside is truly diverse, with a genuine culture of respect, kindness, pragmatism, innovation, and tenacity.

We worked on values yesterday and I feel I’m in a team where my personal values are reflected and there is safety for me to grow, take on challenges and be challenged. I’m grateful to be part of a team with many amazing women and allies, where I feel really hopeful we can land great and impactful work while also taking care of each other well.

LocalGov Digital (Service)

There’s been a few blogs recently about a Local Government Digital Service (which I haven’t helpfully linked to here – sorry) and this week also saw the first LocalGov Digital Live! event (join next months – it was great!). These two things have come together in my head, reminding me of some of the original conversations and vision we had for LocalGov Digital as a network.

Night sky relfcted on ocean with sailboat silhouetted

Formed as the Government Digital Service (GDS) was getting going LocalGov Digital was in some ways a reaction to that, and a self-organisaed Local Government Digital Service. In lieu of anything formal it was a way to begin sharing across the sector and worked on the principle of ‘all ships rise with the tide’. Somewhat idealistic maybe but something was better than nothing.

I still believe LocalGov Digital could be (should be) the first port (very nautical today!) for any centralised service. With funding (hello Local Digital, LGA etc) secondments could be in place for the talent already in the sector to deliver for all, not just the council they are currently directly employed by.

It could (should) work small and fast, and a condition of the funding may be around councils implementing what is delivered – which could be patterns, a set of standardised content, a digital tool, or something else entirely – and not just going back to what they know and ignoring things which could be of real benefit and impact to users (and their budgets).

Whatever a Local Government Digital Service could or would look like I really hope that it starts with looking at what is already happening, who is already doing stuff, and doesn’t replicate the traditional approach of the sector by spending time ‘innovating’ only to replicate (usually in a slightly less brilliant way) stuff that is already out there.

Trying to move fast in an organisation which goes slow

Ah, hello frustration at not being able to deliver benefits due to being locked in to long-term inflexible system contracts, my old friend.

Part of the LocalGov Digital Live conversation this week was around the build or buy challenges which come up and making the case for the former. It was a good discussion with insight. I’m interested in something related – how to effect change when the decision to buy was made wayback and the contract isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Has anyone managed to create an amazing user experience and more efficient or automated processes in a legacy system? Anyone…? Anyone…?

Shall we connect?

I’m looking for conversations and opening my calendar for opportunities to connect across 2024. Drop me a message if you’d like to chat though and we can find something that works I’m sure!

If you’re a vendor please check out the latest news on my employer before grabbing a slot – these conversations are not an opportunity to try and sell to me. And if you do work at the same organisation as I do reach out on Teams so we can say hello!

You can also get in touch through the ways on my get in touch page so let’s see what we can arrange.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash