Connection converstions

I went along to a gig this week.

That might not sound so special but given I’ve written about music most of my life, and run a (currently at pasture) record label it’s been a while since I last went to a gig. I did manage 3 last year, but this week was the first I’d been to back in the DIY scene with artists I’ve worked with since the end of 2021 (more in 3 things below).

The vibe and the music were great but it was also wonderful to chat with friends and reconnect not just with them but with parts of myself I thought had been lost through divorce and grief. We even pondered on the future of Reckless Yes, to find perhaps we are just in a pause between chapters.

3 things this week

Several branches with white plum blossom are viewed from below with a clear blue sky and sunshine above

Prioritising content work

I’m still catching up on all the great sessions from Utterly Content but one which particularly resonated was prioritising content requests and making informed choices with Robert Mills of Fourth Wall Content.

It’s the perpetual challenge of running websites, and other digital content and services – how to manage the requests that come in. These can be for updates to existing things, revamps of those too, or to add something extra. They are rarely to retire something but I guess theoretically that could happen.

This session was great at recognising the challenges and frustrations of managing the demands, and surfacing the need (and extra challenge) of prioritising well. It also gave a great practical run down of different approaches to prioritisation.

This is an area of focus for me so it was a timely session that was reassuring and thought-provoking. I’m looking forward to catching up on more sessions from the virtual conference soon.

Back to the LGDS (Local Government Digital Service) debate

The debate around the need for a Local Government Digital Service has gained traction again recently, having been ebbing and flowing for the last decade or more. I admit I haven’t yet got round to reading everything in the current batch of think pieces (Phil Rumens is keeping a list here if you want to dive in) but there are a few things which are interesting to me:

  • we already have a Local Government Digital Service – in fact we have several – Local Gov Digital is the one rising from the grassroots and it would be absolute folly to create yet another thing which ignores the movement already happening
  • there’s a lot of thinking but less doing – this is where my interest, effort and energy will be in the whole debate. It’s time to refocus on the practical tools for the sector and less on thought pieces
  • this debate is even less diverse now than it was 10 years ago – that isn’t representative of the sector, and will limit both the thinking and doing so needs to change

I feel I’m repeating myself given these thoughts reflect what I wrote about the same question in 2014 but here we are. Personally, the talk tires me, but the ideas excite me.

I’m currently working on finding commonality in service patterns, and building up an experience library / design system to underpin and deliver them repeatedly at pace and with confidence and consistency. As I’m doing this work I’m really aware that this could be a resource for the whole sector as much as for one organisation within it.

For me the debate on a Local Government Digital Service needs to move from ‘should we…?’ to ‘how might we…?’ and use what already exists to start delivering from the ground up.

On the courage of moving forward

I mentioned the gig I went to in connection conversations above and as well as a return to the DIY scene, and to music generally, it was unexpectedly a return to writing too. I fired up Popoptica the next day and wrote about the gig. I found the words did not flow as easily as they used to, and I was questioning why I felt the need to write at all.

It was important for me personally to take this step. Music and writing (and music writing) have been part of my identity since I was a teenager, and have led me to wonderful opportunities, and some lovely people over the years. The activities meant so much to me it was probably somewhat inevitable they were lost to me when everything else fell apart.

Going to that gig, writing those few words about it, might not be the mightiest of returns but it marked something significant for me. That while I have to keep finding the ways to move forward and create this next chapter of my life, I don’t have to leave all that I was and all that I loved in the past.

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.