Monthnotes: s2 e9

September flew by with a tornado of visitors, elections, events, birthdays, child sick days, deadlines and such, but I’m grateful for some…

Monthnotes: s2 e9
My children, honouring the first national day for Truth and Reconciliation by wearing orange shirts that say “every child matters”

September flew by with a tornado of visitors, elections, events, birthdays, child sick days, deadlines and such, but I’m grateful for some time today to reflect on things.

And, as we settled into new routines that revolve around school, we took some time to reflect on a new statutory holiday in Canada. On 30th September, we recognized the first national day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour First Nation survivors of the residential school system, by wearing orange shirts and educating ourselves about these abuses.

On a work front, things were busy but productive. I’m gaining traction in lots of things and it’s been exciting. So,

Three things that have gone well

  • Recently I did what were probably my first proper one-on-one research sessions since joining this team. Everything I’ve done so far has been based on workshops or quant methods or reviewing previous research, so it felt like going back to my roots. I’ve suffered research burnout in the past and it dulled my desire for doing this work. But coming back after a break, I found like it again.
  • I attended SD in Gov, from probably the worst time zone (sessions started at 1am my time and ended at 9am.) Sleep in a non-negotiable to me, but I was willing to get up earlier than usual (5am) to catch some live sessions, and most of it was recorded so I got a huge amount of value from it. I created a slide deck of my top takeaways and have been sharing it around my team, you can msg me on twitter or the many slack channels I am on if you want the link (I think my DMs are open.)
  • I’ve started an online full-stack web development course. This is something that’s been on my to-do list for ages and I am thrilled I have the support of my manager and team to do this. I want to be able to communicate with DevOps people better, I want to understand the infrastructure at least a little, and I want to be able to have a say in how design gets built. I’m super excited.

Three things I’ve struggled with

  • Creating a culture of empathy for research. When I shared some research findings recently, the response was fairly dismissive of the user’s perspective. This surprised me, and I called it out in a diplomatic way. But it’s got me worried about the culture I am in. I’ve been obsessively thinking about how I’m going to approach this when I start sharing findings more widely.
  • Bureaucracy. I’m reviving the Human Centred Design community and decided to set up an MS teams channel to designers to collaborate on. Guess what? I need executive sign off and a whole process to set this up. What message is the BC gov sending when employees need approval to collaborate with others? My gosh, I miss slack so much.
  • Self doubt, as usual. I have an idea for changing government, it’s not a new one but I think it’s important. I was thinking of pitching it at a conference. But what if it’s too big and too bold? What if I get laughed at for not getting how things work here? What if they like it and I actually have to follow through? Ugh.

Three things that have inspired me

  • All of the keynotes and presentations from SD in Gov, seriously I can’t get over how good and important and relevant they were. Kudos to all who spoke and shared.
  • Although it’s old, I recently discovered this article (Design’s lost generation) and it’s really stuck with me.
  • These two tweets, from women in the UK and Canadian gov respectively, showed up on my timeline a day apart and I am incensed but sadly not surprised. I feel both defeated and infuriated, but also inspired to make more of an effort to notice and call out this garbage wherever I see it.

Read watched listened

  • I recently binge-listened to season 9 of the Something Was Wrong podcast. It’s super messed up — if you liked Dirty John, you will love it.
  • I’ve read a few pretty average books recently so I’m glad I picked up The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare, it was excellent.
  • I’m halfway through a Danish murder series called The Chestnut Man and it’s really good if you’re into that sort of thing.