Tweeknotes 12 of 2023

A quick one as I prep to take some time off.

Tweeknotes 12 of 2023
Okanagan Lake. Photo by Robbie Down on Unsplash

A quick one as I prep to take some time off.

What went well:

  • As my product team ramped up toward delivering an MVP of our product, I’ve been shifting away from systems thinking into more tangible user research mode. I recently ran some unmoderated usability testing (a first for me!) and helped deliver a survey. It feels good to have a cadence and to deliver work rapidly.
  • The BC Gov design community ran another great monthly call, this time featuring (and hosted by) Hannah Sloat, one of the excellent service designers here.
  • The design community also launched our small crit group initiative and I had my first call with my group. Hopefully I’ll share more on this in the future.
  • I had some great catchups with both interal colleagues and external peeps — chatting with Skairdra for the first time properly was a highlight and I felt so energized after our conversation.
  • I spoke at the Madetech Community of Practice about design challenges in the Canadian context, it was a lovely small group and a great way to start my day.
  • I’ve been walking in the morning before my kids get up (and the heat takes over) and jumping in the Okanagan Lake with them after work which has been grand. I ❤ summer.

What was difficult:

  • A cherished team member told me they are leaving government and I’m pretty bummed to lose her but also excited for her new adventure.
  • I’ve been struggling to understand the balance between the need for open, candid communication with the opposing need for everyone to be comfortable and not hear anything they don’t want to hear. Unsurprisingly I strongly advocate for the first one — avoiding difficult conversations is a sure descent into toxic positivity which I think is very damaging to an org’s culture. But I guess the question is: How can we build up an org’s capacity for openness? How can we raise issues without anyone feeling like it’s an attack on them? I personally put a lot of thought and intention into creating safe spaces, but I’m not sure it’s enough, and maybe it needs to come from those higher than me to set the tone.
  • My youngest’s daycare is on a two week break and my partner went to Ottawa for work so I’ve been parenting/working like it’s lockdown again. I retreated to my mum’s house in the Okanagan which helps a bit.
  • My anxiety is still high. Financial stress from more interest rate rises and the things above are bringing me down. I’m hoping some time off will help.
  • Also: Although I’m glad to be doing research work, which I know well, I also want time/capacity to do actual service design work (which is my job title.) But I’m the only UCD person on my team and research is needed for the design part so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Inspired by:

Reading, watching, listening

  • Everything Elizabeth Strout writes affects me deeply and Lucy by the Sea is no different. An absolutely stunning novel about the pandemic and the political climate and connection and family.
  • Probably related to my anxiety but I haven’t had the mental or emotional capacity to watch anything new. So I’ve been re-watching Mad Men which always comforts me (even though it’s a highly emotional and stressful show at times, but at least I know what is coming!)
  • The Retrievals podcast is absolutely shocking but also — given the theme around women not being believed by medical professionals — not that shocking.