Tweeknotes 15 of 2023

It happened this week — it was still dark in the morning when I got up, and dark enough at dinner time to turn on the dining table light…

Tweeknotes 15 of 2023
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

It happened this week — it was still dark in the morning when I got up, and dark enough at dinner time to turn on the dining table light. I veered into the winter side of my closet. I’ve been using the heater in my home office. Summer is over :’(

What went well

  • This news is a few weeks old but I haven’t mentioned it here yet — I found out I was selected to speak at FWD50! I’m terrified but in a good way. Mostly I’m just really looking forward to attending in person for the first time. I’ve been in a mad rush to get my content drafted so I have lots of time for feedback and practice. I’ve already had a feedback session with the organizers, Alistair and Rebecca Croll, which was super helpful.
  • I’ve been plugging away at some research priorities on my team and it’s going well.
  • The BC Gov design community held another call, this time a Service Design 101 session led by some awesome colleagues from the Ministry of Forestry.
  • I attended a workshop on how to define and measure service success with Kate Tarling which was really helpful.
  • I joined a lovely CDS Alumni zoom chat with some of my former colleagues, organized by the wonderful Andrea.

What was challenging

  • Eventbrite, which I’ve been using for our free design community events, changed their pricing model (as in, they just started charging for free events) which has thrown our external bookings situation into a bit of chaos. I might have to use *shudder* Microsoft for this now
  • I’ve been dealing with some unexpected extra work (eg, my fwd50 talk, some FOI stuff, and other bits) which have been taking me away from the other work I’m meant to be doing. These are good things to direct my focus to, but it always feels jarring to suddenly have to switch focus to something more urgent.
  • Here’s an example of an annoying but not uncommon situation in the life of a working parent of small children: Within the first few minutes of Kate’s workshop that I mentioned above (a workshop I’ve been anticipating for months,) my 4yo’s nursery calls to tell me he has suspicious “spots” so I need to pick him up and can’t bring him back until I’ve had a GP appointment. So during the course of this two-hour workshop, I fielded a nursery call, a nursery pickup, a call with a doctor, and fed and tended to my child. Not surprisingly I missed a lot of the content, so I’m grateful it was recorded. Oh and he’s totally fine by the way.
  • Another challenge that is related to the above is this: due to the healthcare crisis in BC, the only GP we’ve been able to register with is a 6–7 hour drive away. Phone appointments come in handy here but it’s hard to diagnose spots over the phone.

Inspired by

There are so many great things I’ve read and come across in the last little while. First up, a super useful take on how to approach and think about service design:

Is this service design?
A write up of the services week talk from March 2023, reflecting on 12-months in a service design role for a complex…

This is a great post written by Lisa, one of my former colleagues at GDS (and inspired by another, Louise)

Insight machines
Setting a cadence can have a surprisingly powerful impact. A predictable schedule can build anticipation: people will…

Interesting piece on design “hacks” — I saw Emma’s calls for hacks a few months ago and really struggled to think of anything. Perhaps design isn’t something that can be hacked or shortcutted.

User centred design ‘hacks’ — Design for joy
How to do user centred design when you don’t have the resources to work with researchers or designers. When I was…

I was not expecting much from a government newsletter but this is full of useful insights and research — well done to the team who puts this together:

September 2023 update from the Digital Transformation Office (DTO)
Consistency in design is a crucial element to help foster trust among users. The Digital Transformation Office (DTO)…

In researching my FWD50 talk, I’ve come across a lot of interesting case studies, notably this one from the Beeck Centre, which was shared by my former boss Aaron Snow.

Beyond Technology: How a Federal-State Partnership and a Test and Learn Approach Can Deliver An…
This strategy can empower and enable states to transform programs sustainably, and bring about change for families and…

Reading, watching, listening