Weeknotes 10/2022

It’s been a minute

Weeknotes 10/2022
My little one exploring the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa

What went well:

  • I wrapped up some usability testing and set up a clear pipeline for research findings to actions taken (through a design decision log) — the work from this log goes directly into our backlog. I’ve worked on teams where research ends at the point where you report it back to the team or stakeholders, and I’ve always found that frustrating. So this time, I’m choosing to spend less time on the reporting, and more time on the next steps. It’s worth noting that we don’t action every research finding. Some aren’t high enough priority/risk, some we’re not totally confident in yet … those items still get recorded, to keep an eye on them over time.
  • I met people in real life! Yesterday was the first in-person #OneTeamGov event here since the before times, organized by Heather and Rumon. It was so great to get out and meet other changemakers in government (like Dylan and Harry), but I will say, I am out of practice with this whole networking thing and feel like I have a ‘social hangover’ today.
  • I travelled! The kiddos and I joined my partner on a business trip to Ottawa so we had a great time catching up with our chosen family there and visiting our old life. It was such a quick visit and I wish we could’ve gone longer but looking after young kids with no workday childcare is just too draining.
  • I’m trying to expand the research capacity on our team so I’ve been going through a hiring process and doing lots of work for that. It’s exciting and cool, but also a lot of work and bureaucracy.
  • My tiny giant baby turned 3 🥺

What didn’t go as well

  • The news on Roe V Wade just broke this morning and I‘m feeling … a lot of feelings. Mostly fear… Gratitude that I’m in a different country … uneasiness about being so close… trepidation that maybe we’re all just one vote away from going backwards as a society.
  • My manager is moving onto a new role and I’m happy for him but it means some uncertainty about what that means for me and our team. And if I’m honest, I’m quite anxious about it — Before working for him, I’d come from a situation where I felt unvalued and quite frankly unwanted, and it really harmed my already fragile self confidence. I want to think that the past 18 months I’ve spent slowly building myself back up again have made me stronger, but who knows.
  • Mentally I’m a bit slow. I’m attributing it to the travel — I’m learning as I get older and busier that I no longer sleep well in different beds, with different daily routines. So I’ve been feeling pretty run down while I catch up on sleep.
  • Inflation and the rapid increases to an already uncomfortable cost of living continues to send me into mild panic attacks. Mostly it feels frustrating that a non-human made up thing like the economy is just allowed to create chaos in the lives of the living people who are forced to live within its boundaries. Where are the grownups and why aren’t they doing anything about this?

What’s inspired me

  • This top notch post from Lou Downe on what it takes to be a service designer. I wish this was something I could’ve read 5 or even 2 years ago, when I was full of self doubt on whether I was qualified to call what I did service design.
  • “By 2025, at least 50 of the government’s top 75 identified services will move to a ‘great’ standard, against a consistent measure of service performance.” Amazing commitment from the UK Government. When is Canada going to take this kind of bold, government-wide stance? Frustratingly, I think we’re too silo’ed to ever do something like this.
  • Tom Loosemore gave a great talk at DesignConf on design systems which was about much more than design systems but on changing how government works. And although I’m pretty familiar with the GDS story, I found it really helpful and inspiring to hear it again.
  • More great posts from Paul Craig and Sean Boots on how public sector tech needs to evolve.

Reading watching listening

  • I’ve taken an uncharacteristic break from reading. I can’t focus on a book at the end of the day, I just want to scroll tik tok. Does this mean I’m burnt out?! But I have made a small dent in One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston which is really cute and quirky and I love the characters.
  • I’ve mentioned it already but My Brilliant Friend is one of the most stunning and complex shows I’ve ever seen (though it helps that I devoured the books, not sure if it would be as moving to those who haven’t read them.) I’ve been working through season 3 but then the subtitles inexaplicity stopped working and I don’t speak Italian so I can’t go past episode 5 😭
  • The Disappearance of Nuseiba Hasan is an addictive, super compelling true story of an adoptee searching for her missing birth mother.