Weeknotes 17 of 2023

aka getting back to normal after a few weeks on the conference circuit.

Weeknotes 17 of 2023
Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash

aka getting back to normal after a few weeks on the conference circuit.

What went well:

  • I finished up a research project right as our sprint wrapped up. Delivering something you’ve been working on for a while is a good feeling.
  • I tried something new: Asynchronous group analysis. I’ve been trying to think of how to get my team more involved in research, and reflected on my time at GDS, where everyone did research analysis together. But we already have too many long meetings so I gave each team member a research question and let them pull stickies and themes for that question in their own time. It worked well, with a few improvements for next time.
  • After being away last week, I’ve been catching up on lots of wonderful things: Magnify conference recordings, the last couple of DigitalBC livestreams, GDS’s design system day and a couple of courses I’ve been on.
  • My FWD50 talk recording is up and I think it’s available for free to anyone if you set up an account. I will never ever watch it because I cannot watch myself. But I appreciate any feedback.

What was difficult

  • I’ve been asked to coordinate Canadian speakers for the International Gov Design 24hr Remote Conference and it’s been surprisingly difficult and quite frustrating. Many people have said they’re interested but in 4 weeks of trying to get people signed up, I’m still at 0 committed speakers. It’s making me really question our culture here that we can’t find time and energy to share a 10-minute talk or case study. This isn’t a criticism on the people, but rather the system we’re in that de-prioritizes open sharing.
  • After recovering from Covid in late October, I’ve now found myself with a possible case of bronchitis(?) that my youngest brought home from Nursery. I’m not sick per se but I have a cough that’s making life tricky.
  • After a couple of months of being either stressed about giving a talk for a conference talk, or travelling to give that conference talk, I have a pretty lengthy list of work and life tasks that I can no longer put off. It’s a bit overwhelming but I’m tackling these things one at a time.

Inspired by

Some great reads I came across this week:

Changing passive-aggressive government for good | Apolitical
Government is, sadly, riddled with bad workplace culture. This stands in the way of making government better and…
User research, design and trauma: understanding practitioner experiences
In early 2023, I conducted a survey to find out more about practitioner experiences of trauma in research and design…
Five common design myths, and how to rethink them
Last month, team members from our Design and Research practice visited the Design Museum in London.
The player-coach design leader - Katherine Wastell
Every designer I know loves doing design. It's a passion; it's creative, it's exploratory, it's future-focused. Many…

Reading, watching, listening

  • I don’t read many memoirs but I’m halfway through I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (former child star of my daughter’s current favourite shows.) It’s very shocking even though I knew children in Hollywood were often exploited. I’m also dipping my toes into Recoding America by Jennifer Pahlka, who was one of the other keynotes at FWD50.
  • I loved the little mystery in the episode 44 photos from Heavyweight.