Weeknotes 6 of 2024

Another long break between weeknotes, but a prompting from Ari via our internal Teams channel has me hoping to write with more frequency and velocity.

What I've been working on:

  • One of our large program areas is developing a service design playbook that covers a lot of the basics of service design and how it operates specifically in that area. My colleague Jackie has been leading this work along with support for Harry and myself. There are two versions: One for designers, and one for non-design stakeholders. I took the lead on refining the stakeholder version into something concise and simple for that audience.
  • I delivered a presentation on what service design is and the conditions needed in program area for the practice thrive and have impact.
  • I helped support some hiring stuff - scoring written assignments for a competition and handling some aspects of a transfer.
  • I observed all of the usability testing on one of the products were developing for the Conservation Officer service. It was super interesting hearing about the contexts of conservation officers. I loved this experience and was so impressed by the expertise of Steph and Vita who ran the sessions.
  • I spent some time reviewing a few of the talks submitted to SD in Gov as I'm on the panel this year. I found it super interesting. Similar to being on a hiring panel, seeing other people's submissions really helped me think about how I structure mine and what's useful to the people on the other end.
  • On a personal note, I filed my taxes (yay but also boo but that I have to do that at all, I miss the days of HMRC doing that work for me when I lived in the UK) and I navigated the most stressful day of the year for parents: Summer camp registration, a process not unlike getting tickets to glasto.
  • I also enjoyed tracking the eclipse on this webcam tracker built by Jonty Wareing.

What's gone well

  • I've had a lot of really helpful, validating conversations with many people. Kelsey had been a huge support, particularly in our performance convo. I've also really felt energized by conversations with Kevin, Laura, Clara, Nataly, Jackie, Harry, Kajol, Jaybe and many others.
  • I connected with people IRL by working in the office which led to some really great conversations with Kelsey and Harry. And I attended the last oneteamgov meetup group organized by Heather. It was a small turnout but I like small turnouts. It was a lovely conversation.
  • After a few months of feeling totally out of my depth in the new role, I finally had a moment where I thought, "ok I think I've got this." It was only a brief glimmer. But it's a little moment I am holding onto.

What's been difficult

  • I mentioned last time feeling like my confidence was down and self doubt was up since moving to a new role. I'm still feeling that. It's ebbing a bit, as I mentioned above, but still there.
  • I've hit critical mass for channels on MS Teams. For all my waxing about how important it is to work in the open, I've finally hit a point where I don't even check the 'channels' anymore because the 'chats' take up too much of my energy. I want to be in those channels but there are just too many.
  • I've had some personal stresses that I won't go into. But I've found them overflowing into my time and energy.

What I've found interesting

oof...please read this:

Heat Death of the Internet - takahē
You want to order from a local restaurant, but you need to download a third-party delivery app, even though you plan to pick it up yourself. The prices and menu on the app are different to what you saw in the window. When you download a second app the prices are different again. You ring
Why leaders must inspire with truthful narratives - avoiding the truth gap and the narrative gap — Public Digital
Deliver first, announce second
On Meta, Information Sharing Behaviours, and times of emergency
Icebreakers for remote meetings and virtual workshops
As a facilitator, I’m hyper-aware of how remote and hybrid work has dramatically changed the way teams meet and collaborate. When we’re not…
Helping local digital work
Should there be a Local Government Digital Service?
Cap Watkins – The Boring Designer

Reading, watching, listening

  • I finished The Bee Sting by Paul Murray (loved it) and Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion (ditto)
  • I've started to wonder whether my TV habits are a realiable indication of my mental state, because sometimes all I want to watch is re-runs of shows I've seen over and over again. My brain turns away from anything new. These are usually times of change and uncertainty. Anyway, I'm in this phase now and my current re-run of choice has been old episodes of Call the Midwife.
  • I really enjoyed and learned a lot from Radiolab's The Moon Itself.

lunar eclipse photo
Photo by Justin Dickey / Unsplash