Weeknotes 9 of 2023

Ups and downs

Weeknotes 9 of 2023
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

What went well

  • I was fortunate to attend a number of super interesting learning sessions put on by various groups in the BC gov this week: A talk on Disaggregated demographic data collection in BC (The grandmother perspective), a livestream of the BC Demographic Survey, and a session on Autism and neurodiversity in the workforce which felt really relevant and validating to me personally.
  • I put together our June design community call: Designing for Neurodiversity, and Avoiding the Neuromyths.
  • Myself and a few others launched a design crit initiative with the goal of connecting designers across government in small groups. It’s a small experiment that I have big hopes for.
  • Our team visited a pub for some leaving drinks. This used to be a regular thing for me but thinking about it now, it’s been actual years since I’ve done that. It was fun.
  • I helped out with some HR paperwork that I’m hoping are a small step toward more design leadership in the ministry I work in.
  • I ran a few career advice calls with junior designers, which are always super interesting and inspiring.

What didn’t go well

  • In my current product team work, I’ve been trying to figure out how much of our development resources are external (contractors or vendors.) It seemed easiest to follow the money and try to glean this information from our procurement paperwork and contracts so I’ve been interviewing people who work in this field across government. This has been quite difficult for two reasons: First, we speak different langauges. Trying to understand the financial jargon and acronyms and processes that are part of their everyday context has been challenging. Secondly, with the exception of one person, nobody has been able to provide the information I’m looking for. They’re able to speak in general terms (eg, we have a contract for $x million with y vendor) but they’re not able to link specifically to development work or the services they are associated. So I’m not getting very far. But service design is about the process and there are lots of insights from this tactic alone — it’s showing us that we are not doing a good job of tracking capacity and people. Is that a problem?
  • I feel like this is a very common theme now but I’m feeling disconnected from the wider team I work for. I’ve heard there’s currently a lot going on to plan our organizational structure/strategy at the leader level but this work isn’t being shared or updated on in any kind of open or transparent way as far as I can see, and I’ve not been invited to have any input on it or even learn about it. On top of that, leaders have been too busy to attend meetings and all of the check-ins where I would usually get updates or ask questions have been cancelled. I spoke up about this once but also struggle with the feeling like I am being ‘annoying’ or ‘too much’ by asking for people’s time. As well as a general feeling of, “is everyone hanging out without me?” (thanks Mindy Kaling for that phrase that always lives in my head now)
  • I’ve been struggling with some big questions about design community leadership which I wrote about here.
  • The gd interest rate went up again 😬 🤦‍♀️

Inspired by:

Reading, watching, listening highlights