Weeknotes: S2 e11

Halloween came and went and my children had the time of their lives. I got my flu shot. I attended a 4-day conference that started at 6am…

Weeknotes: S2 e11
photo from unsplash

Halloween came and went and my children had the time of their lives. I got my flu shot. I attended a 4-day conference that started at 6am my time. We adopted a kitten. I had a birthday. Yesterday was Remembrance Day which coming from a military family is always an important and sobering day.

It’s been a lot.

What went well:

  • I ran the first of the new iteration of the Human Centred Design meetup in BC gov. It was great, despite MS teams being so un user-friendly for breakout rooms (which lead to some super awkward and lengthy ‘dead air’ as I had to manually assign 60 people to 15 breakout rooms)
  • I attended FWD50 for the first time and it was an excellent experience. Also a bit overwhelming, there was a lot of content and it felt like a lot of talks were too theoretical, techy and solutions-focused for my brain to absorb. Not surprisingly, the most inspirational talks for me were from public servants who have a strong citizen focus and are doing the hard work to make government better for people (the most highlighted takeaways from my notes came from session by Pia Andrews, Katherine Benjamin, Joy Bonaguro & Bridget Antwi)
  • In the week before FWD50, I ran a lot of research sessions, 7 in total. It’s taking me ages to analyze and play back the findings so I’m worried about momentum.

To improve:

  • I had a few team members join my research sessions, and it’s clear that I need to do more to brief my team on what research is and how it works. I’ve taken it for granted that people know this stuff, that what I am doing is clear and transparent.
  • I wasted so much time overthinking little inconsequential decisions this week. Like: What photo to use? What music to play? Stuff that doesn’t matter. Now I’m scrambling to get more important things done because I wasted so much time on the little stuff.
  • Usually in conferences I am there to listen and absorb, I don’t spend a lot of time starting discussions or tweeting my opinions. But during FWD50 I felt emboldened. I tweeted a lot, put comments in the chat, shared my hot takes on things. And now I feel annoyed at myself for being so vocal, I’m sick of hearing myself speak and I’m convinced others are too. Lingering in my stomach now is the slightest twinge of shame for taking up space in the conversation. So I’m sitting with this feeling and questioning where it comes from.


  • I loved this blog post on the role of service design in government — I’ve been thinking a lot about how service designers need to be at the programme level, not the product level, so it’s good to see some exploration around that from a dept who’s tried it.
  • This tweet I sent during FWD50 had some good discussion, it’s made me think about the role of GDS and what it would take to have some of that evolved or adapted here.
  • This super simple graphic has summed up everything in my job for me:

Reading, watching listening:

  • Recently finished Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason and I don’t think I’ve ever read such a rich account of mental illness. The portrayals of relationships within that struggle blew me away. Highly recommend.
  • I finished the series Maid which has a big theme on how government fails vulnerable people. Bonus: I weas filmed in the city we live in now, and I was pleased that I recognized some of the locations.
  • The Moth podcast has had some excellent stories recently (they always do but I’ve found that these stories have helped me through what has felt like a heavy work period)