Weeknote 9, for 19–23 July 2021
Interactive whiteboard ghosts, design as a euphemism and what to do when your tragic flaw is impatience
Things I’m happy about
Accessibility community kick-off
We’ve got some wonderful communities of practice for our disciplines, but as yet, there hasn’t been an accessibility community. That was something that one of our content designers Maeve wanted to address. She’s been brilliant at working with our Communities of Practice Manager Alex to get something off the ground — something that’s sustainable and multi-disciplinary. And this week was a big step in the right direction with a group of about 20 across disciplines getting together to think about what the community should and could do. Should we be advocating for more people? Should we be curating the standards emerging from teams? Should we be bringing inspiring speakers? Keen to hear thoughts from others on this.
The only problem for me at the session — putting my post-its on the right interactive whiteboard for our breakout group. I accidentally put mine on group 2, though I’m in group 4, so I moved them. Then group 2 was convinced they had a ghost!
Fresh thinking from our seniors
Last week our latest Senior Content Designer joined — bringing our in-house G7s to 7! This time last year there were 2. This is big.
Emma’s brought such a positive, friendly perspective and has jumped right in in our schools portfolio along with a couple of other content designers.
I’m just loving the thinking that’s going on with this group — such great ideas coming out of it. And hopefully we’ll be in a position to recruit a couple more G7s soon!
Things that I learned
Design as a euphemism
Slapping the word ‘design’ on something doesn’t mean it involves any design thinking! I mean, I know this, but that doesn’t prevent it from happening. It’s important we call it out when it happens — and either rename it, or ensure that design is represented.
Sometimes there are no quick wins
If I were a hero in a Greek tragedy, without a doubt my tragic flaw would be impatience. I at least have the self-awareness to know this, right? It has certainly got me in trouble before. But I feel I’m trying to address this — and be happy with ‘right direction of travel’ over quick wins. But what if you can’t even get right direction of travel? There’s a lesson in here for me, I think — that it’s time to set that down for a bit, focus on something else and then return back to it.
Where the vending machines are at DfE
Thursday was my day in the office this week — and I got that 3:30 low blood sugar feeling that I hadn’t had in about, oh, 18 months. I’ve probably not been further than 10 m from a refrigerator in that time! Luckily, there are vending machines at DfE — I found mine on the lower ground floor and that Snickers was all mine…
Things I read that I liked
I didn’t get to attend Design System Day 2021 yesterday but my colleague Jas Kang did and gave it rave reviews. And I followed vicariously! Here are some of the best bits:
Things I’m doing next week
- Sharing our emerging thinking about assurance with other Heads of Profession (hint: it’s not about a list of standards…)
- Content strategy workshop part 2! In which we get back together after a month of refining strategies and running surgeries
- Podcast thinking with the amazing Nettie Williams — about one about how communities of practice make organisations better