The different types of design in government | GDS design notes
Design is a broad field, with many different specialisms. We’ve split design into four distinct roles. No one of these roles is more senior than the other. Our roles are specialisms, not a hierarchy. We’ve created specialisms because we operate at a massive scale, and no one person can be good at everything. There’s no ‘right way to be a designer’ you can be one, or all of these things – with more chucked in for good measure.
servicedesign  design 
6 days ago
It’s not about the technology! (Apart from when it is).
“Digital/transformation/business is not about technology it's about design / strategy / culture” is a recurring meme. It can be a comforting thing to cling on to, and it’s probably true a lot of the time, but is also not true in some important respects.

Technology does matter. Good digital / design / business / transformation / culture / strategy requires an understanding of the materials.
culture  design  technology 
11 days ago
Alex Blandford — Digipology
Think of it like a Wikipedian in residence. Modern organisations conducting user research generate hundreds of hours of video, thousands of scirbbled or hurriedly typed notes and transcripts. Get someone to be a custodian of those with a remit to get deeper understanding out of them, and be open (but respectful to the participants).
information  knowledgemanagement  userresearch 
16 days ago
Putting down roots | Catherine Howe
Look far ahead and in front of your nose at the same time: I am less and less of a mind to write a strategy – I am more inclined to work with people to develop a big ambitious vision and a series of reasonable steps towards it as no strategy ever survives contact with reality and change needs the momentum you gain from just getting stuff done
Audacious optimism: Really. You are trying to change a WHOLE SYSTEM – you have to be ludicrously optimistic!
Know you will fail: This is why the optimism is audacious . Your plans will be diluted down and you will make compromises but how you fail matters and if you have learned and if the world is a tiny bit better rather than a tiny bit worse then bank it as a win
systemsthinking  change  changemanagement 
27 days ago
Seven principles to help us strengthen our data infrastructure | News | Open Data Institute
Society is not currently treating data as infrastructure. We are not giving it the same importance as our road, railway and energy networks were given in the industrial revolution – and are still given now. Good infrastructure is simply there when we need it. We know our data infrastructure is working when it is boring – when we don’t need to think about it.
data  opendata  information 
28 days ago
Empathic, vulnerable, curious: inspirational leadership in the civil service — Medium
I’ve been a civil servant since 2009; during that time I’ve observed many types of leader. We all know when we’re working with a great leader: they inspire us, give us space, motivate us, and make us excited to come to work every day. It’s not about seniority or power; these people have this effect regardless of their grade or formal relationship to us. I’ve been thinking recently about what unites the leaders who have most inspired me during my time in government.
leadership  civilservice 
5 weeks ago
Registering a concern - honestlyreal
So – registers. Top idea. They’ll be definitive. They’ll be owned. They’ll feed and support other systems.

But will they, y’know, work?
registers  data  systems 
6 weeks ago
The XY Problem
The XY problem is asking about your attempted solution rather than your actual problem. This leads to enormous amounts of wasted time and energy, both on the part of people asking for help, and on the part of those providing help.
problemsolving 
6 weeks ago
GOV.AU is a ‘mental model’ of government | Digital Transformation Office
Most people don’t know all the parts of government and what they do. Many people think of government as one thing but government generally doesn’t present a single view to end-users. For a successful transaction, people have to know where to find the information they need - but typically that information is spread across several different websites. Users then need to compare and synthesise that information to make sense of what government wants them to do. People told us that: they never feel certain that they have all the information, the information is up-to-date, and they never know what they will find next.
government  organisations  servicedesign 
6 weeks ago
Presenting is performance
As you write the content of each slide, practice saying what you’ll say when it’s in front of an audience. Practice the stories and jokes you’ll tell along the way. Practice the beginning, where you introduce yourself and the organisation you represent. And practice the end, where you sum everything up and wind your way to a conclusion.

Presenting is performance. Rehearse like it’s a show, and your audience will listen.
presentation 
6 weeks ago
An Insider’s Guide To Business Design At IDEO — IDEO Stories — Medium
When we look for creative solutions to user problems, those solutions typically come in the form of a product or service. But what we deliver to a client — and what a customer eventually experiences — is not a product or service in a vacuum. It’s all the stuff around it too. I am able to think creatively around the design of the business by deconstructing all the assumptions around its business model and reassembling them to derive value in new ways. I believe that for a lot of products and services out there, the brilliance is in the business.
design  businessmodels  businesschange  organisationalchange 
6 weeks ago
Do less. The Inverted-U — Medium
I think it’s worth asking the following questions of agile teams:
What if–past a certain point–adding more design, content, or features starts to make things worse?
What if–past a certain point–having more stakeholders, experts, or analysts makes us understand the problem less clearly?
What if–past a certain point–adding more security measures, makes things less secure?
What if–past a certain point–more complexity, leaves the service or transaction more open to fraud and deception?
What if we made more time to look at our products and services through the eyes of those that experience them and focussed more on removing barriers than adding solutions?
agile  servicedesign 
7 weeks ago
Ten more years! Ten more years! | Consult Hyperion
My brand spanking new chip card from a UK issuer not only arrived with a 2000s app of a 1990s implementation of a 1980s product (debit) on 1970s chip, it also came with a 1960s magnetic stripe on it and a 1950s PAN with a 1940s signature panel on the back. It’s no wonder it seems a little out of place in the modern world.
technology  legacy  infrastructure 
7 weeks ago
Does This Make My Customers Rich? Business Tips For The Future Steady-State Economy | Co.Exist | ideas + impact
The one edict that should govern all businesses: "Does this make my customers rich? If I'm making other people wealthy, then I am supporting the ecosystem that will keep my business alive."

Right now, our economy is set up to ask the entire opposite question: Does this make our investors rich? Instead of valuing and rewarding the creation of a sustainable economy, we value growth above all other things. Venture capital infuses companies with enough cash that they can expand astronomically and make their founders incredibly wealthy. Look at Twitter, currently besieged by open letters about how to improve its business as its stock tanks. This is the prime example of an economy with the wrong priorities—and the mistakes founders can make by giving into a mindset that growth is the only meaningful goal of business.
businessmodels  markets 
7 weeks ago
There are no system needs, only user needs | NHS.UK Alpha blog
‘The system’ isn’t some alien organism that’s living somewhere separate from the people who use it.

We, as people who work in the NHS, develop system solutions to answer user needs.

The system itself, however, doesn’t have needs.

Talking about system needs encourages us to work in isolation. It puts us back into the bubble and back into silos.

We should burst that bubble, do the hard work and always ask ‘what’s the user need behind this thing we’re aiming for?’.
needs  systems  health 
7 weeks ago
Are you thinking about social care? | NHS.UK Alpha blog
We’ve looked at people as whole people and tried to understand their lived experiences. And it’s why I think that in relation to digital services, and NHS.UK specifically, we need to stop talking about ‘social care’ as something that is different to other kinds of care.

We must stop reflecting our siloed government structures onto the public, and keep focussed on the people we’re delivering services for. People simply want to access and receive the care that they need – they don’t understand how the health and care system works and they shouldn’t have to.
usercentred  personalisation  health 
8 weeks ago
Twitter Has Become a Park Filled With Bats -- Following: How We Live Online
Twitter is like a beloved public park that used to be nice, but now has a rusty jungle gym, dozens of really persistent masturbators, and a nighttime bat problem. Eventually the Parks Department might rip up the jungle gym, and make some noise about fixing the other problems, because that's what invisible administrators like Twitter staff and municipal recreation departments tend to do. But if the perverts and the bats got to be bad enough with no recourse, you'd probably just eventually stop going.

(Additionally frustrating is that everybody is complaining about the safety issues at the park, and instead of addressing them, the city installs a crazy new slide. What? Nobody was calling for that. What about the perverts? What about the bats?)
socialmedia 
8 weeks ago
History in the digital age — Medium
If a historian were to write an institutional history of GDS. The sources they could draw from within the public digital sphere would be blogs, tweets and the oral history of those behind GDS. The internal history of how we arrived at gov.uk website would be drawn from GitHub, Google Documents then Basecamp and Slack conversations. We know how an organisation like the FCO with a long history of maintaining records retains it’s institutional memory . But how does a relatively new kid on the block GDS manage information for future historians to research? What of all those post it notes in the margins? Will all those conversations on Slack be available twenty years from now?
history  records 
8 weeks ago
Mobile, smartphones and hindsight — Benedict Evans
It's always fun to laugh at the people who said the future would never happen. But it's more useful to look at the people who got it almost right, but not quite enough. That's what happened in mobile. As we look now at new emerging industries, such as VR and AR or autonomous cars, we can see many of the same issues. The big picture 20 years out is actually the easy part, but the details are the difference between Nokia and DoCoMo ruling the world and the world as it actually happened. There's going to be a bunch of stuff that'll happen by 2025 that we'd find just as weird. 
mobile  future 
9 weeks ago
What’s Next in Computing? — Medium
If the 10–15 year pattern repeats itself, the next computing era should enter its growth phase in the next few years. In that scenario, we should already be in the gestation phase. There are a number of important trends in both hardware and software that give us a glimpse into what the next era of computing might be. Here I talk about those trends and then make some suggestions about what the future might look like.
notforIE  future 
9 weeks ago
Finding the natural motivation for change | pipka.org
The concept of finding the ‘natural motivation’ of players involved is a key component when I’m planning any type of systemic change. This isn’t a particularly unique or new idea, but I am constantly surprised how rarely I see it adopted in practice, and how often things fail by not taking it into consideration. It is critical if you want to take a new idea from the domain of evangelists and into ‘business as usual’ because if you can’t embed something into the normal way people act and think, then whatever you are trying to do will be done reluctantly and at best, tacked on to normal processes as an afterthought.

In recent years I’ve been doing a lot of work to try to change systems, thinking and culture around open government, technology in government and open data, with some success. This is in part because I purposefully take an approach that tries to identify and tap into the natural motivation of all players involved.
changemanagement  collaboration  co-production 
9 weeks ago
Social Media is the new black | Catherine Howe
The need for public servants to become active online reflects a belief that this is the most effective way of starting to experience and therefore understand what our transition to a network society might mean. Without that understanding we are powerless to try and shape it for the future. Social media can be seen as the leading edge of a range of digital and networked technologies which will disrupt the way in which we operate. Best therefore to try and get a grip of this before quantified self or augmented reality really blows your mind.
leadership  socialmedia  networks 
9 weeks ago
Setting standards that stick — Public Innovators’ Network — Medium
The responsibility for those with influence is to find the people who want to do the right thing, and remove everything that gets in their way.

Big organisations run on inertia. That doesn’t mean they stand still. They resist change in their direction and speed. If you’re trying to set standards for what good looks like, to have a real impact, you have to deliver something that disrupts inertia. So to have real bite, you need standards attached to powers. Look forward to becoming unpopular.
organisations  overtonwindow  servicedesign  changemanagement 
9 weeks ago
The NHS’s future is digital – but not if we simply replicate poor paper processes | Candace Imison | Society | The Guardian
In some cases where technological interventions have failed, new systems have simply been layered on top of existing structures and work patterns, creating additional workload for healthcare professionals. The technologies that have produced the greatest immediate benefits have been carefully designed to make people’s jobs easier, with considerable investment in the design process. People we interviewed for our research talked time and again about the importance of using technology to reimagine current work processes. 
workandtools  processdesign 
10 weeks ago
Put down all behaviour hurtful to informality! – Matt Edgar writes here
I believe productive informality is more than nice to have: it forms a virtuous circle that we can turn to our advantage:

Service productivity builds trust
Trust engenders informality
Informality is the route to richer, faster learning
Continual learning is essential for any service to be productive
work  authenticity  leadership 
10 weeks ago
Why historians should care about web archiving | Webstory: Peter Webster's blog
So, in twenty or thirty years’ time, historians of the very late twentieth century will have reason to regret that no-one thought to keep their primary sources safe for them. But there is another problem. It is a brave historian who writes on the very recent past, a remote subject indeed; I myself wrote an article in 2004 that extended up to 1990, and not without some unease about the hostages to scholarly fortune it gave. And so most of the historians who have the greatest personal stake in archiving the web right now haven’t yet entered the profession. I would argue that historians are uniquely well-placed to view the present in relation to the past, and thus to anticipate those aspects of the present for which there is most need for a record. But it would take a significant change in culture such that historians working now start to take a hand in preserving sources for our successors.
history  futures  records 
10 weeks ago
A little while ago I was at UKGovCamp and it was fantastic. — Medium
The sad truth of it is we are all scared, confused and in doubt. We have a general idea that we don’t want to bring shame to the departments or companies we work with and we all know we don’t get everything right all of the time. Something to do with being fallible humans. How pesky.
My impression is this is in part caused by the attention the press rightly pays to the work that we do in government. When we fail we tend to fail big and the public have a right to know why. The sad truth of that of course is yet again no one wants to say anything, so trying to find out why we fail when we do is like getting blood from a stone for the people who have to do this job.
media  transparency 
10 weeks ago
The 7 Deadly Sins of User Research — Medium
My definition of a successful user research study is one that give us actionable and testable insights into users’ needs. It’s no good asking people what they like or dislike, asking them to predict what they would do in the future, or asking them to tell us what other people might do.
The best way of gaining actionable and testable insights is not to ask, but to observe. Your aim is to observe for long enough so that you can make a decent guess about what’s going on. Asking direct questions will encourage confabulation, not tell you what is actually going on.
research  userexperience 
11 weeks ago
Sometimes you need a speedboat, sometimes a container-ship. — Medium
We thought for a long while about how to describe the difference between things which needed to be slow and sure and precise (the CMS) and things which needed to be fast. One had a huge risk of breaking mission critical things if you got it wrong, the other had the huge risk of being built so slowly that a breaking news opportunity was missed or the cost was too high for the duration the application was needed. Eventually we called the slow one a container ship and the fast one a speedboat. Both are useful, both have their place. The thing which enabled speedboats was cheap disposable compute resources, APIs and code to consume the APIs quickly and reliably.
agile  developers 
11 weeks ago
The Waze Effect: AI & The Public Commons — NewCo — Medium
Absent a more robust dialog addressing these issues, we run a real risk of creating a new kind of regulatory capture — not in the classic sense, where corrupt public officials preference one company over another, but rather a more private kind, where a for-profit corporation literally becomes the regulatory framework itself — not through malicious intent or greed, but simply by offering a better way.
algorithms  regulation  innovation 
11 weeks ago
Time to change Twitter, or #RIPTwitter? | Paul Bernal's Blog
The idea of using algorithms is very attractive, but it’s underpinned by an illusion that algorithms are somehow ‘neutral’ or ‘fair’. This is what brings about the idea that Google is a neutral indexer of the internet and a guardian of free speech, but it really is an illusion. Algorithms are human creations and embed ideas and biases that those who create them may well not even be aware of. They can make existing power imbalances worse, as the assumptions that underpin those imbalances are built into the very thought processes that create the algorithms. Yes, people can compensate, but even that act of compensation can bring about further biases. Where the essence of the idea behind an algorithm is to make Twitter more money, then that bias itself will interfere with the process, consciously, subconsciously or otherwise.
socialmedia  twitter  algorithms 
11 weeks ago
The Secret UX Issues That Will Make (Or Break) Self-Driving Cars
We don’t ditch what we have. We constantly update our metaphors, trying to find familiar handholds that quietly explain how a technology works. In digesting new technologies, as we climb a ladder of metaphors, each rung might follow the one before. Over time, we find ourselves further and further from the rungs we started with, so that we eventually leave them behind, like so many tiller-inspired steering wheels.

The deeper lesson in all this is that people naturally get frustrated when something doesn’t do exactly what they imagined; they get lost when things don't work as assumed.
userexperience  servicedesign 
12 weeks ago
Five steps to making a product users love — Medium
This is the culmination of a few years’ worth of discovery, practice and thinking from working with early-stage digital products. This is my playbook that describes what I do, and a little of how I do it.
digital  servicedesign  agile 
12 weeks ago
When bright people make dull policy recommendations | Nesta
The disadvantage of the adviser’s approach is that it doesn’t put a premium on originality. After all, most good policy ideas aren’t original, and most original policy ideas aren’t good. You would expect even a very good policy white paper to include lots of old ideas. This is a problem if you are expecting the chapter to tell you something new and fresh.
policymaking  creativity 
january 2016
What if boldness were an explicit value of the civil service? — Medium
I’ve always been drawn to boldness. I find boldness in others inspiring, infectious, empowering, creative and meaningful. I want to spend time around bold, honest, open people. I want to be inspired and empowered to boldness myself. I know I am at my best when I can feel the weird whoosh of terror and relief that comes from real, heartfelt boldness. And I don’t think you can lead a great team, or transform organisations or services without a healthy amount of boldness.
leadership  authenticity  organisations 
january 2016
Alex Blandford — Elbow grease
Fixing big government digital problems takes elbow grease. It takes political campaigners to get the politicians buy in and the budget, it takes business planners and procurement people to get civil servants used to agile, it takes product managers and delivery teams to show value for money, it takes a range of disciplines, skills beyond sharpies and patience beyond saints.
servicedesign  changemanagement  innovation  bureaucracy 
january 2016
Why Big Companies Keep Failing: The Stack Fallacy | TechCrunch
The stack fallacy provides insights into why companies keep failing at the obvious things —  things so close to their reach that they can surely build. The answer may be that the what is 100 times more important than the how.
design  businesschange  servicedesign 
january 2016
Helping Civil Servants help Citizens | No Quick Wins
I am very much in favour of public servants being trusted to make professional judgements within the context of their work.  But if we want to drive a change towards more modern and efficient tools we should make it easy.  And at the moment, it’s too easy to carry on using a clunky combination of email, attached documents and corporate file shares rather than put the effort into assessing whether an online collaboration tool is fit for purpose – and then working out how to transfer the ‘final version’ into the official record.
organisations  civilservice  information 
january 2016
Bits or pieces?: Cloud is outsourcing but it's not outsourcing (as was).
The problem with outsourcing in the past wasn't the concept of outsourcing but instead that organisations outsourced entire systems for which they had no situational awareness. This was foolish and of course outsourcing got a bad name except from the suppliers who cottoned onto the scam and made oodles of cash out of it. The simple reality is that there's nothing wrong with outsourcing if you break down complex environments into components and outsource those industrialised ones.
businesschange  strategy 
december 2015
Designing a New Operating System for Work — What’s The Future of Work? — Medium
Large organizations are a kind of technology, a technology for scaling up economic activities while minimizing costs of doing so. You could think of it as an operating system for work that’s been running for a century. And now we’re creating a new operating system, based on always-on Internet, mobile devices, social media, sensors and geolocation technologies. But this new operating system for coordinating human activities and creating new kinds of value could also be riddled with catastrophic bugs, pushing large swaths of the population to labor at subsistence levels, with no benefits and little predictability over their earning streams.
work  organisationalchange 
december 2015
The Politics of Empathy and the Politics of Technology — The Message — Medium
The people who run the Internet platforms are making calls about who they think is deserving of empathy. That makes their decisions thoroughly political. The fact that I sympathize with the challenge of making these decisions is not what is important. Rather, I am pointing out that none of these are decisions are automatic outputs emanating from the technology itself, nor are they independent of technology and its characteristics. There are genuine constraints and issues about what’s possible, easy and straightforward to implement. The geo-fencing versus spam issue, for example, cannot be resolved without discussing the Internet’s architecture. Encryption cannot be deactivated for some people (the bad guys) without making all of internet insecure, for example. The politics of technology is politics, but it’s never just politics.
politics  power 
november 2015
Mobile, ecosystems and the death of PCs — Benedict Evans
The things you can only do on a PC, with a native PC application, keep shrinking. Indeed, I've argued elsewhere that it's time to invert our mental model and think of the PC, not the smartphone, as the limited device.

So, each new computing platform will never be used for real work, but the platform gets better and the work changes to fit the new platform. In tech, 'never' seems to be 5-10 years (so does 'soon').
mobile  disruption  innovation 
november 2015
A blog is your brain, over time, on the internet
Over time, a blog becomes a corpus of knowledge - your knowledge, or your organisation’s knowledge. A blog is your brain, over time, on the internet. An archive of what you think now and what you thought before. And that means it’s one of the simplest and most effective ways you can make things open, and make things better.
socialmedia  creativity 
november 2015
Stop saying technology is causing social isolation — Digital Culturist — Medium
We need to stop thinking technology is ruining everything, making us a slave to it, mindlessly using our smartphones all the time. It is not. It is enriching our lives, connecting us to the people that matter the most to us regardless of how far away they are, connecting us to all kinds of people whom we wouldn’t have met otherwise. So, stop feeling superior for making fun of other people because they’re using their smartphones, stop pretending our lives and society would be better without them, stop blaming technology for natural human behaviors.
socialchange  devices  society 
october 2015
Gotta catch ‘em all, or, a story about digital transformation in four movements | Matt Edgar writes here
Members of high-performing teams bring more of themselves to their work. Suits must mix with t-shirts, uniforms must be considered harmful. The broader its collective perspectives, the more empathy a team can build with all its users.

What if users were in the room with you? Would they feel at home? Would they understand the words you use? Would they feel valued and respected? Because workers are users too. And if the way we live our lives is changing, then so must the way we do our work. You can’t truly deliver one without the other.
agile  organisations  delivery 
october 2015
What World Are We Building?
It’s easy to love or hate technology, to blame it for social ills or to imagine that it will fix what people cannot. But technology is made by people. In a society. And it has a tendency to mirror and magnify the issues that affect everyday life. The good, bad, and ugly.
socialnetworks  data  society 
october 2015
So you want to manage a product? — The Product Management Coalition — Medium
Being a product manager is about making compromises between what your team can accomplish within a given period of time and what your customers absolutely need. You will continually be torn between your team, customers, and business in an impossible race against time. The minor victory is in balancing short- and long-term product strategy, no matter if your product was conceived today or twenty years ago.
agile  servicedesign 
october 2015
Putting the “design” into organisation design – FutureGov
Good organisation design is one of the most important factors in making transformation happen, and here’s why: because we can’t bring radical change to the services we deliver without bringing radic
organisations  organisationalchange  design 
october 2015
You Mustn’t Criticise The Status Quo At A Hackday ← Terence Eden's Blog
If you work at a large company, or in a powerful industry, you must listen to your critics. You don't have to believe everything they say about you, nor do you have to accept their arguments. But if you can't listen, you've lost. For everyone brave enough to stand on stage and voice their displeasure, there are many more silently nodding in agreement.
disruption  engagement 
september 2015
Volkswagen and the Era of Cheating Software || Zeynep Tufekci
The good news is that there are well-understood methods to safeguard the integrity of software systems. The bad news is that there is as yet little funding for creating the appropriate regulatory framework for smart objects, or even an understanding of the urgent need for it. We are rightly incensed with Volkswagen, but we should also consider how we have ceded a lot of power to software that runs everything from our devices to our cars, and have not persisted in keeping tabs on it. We correctly worry about hackers and data leaks, but we are largely ignoring the ramifications of introducing software, a form of intelligence, to so many realms — sometimes called the Internet of Things.
internetofthings  security  trust 
september 2015
Richie | Data is not an asset, it’s a liability
You don’t start with the raw data. You start with the questions you want answered. Then you collect the data you need (and just the data you need) to answer those questions.

Think this way for a while, and you notice a key factor: old data usually isn’t very interesting. You’ll be much more interested in what your users are doing right now than what they were doing a year ago. Sure, spotting trends in historical data might be cool, but in all likelihood it isn’t actionable. Today’s data is.

This is important, because it invalidates the whole premise of storing data just in case you’ll need it later. You simply won’t, so incurring the cost of storing and managing and safeguarding it makes no sense at all.

Actionable insight is an asset. Data is a liability. And old data is a non-performing loan.
data  privacy  businessmodels 
september 2015
The Security Risks of Third-Party Data - Schneier on Security
Organizational doxing is a powerful attack against organizations, and one that will continue because it's so effective. And while the network owners and the hackers might be battling it out for their own reasons, sometimes it's our data that's the prize. Having information we thought private turn out to be public and searchable is what happens when the hackers win. It's a result of the information age that hasn't been fully appreciated, and one that we're still not prepared to face.
security  privacy  cloudcomputing 
september 2015
It’s not about us, it’s about collaboration | Government Digital Service
Digital transformation isn’t just service design, it’s organisation design. It’s as much about people as it is about pixels and processors. And it’s hard. Re-thinking digital services means re-thinking how your organisation does things and why it does them in a particular way. It means challenging the status quo and constantly asking “Why?” and “What is the user need?”
businesschange  changemanagement  digital  government 
september 2015
What I’m talking about when I’m talking about government as a platform | Dave Briggs
Digital is not about technology, and government as a platform is not about IT. It is instead a way of rethinking the operating model of an organisation to meet the current and future needs of its customers, in the digital age. The technology is an important enabler, but it is the means rather than the end.
platforms  organisationalchange  digital 
september 2015
The Future of Firms. Is There an App for That? — Medium
For most of the developed world, firms, as much as markets, make up the dominant economic pattern. The Internet is nothing less than an extinction-level event for the traditional firm. The Internet, together with technological intelligence, makes it possible to create totally new forms of economic entities, such as the “Uber for everything” -type of platforms/service markets that we see emerging today. Very small firms can do things that in the past required very large organizations.
transactions  firms  disruption  transformation 
august 2015
Russell Davies: You can't fix services with engagement
How did so many organisations end up here?

Because they've spent money on making their marketing digital, not their processes. They've got good at social media rather than service design.

They've invested in conversations, not services, so now they spend their whole time having conversations about how shit their services are.
servicedesign  socialmedia 
august 2015
Ben Holliday » Asking the right questions to frame the problem
I’ve found that framing the problem is something that teams really struggle with. This should be something we constantly refer back to as we look to iterate and improve what we’re working on. Framing the problem should provide the constraint and reasoning behind new features, or be used to guide the prioritisation of any content and design changes.
design  agile  problemsolving 
july 2015
Web Design - The First 100 Years
Here we are, fifty years into the computer revolution, at what feels like our moment of greatest progress. The outlines of the future are clear, and oh boy is it futuristic.

But we're running into physical and economic barriers that aren't worth crossing.

We're starting to see that putting everything online has real and troubling social costs.

And the devices we use are becoming 'good enough', to the point where we can focus on making them cheaper, more efficient, and accessible to everyone.

So despite appearances, despite the feeling that things are accelerating and changing faster than ever, I want to make the shocking prediction that the Internet of 2060 is going to look recognizably the same as the Internet today.
futures  history  technology 
july 2015
Digital transformation strategy | Deloitte University Press
What separates digital lea­ders from the rest is a clear digital strategy com­bined with a culture and leadership poised to drive the transformation. The history of technological ad­vance in business is littered with examples of companies focusing on technologies without in­vesting in organizational capabilities that ensure their impact. In many companies, the failed imple­mentation of enterprise resource planning and previous generations of knowledge management systems are classic examples of expectations falling short because organizations didn’t change mindsets and processes or build cultures that fostered change.
workandtools  transformation  digital 
july 2015
Lessons for the Public Sector from the Evolution of Early Life | Richard Copley MSc, BSc, SMSITM (and CIO)
It is necessary for each partner to give something up if the eukaryotic organisation is to be created. The thing that you’re losing is sovereignty over some functions. To my mind the kind of protectionism/sovereignty that we typically see in the public sector is a crime. ‘Sovereignty’ is really little more than macho chest thumping and posturing. It is a dog, scent marking its territory. We need to grow up.
organisationalchange  transformation 
july 2015
The WTF Economy — Tim O'Reilly — Medium
Over the past few decades, the digital revolution has transformed the world of media, upending centuries-old companies and business models. Now, it is restructuring every business, every job, and every sector of society. No company, no job is immune to disruption.

I believe that the biggest changes are still ahead, and that every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years, in multiple ways, or fade away. We need to ask ourselves whether the fundamental social safety nets of the developed world will survive the transition, and more importantly, what we will replace them with.
futures  workplace  work 
july 2015
Office, messaging and verbs — Benedict Evans
The way forward for productivity is probably not to take software applications and document models that were conceived and built in a non-networked age and put them into the cloud, or to make carbon copies of them as web apps. This is no different to using your PC to do the same things you used your typewriter for. And of course that is exactly how a lot of people used their PCs - to start with. Just as today we make web app copies of software models conceived for the floppy disk, so the first PCs were often used to type up memos that were then printed out and sent though internal mail. It took time for email to replace internal mail and even longer for people to stop emailing Word files as attachments. Equally, we went from typing expense forms (with carbon copies) to entering them into a Word doc version of the form, to a dedicated Windows app that looked just like the form, to a web page that looked just like the form - and then, suddenly, someone worked out that maybe you should just take a photo of the receipt. It takes time, but sooner or later we stop replicating the old methods with the new tools and find new methods to fit the new tools.  
transformation  workandtools 
july 2015
danah boyd | apophenia » I miss not being scared.
Is our society really worse off because youth take risks and adults don’t? Why are they wrong and us old people are right? Is it simply because we have more power? As more and more adults live long, fearful lives in Western societies, I keep thinking that we should start regulating our decision-making. Our inability to be brash is costing our society in all sorts of ways. And it will only get worse as some societies get younger while others get older. Us old people aren’t imagining new ways of addressing societal ills. Meanwhile, our conservative scaredy cat ways don’t allow youth to explore and challenge the status quo or invent new futures. I keep thinking that we need to protect ourselves and our children from our own irrationality produced from our fears.
socialchange  panopticon 
july 2015
Spaces of possibility | Catherine Howe
The redesign of physical spaces provides an opportunity to reimagine their surrounding digital space. I have been talking here of libraries but this is true of housing, or parks of any other kind of regeneration. My worry is that is if we don’t think about it then we risk ending up with a mish mash of smart vending machines, intelligent lampposts and clever video walls with generic content. These are all marvels in their own right but they don’t create a space for the community which they are designed to serve.
civilsociety  communities  co-creation  design 
july 2015
Some notes on Obama in Charleston | thenextwave
We make our own futures through our choices, if not under the circumstances of our choosing. While speeches rarely create change, they can crystallise it. They can help us choose.
futures  politics  rhetoric  decisionmaking  democracy 
july 2015
me.gov – the future of digital government
By applying the techniques of successful marketers and eCommerce businesses, digital can and should deliver more than efficiency savings for governments. It can improve outcomes by supporting behaviour change and ensuring that the right people access the right services at the right times. And it can improve trust and engagement between citizens and the public services and institutions that their taxes pay for.
personalisation  GaaP  strategy 
june 2015
Discovering discovery | Make it quotidian
Not enough people actually begin at the beginning.

Often when I meet teams working on service transformation, or digital change projects, I find that they’ve begun somewhere else. Perhaps their work began when someone decided the organisation should be using a particular system, so they’re busy trying to implement that, or someone thought a particular process should be put online, so that’s what they’re doing. They’ve been presented with a solution and told to make it work.[...]

This tends to result in teams who are doing their best, but are feeling rather put-upon and disempowered; teams who find that the priorities and targets aren’t entirely clear, or that they keep shifting; teams who can’t really explain the purpose of what they are working on, or who it is for, or what will happen to it after they’ve finished their particular project.
discovery  servicedesign 
june 2015
GovTech is Not Broken | Civic Innovations
The most under-appreciated characteristic of the government procurement process as it exists today is that it’s current design is largely intentional. Much like the federal and state income tax systems, we imbue a number of values deemed important into our procurement processes in the hopes of fostering desired outcomes.
bureaucracy  purchasing 
june 2015
Ben Holliday » Thinking about iteration
It’s important to design and test different design approaches to the problem. This means that we quickly throw away things that aren’t working and move on to something else.

With our approach to prototyping in government the cost of throwing things away should be outweighed by the value of what we’re learning.

It’s only when we’re then confident enough about how well a design approach meets user needs that we should be looking to improve or iterate on this user journey.
iteration  servicedesign 
june 2015
Tomorrow’s World | Perfect Path
In all technology, we face a tension between our desire to make life easier by replacing human labour with code or machines and our attachment to human labour as the primary sense-making tool of life and the means by which most of us get the things we need to live.

We seem to understand that work is changing but most of the #futureofwork stuff I’ve seen assumes capitalism based on corporations as a given.

I do have an opinion on this, I think we need fewer jobs and to really accept that people don’t need any more to work as hard or as long doing stuff to justify staying alive. What I want to do more though is point out the incongruity that our tech efforts go into replacing human labour but our politics, culture and society, our communities and social interactions assume that everyone should have a job or some easily understandable means of income like owning or a company or assets that create value.
futures  humanity  socialchange 
june 2015
being more human at work – disambiguity
Consider every business process as a (usually) poorly solved design problem and approach it like a design team should – firstly understanding the what the actual problem is then thinking about different ways it could be solved, and then choosing the one that actually solves the problem – remembering that businesses are really nothing but groups of humans trying to work together to do something great.
processdesign  servicedesign  workplace 
june 2015
diamond geezer
Those who push their chair in I like, because if one of them is in place I can escape from my desk. Alas they're also in the minority. Most of the people they send to sit next to me are chair-leaver-outers, getting up for a coffee or a meeting and blocking the aisle in their wake. I want to sigh deeply at their thoughtlessness, but by that time they're not usually there, so I simply push their big office chair back under their desk and proceed.
workplace 
june 2015
Government as a platform, or a platform for government? Which are we getting?
The distinction here – and government’s choice – between a blueprint for GaaP that supports participation versus one that supports mere access, is critical. The former is about democratic re-invigoration, and the latter is about – well, just technology. Participation is much more disruptive to existing modes of organising within government.
GaaP 
june 2015
The importance of selective inefficiency » The Spectator
When people try to introduce market competition into a monopoly or public sector organisation, what they generally mean is ‘to make it ruthlessly efficient’. This is a mistake. Successful private sector organisations usually follow the Kano model — they learn to practise selective, symbolic inefficiency because customers like it better that way.
servicedesign  efficiency 
may 2015
Where innovation sits in public service reform | arbitrary constant
Very little can truly be thought of as “innovative”. Having a more honest appraisal of the extent to which something is “new”, in my view, leads to a better understanding of the extent to which this “thing” might achieve change. This also provides us with a better understanding of the practical approaches, tools and techniques that might be useful to take the innovation from its current “degree” to the next, higher “degree”.
innovation  change  changemanagement 
may 2015
Stock and flow / Snarkmarket
Stock and flow is the master metaphor for media today. Here’s what I mean:

Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist.
Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.
socialmedia  speed 
may 2015
Designing digital democracy: a short guide | Geoff Mulgan
My guess is that the most successful models in the next few years will fuse representative and direct elements. They will be honest that the buck still stops with elected representatives – and that the online tools are inputs and supplements rather than replacements. They will present conversation and deliberation as preferable to relying on occasional elections, and the odd binary petition. But they will also be clear that the 21st century parliament or city council has to be a hybrid too – physical and digital.
democracy  decisionmaking 
may 2015
FutureGov | A nuanced post about local government finance
Austerity and the inevitable next wave of cuts is daunting, but throwing our hands up and saying there’s nothing we can do about it is wrong. If you’re a public servant, you can become an accounting archeologist, finding out where money is going and where it’s sitting, uncovering its potential and using it now to invest in public services of the future rather than propping up the past.
planning  lateralthinking  investment  localgovernment 
april 2015
The pursuit of power: Why Isis loves spreadsheets and mafia bosses build chapels - Ian Leslie
The politician, the gangster, and the terrorist all want something from you, though each of them wants something different. The politician wants your vote. The gangster wants your money. The terrorist wants your soul.
power  civilsociety  politics 
april 2015
On the complex relationship between political ignorance and democracy | British Politics and Policy at LSE
Political analysis, if it is to have meaning, should take the ignorance of democratic citizens seriously – but it should also probably take it as a non-negotiable feature of the way that democracies work in the era of mass voting publics.
democracy  politics 
march 2015
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