Full stack decision making
I know that many organisations are still designed around that hierarchy but if your goal is to end up with an organisation that is less silo’d at the same time as being more collaborative, adaptive and flexible it seems sensible to look to the thinking which is designed to support a more sophisticated view of decision making then that of a hierarchy where things get rolled up and then down the hill to get an decision.
decisions  democracy  governance 
august 2018
From stand-ups to scrutiny
Marrying agile habits with traditional local government governance is easier said than done. If we’re not careful, bringing in agile can add another layer of governance, where stand-ups become daily team meetings and show and tells become programme boards and vice versa. It can lead to a hell of a lot of repetition, which in turn means people engaged with traditional governance have short shrift for agile.
august 2018
What will Liam Maxwell’s departure from government mean for digital? - Public Sector IT
It was Maxwell who overhauled the technology governance process, introduced spend controls, and was often credited as one of the main architects of government IT reform during the coalition government.
cloud  liammaxwell  government  technology 
august 2018
Why You Need To Know About Low-Code, Even If You're Not Responsible For Software Delivery
Low-code development platforms are emerging as a key strategy to accelerate app delivery to support digital business transformation. And they have the potential to make software development as much as 10 times faster than traditional methods.
august 2018
What’s Next for Google
Having invested over thirty billion dollars over the last three years in its infrastructure from hardware to submarine cables, Google has bought itself a seat at the adult’s table.

The question at Next wasn’t, then, whether Google belongs in a conversation with the likes of AWS, Azure and, increasingly, Alibaba. The question is where Google is choosing to invest that capital, and how those investments are paying off.
google  cloud 
july 2018
YC’s 2018 Summer Reading List
A post about summer reading on Hacker News inspired us to put a list together for 2018. Here’s what we’ve been reading.
july 2018
9 critical tools for designing a product
But, at its heart, design is about solving problems. Once you’ve defined your problem well and determined what you want your outcome to be, Lean UX encourages you to do as little work as possible to get to your desired outcome, just in case your desired outcome isn’t exactly perfect. That means doing only the amount of design you need to validate your hypothesis.
product  design 
july 2018
Podcasting on WordPress.com
Did you know that WordPress.com allows you to host your own podcast, right from your WordPress.com website? And we’ve recently updated our podcasting tools, simplifying the process of starting or managing your podcast.
podcasting  wordpress 
july 2018
Review: A Counterfeit, $100 iPhone X
We disassembled the phone and asked security researchers to probe it to find out what it is. Verdict: It's wild.
android  iphone  apple  hardware 
july 2018
Outsourcing: The Socitm view
Today, the picture is very different. Socitm policy advocates ‘smart sourcing’ as critical for successful ICT delivery – more aligned with common sense than past Whitehall policies. This is particularly important today, with cloud models offering more flexibility in scale and cost than traditional ICT outsourcing.
ict  outsourcing 
july 2018
On Microsoft Teams in Office 365, and why we prefer walled gardens to the Internet jungle
Having lots of features is one thing, winning adoption is another. Microsoft lacked a unifying piece that would integrate these various elements into a form that users could easily embrace. Teams is that piece. Introduced in March 2017, I initially thought there was nothing much to it: just a new user interface for existing features like SharePoint sites and Office 365/Exchange groups, with yet another business messaging service alongside Skype for Business and Yammer.
collaboration  office365  microsoft  teams  productivity 
july 2018
IT Matters Again: The Enterprise of The Future Present
But the real answer to the question depends on how IT is defined. If narrow definition is used and IT is taken to mean nothing more than base infrastructure, then Carr’s viewpoint remains correct. If, however, the definition of IT encompasses the entirety of an organization’s technology portfolio and strategy, however, the assertion that IT doesn’t matter could not be less accurate today.
technology  strategy 
july 2018
Why MHCLG is backing a local government digital revolution
Our message is simple: when it comes to transforming public services to meet the raised expectations of citizens, our similarities are greater than our differences.

So, we are committing to work together to share knowledge, to get better services from our technology suppliers, and ultimately to pave the way for the next era in public service delivery.
localgov  digital 
july 2018
It’ll be different this time - honest! Cabinet Office Minister makes the sales pitch for the outsourcing industry
There should be a situation where outsourcing in the public sector can be managed appropriately and used to complement in-house service delivery and policy-making.

The problem is that such a balance demands in-house skills – and we outsourced all of them!
july 2018
Developing our API strategy [at Hackney]
Writing great APIs demands we use a range of techniques to improve the way we write code. Pair programming, test-driven development and coding in the open are all important attributes of writing great code and therefore making our APIs reusable outside Hackney.
api  programming 
july 2018
Professional blogs are a lot like reality TV
They’re part of “working in the open”, sure. Showing what you’re doing, and that you haven’t (yet?) replaced everyone by robots. But corporate blogs that are consistently a good read, and not done by a tiny start up, are not “open”. At least not in the way we normally think of “openness”, as a synonym for unmediated.
july 2018
How to guarantee an enterprise project failure. The Anchorage payroll example
The Anchorage payroll project, now in its seventh year and with costs ballooning from a projected $10 million to over $80 million provides a solid example of how to guarantee an enterprise project failure.
it  failure 
june 2018
Building the GOV.UK of the future
We need to prepare for a world where people might not access GOV.UK through their computer or smartphone, but could be using Alexa, Google Assistant or some technology that hasn’t even been created yet. We need to make GOV.UK understandable by humans and machines.
government  digital  web 
june 2018
What makes someone a good digital leader?
Doing things better is hard because it presupposes you know what you are doing and why you are doing it. You have to understand and be clear on your goals and your vision, and the outcomes you want your projects, programmes and organisation to meet. And you have to have the trust and explicit support of everyone around you.
digital  leadership 
june 2018
After twenty years of Salesforce, what Marc Benioff got right and wrong about the cloud
It’s time to reconsider the SaaS model in a modern context, integrating developments of the last nearly two decades so that enterprise software can reach its full potential. More specifically, we need to consider the impact of IaaS and “cloud-native computing” on enterprise software, and how they’re blurring the lines between SaaS and on-premises applications. As the world around enterprise software shifts and the tools for building it advance, do we really need such stark distinctions about what can run where?
june 2018
Bridging the Digital Skills Gap in the Digital Workplace
Right now, there is growing interest in the role that learning can play in organisational change, but we are starting from a place where learning is seen as separate to the practice of work, and also something different from more operationally focused knowledge sharing.
digital  learning 
june 2018
Facebook and Google must start supporting Wikipedia, or it will die
The digital commons has become a common problem, clogged by disinformation, stripped of privacy and squeezed by insatiable shareholders. Online propagandists stoke violence, data brokers sway elections, and our most intimate personal information is for sale to the highest bidder. Faced with these difficulties, big tech is increasingly turning to Wikipedia for support.
june 2018
FixMyStreet Pro meets Salesforce: integrated street reporting for Rutland
This is our first Salesforce integration, and it was made possible through the use of an API, developed by Rutland’s own tech team. At our end, all we had to do was write the code to integrate with it, and boom, two-way communication.
salesforce  integration  crm 
june 2018
The wellsprings of UK digital reform part 2 – separating porcine lip enhancement from transformation
Transformation is a world away from simply polishing the way things are currently done (the “lipstick on pigs” approach – the tired web- and form-based service design ethos of the past few decades, stuck Groundhog Day-like inside the broken silos and reference frames of existing organisational services). Improving our public services relies on the ability to step back and rethink and redesign current public policy by focusing relentlessly and selflessly on improved outcomes, with a profoundly beneficial and positive impact on people and their experience of delivering or receiving public services.
digital  government 
june 2018
An open data standard for planning applications?
We’re working to find out what a digital planning application service would look like if it were “so good, people prefer to use it”. However, one of the early things we learnt was that high quality data is the key enabler of providing a better digital service. 
planning  data  localgov  digital 
june 2018
What if 1984 never happened?
The truth is, that businesses (and in particular, local governments) cannot afford armies of developers (or even one or two for that matter) building tools, forms and workflows every day. There are better things to do with those valuable and scarce people / resources. So called 'low code' platforms are simply an evolutionary step.
june 2018
The Cost of Developers
...lacking a platform with sufficient users to attract developers, Microsoft has to “acquire” developers directly through superior tooling and now, with GitHub, a superior cloud offering with a meaningful amount of network effects. The problem is that acquiring developers in this way, without the leverage of users, is extraordinarily expensive; it is very hard to imagine GitHub ever generating the sort of revenue that justifies this purchase price.
microsoft  GitHub  developers 
june 2018
Improving London-wide planning data: what we found…
There are bigger issues at work: software that does not reflect the needs of its users, a Planning Portal that does not collect as much data in a useful form as it could, and teams who might benefit from tapping into another’s information and workflows.
planning  data 
june 2018
GitHub, Glitch and the Future of Social Coding
Let’s put it short and sweet: Microsoft buying GitHub is likely to be good news for developers.
GitHub  microsoft 
june 2018
OpenStack in transition
OpenStack is one of the most important and complex open-source projects you’ve never heard of. It’s a set of tools that allows large enterprises ranging from Comcast and PayPal to stock exchanges and telecom providers to run their own AWS-like cloud services inside their data centers.
cloud  opensource 
june 2018
Delivery-driven Government
The movement to modernize government technology has been focused on the delivery of government services using modern technology and best practices. But that is only half the solution; now we must also learn to drive policy and operations around delivery and users, and complete the feedback circuit. Only then can we effectively achieve the goals government policies intend.
digital  government 
june 2018
What have we learned from the Service Design Conference (SD in Gov)
I’ve not heard anyone disagree that this is a good thing. There were many people at the event who were passionate about user centred services and about designing end to end services. Why is user research not given the priority it needs and why do we still continue to pay little attention to it when undertaking transformation activity and service redesign?
localgov  digital  servicedesign 
june 2018
Growing communities beyond the edges of the organisation
In digitally mature organisations we are used to seeing strong communities of engaged, self-selecting members gathered around a shared purpose beyond that of their day to day jobs. Organisational communities thrive because they add an extra dimension to the organisational structure, and can increase the number of connections each individual has across the organisation’s network.
communities  workplace  culture 
may 2018
The Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook
The Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook compiles what we’ve learned from four years of delivering digital services for government clients. Our playbook builds on and extends the Digital Services Playbook by the United States Digital Service. The USDS playbook is a valuable set of principles, questions, and checklists for government to consider when building digital services. If followed, the plays make it more likely a digital services project will succeed.
government  digital 
may 2018
Throw away your corporate training plan
Transforming an organisation is fundamentally about working with people to help them do new things and work in new ways. There’s a whole industry built on workplace training with courses, curricula and training providers to fit almost any skills gap. But when it comes to digital transformation, this way of thinking falls short in several ways.
training  learning  digital 
may 2018
UK Home Office's £885m crim records digi project: A 'masterclass in incompetence'
In a report published today, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the modernisation programme was yet another example of a Home Office project "marred by poor planning, delays, spiralling costs, and a failure to understand what service users want".
technology  government  failure 
may 2018
To take the next step on digital, we dropped the word ‘digital’
Although digital technologies are a powerful way to change a service, what really matters is the method with which change is done: user research, UX design, agile working, co-design, and solving problems in experimental ways. We now want to apply those methods to a wider set of problems, not all involving digital tech.
charity  digital 
may 2018
Understanding legacy technology in government
“I think we have to accept that there's going to be legacy stuff out there, and there's going to be unsupported systems. So it would be better to accept that we’ve got that and come up with strategies for how we're going to manage that.”
legacy  technology  gds 
may 2018
Data maturity [self assessment]
This tool is designed to help you make an honest assessment of how advanced your organisation is at dealing with data. You can compare your assessment with others from your own organisation, and from around the country.
may 2018
Top tips for nonprofits building digital services
Digital technology, coupled with design approaches, can help third sector organisations expand the reach of existing services, sense and respond to new needs as they emerge, and achieve more for less.
digital  Charities 
may 2018
The Hitchhikers guide to Engaging SMEs and Local Government in Innovation
Due to time constraints, many Local Government Service leads are inevitably ‘heads down’ and perhaps overwhelmed by the variety of technology on offer. It can be hard to team up with neighbouring boroughs because that adds complexity and may slow things down through collaborative decision making. They need more ‘heads up’ time to reflect and review what is going on elsewhere, and try to be open minded and consider wider options – we as SMEs on the other hand need to present our products in terms of their benefits, in plain English, not as a technology offer.
procurement  digital 
may 2018
The Bill Gates Line [when is a platform actually a platform?]
'A platform is when the economic value of everybody that uses it, exceeds the value of the company that creates it. Then it’s a platform.'
business  platforms 
may 2018
Ignore the hype over big tech. Its products are mostly useless
The endless noise emanating from Silicon Valley essentially has two complementary elements. One is all about dreams so unlikely that they beggar belief: the idea that the Tesla CEO Elon Musk will one day set up a colony on Mars; or that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg can successfully marshal an attempt to “cure, prevent and manage” all diseases in a single generation. Whatever its basis in fact, this stuff casts people and corporations as godlike visionaries, and then provides a puffed-up context for the stuff the big tech companies shout about week in, week out: stuff we either don’t need or, worse, which threatens some of the basic aspects of everyday civilisation.
may 2018
Why Local Government must share the driving to accelerate transformation benefits
There is a huge opportunity for local authorities to share common digital service patterns for highly defined, commoditised services that are repeated across multiple organisations. For services like reporting missed bins, FOI requests and complaints for example, how fundamentally different should the user journeys for these services be between individual authorities? Or, put another way, at a time of such pressure on public finances, can we continue to justify the level of local variation in the design and delivery of these services that we continue to see across the country?
digital  localgov 
may 2018
And for His Next Act, Ev Williams Will Fix the Internet
As a co-founder of Blogger and Twitter and, more recently, as the chief executive of the digital publishing platform Medium, Mr. Williams transformed the way millions of people publish and consume information online.

But as his empire grew, he started to get a gnawing feeling that something wasn’t right. High-quality publishers were losing out to sketchy clickbait factories. Users were spending tons of time on social media, but they weren’t necessarily happier or better informed. Platforms built to empower the masses were rewarding extremists and attention seekers instead.
blogging  internet 
may 2018
Fail by design: Banking′s legacy of dark code
Is it modernize or die? Or modernize and die? For banks updating their computer systems with secure mobile features it can be both. Many run mainframes on legacy code that's gone dark — no one understands it anymore.
banking  technology  legacy 
may 2018
From service design to systems change
Systems analysis at the ‘front end’ of service design can help us to better understand complex social problems and identify opportunities to respond more effectively and profoundly. Equally, systems thinking provides tools and mindsets to understand the power structures and ‘system immune responses’ which so often kill new solutions before they get off the ground.
design  systems 
may 2018
Out of the shadows [on low code in local gov]
At Adur & Worthing, our use of low code is core to our service design programme and the main tool used by our central digital team in change projects. We don’t go this way every time — we’re not purists — but time and again, we prove to ourselves it’s the better way.
lowcode  digital 
may 2018
Silicon Valley Can't Be Trusted With Our History
We create almost everything on the internet, but we control almost none of it.
internet  content  history 
may 2018
Making public policy in the digital age
When the policy is broken, the service fails. And when the service fails, trust in the institution providing the service diminishes. More often that not, high-profile breakdowns are seized upon as a failures of technology or implementation. The truth is that policy is often the culprit.
may 2018
Bezos: A CEO Who Can Write
Bezos’ letters make splendid material for a Business School course on Strategy and Communication. A caveat applies, however. Most of the strategies and practices advocated by Amazon’s founder have broad applicability, but a central mystery remains: Bezos himself, his combination of early life experience, intellect, emotional abilities and communication skills. Being Bezos isn’t teachable.
amazon  communication  strategy 
may 2018
Service design at NHS Digital
user’s point of view – from the very beginning of how users become aware the service exists, to the very end of them leaving it. But what makes service design different from just thinking about the user journey, is also the need to design the service from front to back.
april 2018
‘There Is No Public Internet, and [Wikipedia is] the Closest Thing to It’
...we sort of are a legacy of the original spirit of the web, and that’s very much what the Wikimedia Foundation was created to do — to ensure that Wikipedia was preserved as a nonprofit entity, with respect for community governance, and in the public interest and in the public spirit.
web  wikipedia 
april 2018
50 Big Companies that Started with Little or No Money
To help illustrate how companies can get started without a seed round, we’ve collected over 50 examples of businesses that started with a few thousand dollars, or even just sweat equity, and went on to become exemplars of what we call “efficient entrepreneurship.”
april 2018
What is ‘commissioning’?
Much of the value of commissioning, I believe, is that it is an emerging field — not yet fully formed and devoid of inspiration. Yet there is much commissioning practice and activity out there.
april 2018
Liam Maxwell explains rationale behind DCMS taking data control away from GDS
National Technology Adviser Liam Maxwell has said that the decision for DCMS to take data away from GDS is about interfacing with the digital economy.
data  gds  dcms  government 
april 2018
How to Build Your Own “Spotify Model”
At the end of the day, use the Spotify model as an inspiration for what’s possible when you spend time and attention developing your own operating system — not as a model for what your own system may end up looking like. Design, test, and evolve your own model as inclusively as possible. Don’t do a big-bang change towards a new static target operating model, but instead build the muscle for continuous participatory change.
business  model  organisation  agile 
april 2018
Proxeus wants to be the WordPress of blockchain
Can blockchain technology fix the soul sucking tedium and cost of back-and-forth bureaucracy? The Swiss team behind a blockchain-based platform, called Proxeus, believes it can — and that that will be just the tip of what decentralization brings down the pipe, once components such as crypto identities become an accepted (and legal) standard.
april 2018
CDO for Scottish Local Government Digital Office, Martyn Wallace - Creating shareable platforms for local government
Successful digital transformation in the public sector requires a significant shift in mind set from all employees to generate the best possible return for citizens. Councils also need to work together to generate ideas and platforms, which can then be shared across local government.
digital  localgov  scotland 
april 2018
The Right Way to Build an Online Community
These products have come to be called ‘social media,’ but that’s not what Flickr was. Flickr was an online community. The reason they started calling it social media is because you can sell media. You can sell column inches, you can sell broadcast hours, you can advertise against it. But Flickr was not social media. Flickr was an online community.
flickr  community 
april 2018
Chat is Google’s next big fix for Android’s messaging mess
A top-tier Android phone can cost upwards of a thousand dollars, and for that money, you’ll get some amazing features. It will have a stellar screen, top-flight camera, gobs of storage, and an absolutely atrocious texting experience.
google  android  messaging 
april 2018
Smart London Camp 2018
Yesterday [Rob Miller] joined a large group of people whose idea of the best way to spend a beautiful sunny Saturday was to gather together in London’s City Hall and discuss ideas for ways that London can get the most out of the opportunities that ‘smart city’ developments offer.
london  smart  digital  government 
april 2018
Introducing the three C’s of Responsible Technology
Responsible Technology considers the social impact it creates and seeks to understand and minimise its potential unintended consequences.
culture  internet 
april 2018
Do you need a blockchain?
Blockchain technology is set to have a profound impact on a wide variety of industries, ranging from capital markets to the music business. While some use cases may seem obvious, the technology is still surrounded by its fair share of hype and uncertainty. As a manager, how should you approach the subject, and when should you put your money where your mouth is and actively aim to implement blockchain technology?
april 2018
Defining digital standards for the NHS
With the particular needs of healthcare users and NHS having a strong, trusted brand, we’re noticing more and more that we need to go beyond the GDS standard and define our own universal method.
digital  health  standards 
april 2018
Can government stop losing its mind?
Can government remember? Is it condemned to repeat mistakes? Or does it remember too much and so see too many reasons why anything new is bound to fail?
data  government 
april 2018
The wellsprings of UK digital reform part 1 – the backstory
While there are some great pockets of work taking place to deliver better public services, the UK government’s overall attempts at technology-enabled, or “e-government” or “digital”, reform appear to be struggling to achieve and sustain the benefits promised at the pace and scale originally foreseen. And not for the first time – this has been a repeating cycle of optimism and disillusionment since the mid-1990s. So why is this?
digital  government 
april 2018
Service patterns could be big! (actually .. small)
There’s a knotty systemic and cost problem with local authorities and other public service organisations delivering essentially the same core services in different parts of the country. We all recognise that we are often doing the same thing, but we are stuck doing it slightly differently from each other. The wise understand that standardisation (as we currently imagine the path to it) is impossible and undesirable, but it’s still true that we have unwittingly created a costly ‘bespoking’ market that commercial providers of one sort and another exploit.
digital  design 
april 2018
From USENET to Facebook: The second time as farce
Facebook repeats the pattern of USENET, this time as farce. As a no-holds-barred Wild West sort of social network, USENET was filled with everything we rightly complain about today.
facebook  usenet  communities 
april 2018
OLPC’s $100 laptop was going to change the world — then it all went wrong
By the time OLPC officially launched in 2007, the “green machine” — once a breakout star of the 21st-century educational technology scene — was a symbol of tech industry hubris, a one-size-fits-all American solution to complex global problems. But more than a decade later, the project’s legacy is more complicated than a simple cautionary tale. Its laptops are still rolling off production lines, and a new model is expected later this year.
history  hardware 
april 2018
Blogging is most certainly not dead
Social media is as compelling as ever, but people are increasingly souring on the surveillance state Skinner boxes like Facebook and Twitter. Decentralized media like blogs and newsletters are looking better and better these days…
april 2018
Broken words and why they matter
Digital – as a word – is broken. We have slapped it onto the front of two many old world applications in an attempt to normalise and ‘make safe’ new concepts that at this point saying something is digital is a bit like saying water is wet
digital  transformation 
april 2018
#LocalDigitalSkills – making digital inclusion happen, together
... we want there to be Local Digital Skills Partnerships all over the country.
digitalinclusion  skills 
april 2018
Kick-off for the essex.gov.uk project
To help us understand the ‘as is’ in more detail we’ve gathered insights from available data and call centre staff, tested how easy it is for users to find things on the site and identified some key gaps in understanding around the importance of designing for user need, measurement and accessibility.
web  digital  localgov 
april 2018
10 steps for digital success [from] Hertfordshire County Council
You want people to use your digital service.

You want best value for money when you buy or build new digital services.

Here are 10 steps to success.
digital  localgov 
april 2018
The blockchain primer that George Washington would understand
Fundamentally the most important part of blockchains is not algorithms, nor cloud servers, nor user interfaces — it’s people. More specifically: it’s about accountability between people.
april 2018
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