May 22, 2013
Events, Local Government
createinnovate, global service jam, service design, xjamgov
In the first week of June, I’ll be attending XJamGov, a global service jam event which will be hosted at County Hall in Exeter and organised by the awesome Simon Gough and Phillippa Rose of Redfront Service Design.
There are still tickets left so do check out the site and get yourself signed up.
The event is a public sector focused event and will follow on from the recent XJam event held at the University of Exeter in March (see Paul Clarke’s photos)
This event is part of a wider programme of events during the councils Create / Innovate Month and should help to get us off to a great start and will challenge people’s thinking and help develop ideas and capacity.
June is going to be fun and full of random ideas
May 1, 2013
Digital Framework for Local Public Services, Local Government
framework, LocalGov Digital
As I have conversations with people about the digital framework and the principles I’ve started to think about more and more examples of where the principles would be used in real life.
This post will focus on the principle of “design with not for communities”
In my personal life this principle could be played out in many different scenarios but I’m going to just focus on a couple of areas.
The first and most obvious is my immediate local community, the second and maybe not quite so obvious is my work environment – the most common places where I spend my time.
My local community is not designed around the needs of the community and I know that because no one has ever asked my family what our needs for our local community look like, nor my neighbours based on conversations with them….more likely it has been driven by random opportunities and passionate people who are pursuing individual projects to fulfil some niche pocket of need.
Also it isn’t good enough to simply advertise a community meeting in the local shop with a few days to do at times when working families with young kids would struggle to attend…nor is it good enough to not have any mechanism to connect with the conversation of those meetings in a format which is relevant and more appropriate to the needs of families.
The issue for me is that my local community isn’t designed to facilitate a greater level of connections between the people who live there…there isn’t a common space where people from all across the community come together – the school is close but its excludes many of the older and vulnerable people in the community. If we could create an enabling environment which in increased and fostered the social interaction within my community we would be better able to identify common needs and issues and collaborate and co-design solutions which we felt as a community were more appropriate and agile.
In terms of my workplace, we have just recently moved office which has been a positive step as we are now in a space where we are less likely to that we are interrupting colleagues and more likely to have more meaningful and creative conversations.
Now not all offices need to look the same and it isn’t an easy situation to be in when we are in a very overt climate of hotdesking and flexible working in which all offices are now designed around flexibility of movement and easy of access to equipment. But this fails to recognise those teams who don’t and can’t work in that way and as research suggests open plan offices are actually counter productive
As a school governor we are constantly reminded and focused on improving standards and exploring ways in which all aspects of the school environment can support this. Now I’m only talking from a primary school context but I’m convinced this applies anywhere although as I type I’m not aware of research or evidence as I’ve not looked.
Anyway one of the key things teachers are now doing is using the physical space to increase opportunities for learning and improve the overall environment to support the objectives which is to help the children engage with learning.
If you think about applying that to a work space then each physical location should be designed to support different types of working pattern and where people are lucky enough to have offices then these should support those people to do their jobs better.
But in order to understand how these need to be developed and created you need to involve people, understand their needs and their outcomes and then work with them to create spaces which enable them to work or learn more effectively.
April 22, 2013
Intranet, Local Government
corporate leadership, Yammer
I’ve scheduled this post to coincide with a live yammering event from our Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) which is happening between 10.30am – 12.00pm today (Monday 22nd April).
Over the past 9 months we have been on a journey of future thinking and internal challenge and it has involved over 100 internal colleagues from all across the council. The process has been called Future Landscape and has enabled a range of people to be empowered to think differently, challenge the status quo and consider the unthinkable as well as the obvious.
Today is another step in that journey when some colleagues are taking a report to our Corporate Leadership Team around the findings, conclusions and next steps from the groups involved.
As part of this process we also wanted to provide a live update of the report, feedback and conversations from the chief executives office, so I was asked if I’d be happy to provide live updates to the councils yammer network – of course I said yes…it will be a first and an interesting experience for all involved.
I’m also due to provide an update on Create / Innovate Month which is taking place during June this year (it is also taking shape quite nicely although I know there is so much to sort out and arrange between now and then. One of the key events through the month is XJamGov for more information and tickets check out the site http://xjamgov.co.uk/
The support for Create / Innovate has been great and the Corporate Leadership Team are keen to take an active part in the month…one of the things they will be doing is each meeting during June (one a week) the meeting will be very different – for example the first meeting in June (Monday 3rd) will be held at the Met Office in their Think-up room.
We will be exploring what other things we can do during the month with them at meeting – but we have already started looking at going completely digital/paperless supported by the councils recent Bring our own device strategy as well as asking those who report to think differently about how they engage – so no traditional report templates will be submitted during June (at least that is the aim).
The “patience” aspect of this post is an acknowledgement to the fact that yammer was setup about 3 years ago by someone in the council and I’ve been on a journey to build broader support and engagement for this whole thing for just as long if not longer…there were times when I thought it was time to move on, but something told me to hang in there and keep being persistent. Some may not have wanted to wait as long especially as most I know live by the JFDI mantra…but there are times when you need patience…although it isn’t like we’ve stood still in those 3 years…we have made massive progress but now it isn’t a struggle to push things through…the harder part is keeping up and staying on top of things
April 19, 2013
Digital Framework for Local Public Services, Local Government
digital framework, framework, Local Public Services
One of the things I wanted to do when I first sketched the framework here – was to get it looking a bit more organised and professional.
So a colleague has taken the sketch and made it look better (see below)
I’ve also decided to adapt it and include reference to the value proposition canvas that Martin Howitt refers to and he states:
places have intrinsic value and we need to understand what that value is before we go about enhancing that value with digital transformations.
I recommend reading Martin’s post, it is an important componenbt within the framework and It is also a key part of it.
In the meantime here is the latest version of the framework
April 15, 2013
Architecture, Community Engagement, Digital Framework for Local Public Services, engagement, Future, governance, Local Government, Open Data
co-productive, councillors, digital by design, framework, Local Government, localgov, Localgovdigital, networked, open by default, public services
I make no apologies that probably the majority of my future posts will be linked to explaining and exploring in more detail the Digital Framework for Local Public Services.
So this post is focusing on some of the middle area of the picture…in particular the box around leadership and decision-making. This part of the journey is critical not just in a wider context of leadership and decision-making but in ensuring that we have open and transparent local decision-making as well as a clear accountability in terms of local representation.
To recap I previously explained this area in this way:
We require strong visible leadership to enable transformation and strong decisions that ensure that we all contribute to creating a climate for growth and wellbeing. The leadership can also come from anywhere not just local public service providers
Capacity Building / Networks and Networks of Networks
Stimulating local action and identifying and connecting with networks and networks of networks to generate and create new opportunities and markets.
These connections can and will come from anywhere, this is not solely down to the council or local authority – this is about people and places.
Now all this is easy to write and even easier to say, but the practical implications of this are slightly more complicated and require a shift in thinking about what we should expect of our future leaders and decision makers and how we help those people become networked and connected.
Now the great thing about the internet is that you can always find and connect to people who are in a far better position to dig deeper into the thinking and that is exactly what Catherine Howe has done in relation to the Networked Councillors project. It came out of two things:
If we are going to have more networked and digital citizens we are going to need politicians with the right skills – we will need networked councillors but we have not yet really explored what that means
Just showing people how to use twitter doesn’t solve the problem
I’m really pleased that Catherine has shared this work as I personally think it validates the wider framework and also adds a layer of detail which I was obviously lacking (on purpose of course)
The report on the website is well worth a read and is easy to digest.
I want to pick out another quote form the report which to me helps to proactively link this to the wider framework and the language of the framework which is:
The qualities that the Networked Councillor should embody are found in the way in which Next Generation Users are approaching and using technology. We suggest that the following qualities, which can already be evidenced online, will be inherent:
Open by default: This is open not just in terms of information but also in terms of thinking and decision-making
Digitally native: Networked Councillors will be native in or comfortable with the online space, not in terms of age but in terms of the individual adopting the behaviours and social norms of the digital culture
Co–productive: Co-production is a way of describing the relationship between Citizen and State which brings with it an expectation that everyone in the conversation has power to act and the potential to be active in the outcome as well as the decision-making process
Networked: A Networked Councillor will be able to be effective via networked as well as hierarchical power as a leader
This is obviously one part of a wider complex environment and although this report is focused on councillors specifically it also applies itself to future leaders and decisions makers whether a local councillor or not….however for me this is a fantastic start to the discussion and conversation.