A few weeks ago, I was in the middle of debugging some of my code for the project I’m working on when a notification on Slack caught my attention. I had been mentioned on our Slack #news-feed channel. It was my line manager, congratulating me for my first year at dxw. “A whole year! Where has the time gone?” I thought.

2020 has been quite the year for everyone. For me, it has also brought positive things since it was the year when I got to start a new career as a software developer, and I landed my first developer job at dxw.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

By the time I decided to do a coding bootcamp, I had been a nurse for about 15 years. I moved to London from Spain to work in the NHS. Over the years I changed roles a few times, moving from dialysis to ICU and finally becoming a liver transplant coordinator.

Despite these changes and trying new roles, my motivation as a nurse was declining quickly. It got to a point where I decided I didn’t want to spend the rest of my working life in a profession I no longer enjoyed.

Luckily, I had been exposed to programming early in my life. At the age of 10 I was taught it in school, using (nostalgia warning!) QBasic in the CPC computers we had. I really liked it then and I think I wasn’t too bad at it. I always had a keen interest in technology so when I thought of leaving nursing, the decision to go into that area was clear to me.

Despite having good reasons for changing careers, it wasn’t an easy decision to make. Leaving my profession after so many years meant leaving my comfort zone and entering a big unknown, but great things can happen when we take these kinds of risks. And for me, spoiler alert, it all worked out well in the end.

At first, I spent some time coding with online resources in my spare time. Then I did a coding bootcamp and I don’t regret it at all. It was a great experience and it completely changed my life. I learned the basics of coding and we built some nice minimal viable products at the end of the course. It was through the students’ community I heard about a junior developer role at dxw.

It was the first time dxw was hiring junior developers because they felt they were at a stage to give the right support and attention to them, so it was a new experience for both the company and myself. After doing some research about dxw, the ethos, and the work they do, I decided to apply for the role. And after a few interviews and some technical tests, I was offered 1 of the 2 positions available. I couldn’t have been happier.

One year as a junior developer at dxw

My start in the company felt very strange to me. It was a new job and a new career. It was something completely different to what I used to do. Suddenly, I was sitting in an office in front of a computer, writing code, pairing with other developers, attending standups and retros. There were no ventilator alarms going off, or loud crash calls around me. It felt almost surreal to be there.

The support I received from dxw has always been great, and it was much appreciated at the very beginning. People were just there whenever I asked for help. Apart from my line manager, I was assigned a mentor, and I also had a helper. They all made my first few months at work a lot less stressful.

At the beginning, I shadowed other developers and their projects to get a feeling of what working in a multidisciplinary team in an agile way was like. Then the other junior developer and I were given our first internal project where we worked together, with help from other dxw members. Everything was slowly feeling more and more real.

After that, I went back to client projects in a more active role, pairing with developers on their tasks instead of just shadowing them. The first project I worked on was the Report your Official Development Assistance service where the team was building a system for staff from the Department Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and their partners to report how they spend international aid funds.

After some time pairing with other developers, I was given small tasks of my own to work on independently. That boosted my confidence. It was at this time that the pandemic kicked in and we were all working from home. It was a challenge to be full time and remote suddenly, especially when you still have so much to learn and you also have other commitments at home that make it difficult to stay focused for a number of hours a day.

The team made this transition a lot easier, and dxw has been supportive of their employees throughout the entire pandemic. This has made a big difference, taking a good portion of the stress and the struggle away.

After a couple of months on BEIS, an opportunity came up to work with the charity Mind to help them rebuild their peer support online platform. It was very exciting to work on a project like that, and to have a real impact on people’s lives. I was combining technology with the aspects I always enjoyed from my previous profession – helping people and improving their lives.

And finally, I went back to the BEIS project. This time as a billable member of the developer team and I’ve been working on this project since. I’ve learned a lot from the rest of the team and the experience has been great. I’ve seen myself feeling more confident every day, and the work I do is valued by my colleagues.

Looking into the future

I know it’s only been a year, but when I look back I see that I’ve come such a long way since I started. I only have good words to describe my first year at dxw. I’m really looking forward to the future, to keep doing tech for good, to building more services, to keep working with such amazing people, and learning from them.

Changing career and doing the bootcamp was definitely the right decision, so if you arrived at this post because you’re thinking of doing something similar, I would encourage you to go for it. 100%. No matter what your technology skills are, or your professional background, or your personal situation.

It’s never too late to change your life. Don’t be discouraged by any of those things. My main piece of advice would be that when you start looking for your first job as a developer, find yourself a good supportive company that shows they care for their people and are committed to help their juniors. That made all the difference for me.

The post Humans of dxw – from nursing to coding appeared first on dxw.

Original source – dxw

Government Digital Service podcast with Vanessa, Kate & Nick.

The Clinically Extremely Vulnerable People Service – or “VPS” – was set up as part of the government’s response to coronavirus to provide support for clinically extremely vulnerable people who were advised to stay at home in England, otherwise known as “shielding”.

Between 23 March to 30 July 2020, the VPS facilitated more than 4.2 million deliveries of essential supplies (including food and medicine), enabled citizens to access support for basic health and care needs while shielding, and provided priority supermarket deliveries.

In this month’s episode of the GDS Podcast, we talk to some of the teams behind the impressive cross-government collaboration between the Government Digital Service (GDS), NHS Digital, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Listen to hear insider perspectives from:

  • Sally Benson, Service Delivery at DWP
  • Martin Woolhead, Acting Deputy Director for Food for the Vulnerable at Defra
  • Kate Nicholls, Patient Contact & Data Team / Shielding Directorate at MHCLG
  • Nick Tait, Service Owner / Shielded Vulnerable People Service at GDS

You can subscribe to the GDS podcast on Apple Music, Spotify and all other major podcast platforms. You can read a transcript of the podcast on Podbean.

Original source – Government Digital Service

Last night we heard from the Prime Minister about the Government’s roadmap for easing the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in England. We heard him talk about a future that will be ‘very different and incomparably better’ than today. We’re all hoping so!

But as the nation’s families welcome the end to home schooling and we look forward to opportunities to see our friends and families again, it’s important that the cold harsh reality of digital exclusion doesn’t become something that melts from national consciousness in the warm, bright Spring sunshine.

The digital divide existed before the pandemic and will continue to exist when the pandemic is under control. Scrolling through my Twitter timeline, reports show the pandemic has entrenched and magnified inequality in all areas of life, from health to income, employment to housing. We haven’t all experienced the pandemic equally and we will definitely not all be experiencing the next months and years of recovery equally.

So while this is a moment for all of us to feel more optimistic, it’s also a pivotal moment for the Government to show it is truly committed to levelling up our society.

As Helen Buckingham, Director of Strategy at the Nuffield Trust succinctly put it this week; “COVID-19 has highlighted the inequalities that already existed in society. If we regard ourselves as a good society, we need to do something about that.”

Increased awareness of digital inequalities

During lockdown it’s been heartening to see major figures including England rugby star Mario Itoje using their voices to prompt action to tackle digital exclusion for children in households without devices. We’ve also seen the BBC re-launch its Make a Difference: Give a Laptop campaign to help provide access to laptops and devices for people in need.

Through our own Everyone Connected programme (previously DevicesDotNow), working with our community partners up and down the country, we’ve continued to help vulnerable adults to get online, giving them a vital lifeline to stay in touch with loved ones, to access Government support, to find work and speak to their GP online. I’ve been delighted by the huge financial support from businesses and charities, and humbled by the public donations made to our Crowdfunder campaign, which now stands at over £57,000.

So now there’s an increase in awareness about the devastating impact being on the wrong side of the digital divide can cause; let’s be ambitious about closing it. 

According to Lloyds Consumer Digital Index 2020, 9 million adults in the UK can’t use the internet without help. Where digital for life and work has become the new normal, it isn’t OK to leave millions of people behind.

With unemployment predicted by the OBR to hit 2.6m in 2021 and companies changing at pace due to the pandemic, ensuring that people in work and seeking work have digital skills will be key to powering the post-Covid economic recovery. Research from the Cebr shows that for every £1 invested there is a £14.80 benefit – this means a £70 million investment has an impact of £1 billion to the economy.

In December, Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman committed in Parliament to work with Good Things Foundation to fix the digital divide and said the Government’s commitment to this agenda ‘should not be doubted for a second’.  

Now would be a good time to make good on that pledge, and banish any doubt, with firm policies and funding to tackle the digital divide once and for all, for the benefit of everyone in our society.

We need an ambition that we can close the digital divide – because we can. An ambition for a 100% digital included nation. 

We need an ambition and a joined up plan – a national roadmap setting out the mini-milestones along the way.

I think the Government knows how critical closing the digital divide is to the nation’s prosperity, but they are fearful that if they articulate this ambition then they will have to pay the bill for it alone. That’s not the case. Industry and the social sector are ready to work together, with Government, to make this happen. At Good Things, we and our thousands of community partners are ready and willing to play our significant role. Our Blueprint could be a good start.

Just as we heard from the Prime Minister yesterday evening about his roadmap for coming out of lockdown, we now need a roadmap for achieving 100% Digitally Included Nation.

Original source – Helen Milner

In 2019, mySociety was involved in several projects working with local councils around using participatory or deliberative democracy to address a local issue (Public Square and the Innovations in Democracy Programme). Something that kept coming up at the fringes of these projects were the political considerations that led councils to find the idea of alternate forms of democracy appealing in the first place.

Understanding more about this seemed important to the future spread of these ideas, and so as part of the Public Square project, we set out to find out how local councillors viewed ‘new’ forms of democracy, and how these views varied by the political situation of the councils and of the councillors themselves.

Using a survey of local councillors, we tried to learn about different awareness and attitudes towards deliberative or participative exercises. We found that partisan and structural factors shape the perceptions of local representatives of citizen participation, and a wide-range of views among local councillors. Some were supportive of more weight being put on citizen participation, while others argued that if decisions are made by elected councillors there is someone to hold accountable. Both awareness and support for participatory methods increased if there was local experience of an exercise. Even opposition councillors tended to be quite supportive (76%) of participatory processes when run by the current leadership of the council.

Where there is more disagreement was in how the outcome of processes should be handled. Very few councillors favour approaches where the result is authoritative or binding. Councillors in councils where there is no one party with an overall majority are more likely to give greater weight to participatory exercises (59%) than those where there is a single party majority (38%).  Every policy area except Children’s Social Care had over 50% acceptance that a participatory exercise could be appropriate. Programmes related to environment and cultural programmes rated highly, while programmes concerning social care scored lower. For all categories except planning and public health, councillors rated these activities as more appropriate if their council had previously engaged in such an exercise.

Overall, this survey told us that councillors make personal evaluations of participatory exercises based on a mix of political and practical factors. While there is a tension between participatory and representative democratic structures, in practice this tension can lead to a variety of outcomes. The success or failure of future participation requires understanding about how this tension affects not just the form of deliberative exercises, but how results will be interpreted and implemented.

The full report can be read online or downloaded as a PDF.

Image: Lucas Benjamin

Original source – mySociety

josephine parenting and pr work vs home schooling.png

What’s tougher – helping your child with their maths, or juggling work with home schooling? Either way it’s hard going and some things will just have to give.

by Josephine Graham

Just over a week ago, on the last Friday of the winter half term, my son and I wrapped ourselves up warm and set out on a short excursion along the road to his school, to pick up his home learning pack for the next term.

It was a day of brilliant blue skies and dazzling sunshine, reflected in all directions by the thin layer of snow that had lingered all week. After collecting the pack from a socially distanced plastic tub outside the school’s front entrance, we indulged in a brief detour around the park, but then swiftly returned home, drawn inexorably by my groaning inbox and the 157 uncompleted activities in his ‘Seesaw’ online learning journal.

The next morning, I decided to get organised. So I took the learning pack out and began sorting through the worksheets and handouts.

But in the flow of this very practical task, something unexpected happened. Emotions welled up and I found myself having a little cry.

I don’t weep easily, and through the sobs, it was easy to fathom what had triggered this outburst. Seeing all the worksheets, painstakingly printed out by his teachers for each subject area, savagely confronted me with all my shortcomings as a parent.

A few weeks earlier I had done the exact same task (without the tears!) when, just one day into the new term, English schools switched to remote learning for the current COVID lockdown.

Like a good parent, I had looked through our first pack with my son and neatly filed it in an A4 folder, ready to be accessed over the next few weeks.

We barely looked at it again.

During those six weeks following the Christmas break I was beset with a volume of work that would be challenging to manage in the most average of times. Equalities priorities, staff wellbeing, floods, launching a new Council Plan, preparing for transition to Office 365. Not to mention the small matter of COVID and all the comms joy that brings.

Mentally switching from work mode to home school mode, repeatedly during the day, was a real struggle. Most days I managed to supervise a maximum of one lesson from the work the school provided online. My son also attended a daily Zoom session for his class – but that was pretty much it.

The idea of also sifting through all the printed worksheets to find him more stuff to do was completely beyond me. 

You might think that with all the support from the school, remote learning would be straightforward. Maybe for some, but it just didn’t feel like that for me. 

Is it any wonder then, that the paper hand-outs provoked such feelings of regret, guilt and wretchedness? What a waste of all that effort the teachers had put in. If only I’d done better.

I know I’m not alone

If you’re reading this, like me, you probably work as a public sector communicator. Or if not, you are aware of our work.

So you won’t need me to tell you that the last year, working through the COVID-19 pandemic, has arguably been the most gruelling period of our working lives.

And while relentless is a word, like unprecedented, that has become boring through overuse, the incessant demand for output from communicators is very real.

Like attacking the multiple-headed beast of Hydra, strike one task off the to-do list, and 17 more appear in its place.

Meanwhile, for parents, we are combining this work-based intensity with being asked to provide almost continuous attention to our children. From providing hugs and cuddles on demand, no matter what Webex call you might be on at the time, or answering one million questions about dinosaurs, to the heavy responsibility of maintaining something that resembles their education; the pressure of being switched on as a parent 24/7, while also trying to do your job, is exhausting.

Is it any wonder that it feels like a battle between two opposing forces? And is it really a fight that anyone can win?

So what?

So why am I sharing all this?

I guess it’s just to say… if you have also struggled with the combined responsibility of work, home school, and general parenting during the lockdown, you are not alone.

And, for those of you reading this who don’t have children, while I don’t want to launch a personal pity party, please recognise that for your colleagues who are fortunate enough to have children, this is what life has been looking like recently. It’s been really tough.

What next?

The government announced this week that schools in England will go back to face-to-face teaching on 8 March, and I know a collective sigh of relief will be breathed by many working parents across our nation.

We at least now have an endpoint in sight, and let’s keep everything crossed we don’t see any further lockdowns as we start this new phase of ‘living with COVID-19’.

In the meantime, here are a few thoughts to help put the battle between home school and work into some perspective.

Give yourself a break. Literally. Get outside every day. Take some annual leave. If you worked through the evening yesterday, take an extended lunch break today with your child and go for a walk.

Don’t sweat it if your children haven’t done that much school work. A lot of lessons for younger children seem very repetitive anyway. They will all catch up.

Don’t hold back on cuddles, no matter who is on your Teams/Webex/Zoom call.

Be kind to yourself. Because after I had wiped away the tears last Saturday, I realised something. In every moment during the last term, no matter how deficient my home school efforts may have been, I did my best.

Josephine Graham is internal comms lead and committee member at CIPR Yorks and Lincs. You can say hello on Twitter at @iojosy

Pic by Josephine

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Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

In years to come, our children will look back and be amazed that we weren’t talking about the pandemic morning, noon and night.

Harold Nicolson’s diary of the Second World War is powerful because the backbench MP would note the day and think through what could come next.

Samuel Pepys is more like it. There’s a few plague references but one day he’s down and the next its all about beating the Dutch off Lowestoft or trying to shag women behind his wife’s back.

Which leads me to a Facebook page Max Out in the Lakes about a bloke who walks his dog that has been my saviour in lockdown.

I don’t really want to watch the news, what I want is to see dogs walking and a bloke called Kerry walk on deserted paths around Keswick in the Lake District.

My late Dad was from Keswick and I still miss him. The running commentary Kerry gives of which hills you can see was the commentary Dad would have given.

Here’s an example with a walk on the side of a picturesque mountain on the side of Derwentwater called Cat Bells.

Why does this work?

It’s around 20-minuites long, just short of the optimum 21-minute length.

It does that Facebook Live thing of providing value by being in that particular spot at that particular time. Keswick in the pandemic is off-limits to people who want to go so it becomes more valuable seeing it live.

Dogs always work because they’re dogs and if you grow tired of the scenery one of the three dogs drifts into view.

Jonah Berger in his book ‘Contagion’ wrote of the six reasons why people share. Firstly, because you’ll look good, he wrote. Because its everyday, because its emotional, because its helpful, because its public and therefore sharable but also because its a piece of story telling.

Kerry’s story is both emotional and a piece of story telling. A man who suffered from depression coaxed out of his house by a dog a few doors away called Max who he then took for a walk and then became owner of.

He ignores the comments as they come in but the low level story telling works brilliantly in his daily live streams. Max has hurt his foot, Paddy has had an operation, the rain is about to fall or they’re exploring a path to see how the trees are. There’s a reason to keep watching.

Yet, Kerry has monetised what he does. He sells Max Out in the Lake District books, souvenirs and coffee from an online store but he ‘sells’ directly to his audience rarely. What he does falls into the 80/20 split with 20 being the call-to-action.

He sells escapism. If we are interested in how to get people to do stuff in the pandemic we need to understand that we want to be distracted from the pandemic. Those times we turn our heads to a selling message, be very careful what you say. Be boring and repetitive and those messages won’t land.

As Max the dog shows, we don’t want rolling news we just want a break from it all.

Original source – The Dan Slee Blog » LOCAL SOCIAL: Is it time for a Local localgovcamp?

Designing for everything is a higher risk strategy than designing for anything.

When you’re designing a service, it’s not smart to design for everything. It’s impossible to predict all the possible scenarios that could happen in the future no matter how much data, research and insight informs your choices.

We don’t know how people’s needs, and the needs of the places they live and work will change over time. We can only guess what will happen next. Everything depends on predicting as many possible future scenarios as possible.

The alternative is to create something flexible and more capable of responding to change.

We didn’t see it coming but we were as prepared as we could be for anything that might happen.

Above all, we can design for flexibility in future service models. This also means that we commit ourselves to continuous learning about how the context for our services is changing around us, with existing needs changing and new needs emerging as a result of this.

It’s smarter to not rely on a single channel, access point, or single points of failure for how people access something, or do something when interacting with your organisation. This includes digital channels with fixed access points or eligibility criteria, as well as the more traditional channels and physical spaces for service delivery that might sit around optimised, ‘modern’ user journeys.

Whatever the type of disruption and change, designing for anything is how you get ready to adapt to what might happen next, whether that’s public services in a pandemic or anything else that could happen – “…we created a model that would be flexible enough to ride out the storm. We were capable of creating something better from the adverse conditions we faced”.

February 22nd, 2021. Posted in – Design, Service Design, Thoughts

Ben Holliday is an experienced designer, leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben’s blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.

Original source – Ben Holliday

Five leaflets on a table, titled Government as a Platform. Text reads: “Government as a Platform (GaaP) is a way of building digital services using a set of common components.”

Government as a Platform (GaaP) products make it easy for service teams to design and host services, send messages and take payments, making it quicker and cheaper to create the essential services the public need. This has been more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This month we’re celebrating milestones on 4 GaaP products:

As Director of Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) Functional Strategy and Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for the GaaP Programme, it’s really exciting to be able to help shape the roadmaps and see how we’re meeting user needs, and hearing about the impacts and outcomes our products enable across the country and beyond.

Our GaaP product teams are lean, agile and inspiring. They work across the public sector from central to local governments constantly striving to improve their products. They are the unsung heroes: they aren’t the flashy websites or products you may know, but they underpin every department.

The “Build Once, Use Many” nature of GaaP products enables organisations to reduce wasted effort, increase pace and agility, increase value for money, reduce technical friction for increased interoperability and resilience, and most importantly create consistent and trustworthy user experiences.

As always with digital services, that means more 24/7 self-service and less load for public sector colleagues from shuffling back end paperwork, meaning they’re better able to serve the needs of our communities. We recognise that the emotive benefits are as valuable as practical and financial: making services simple to use is good for everyone’s wellbeing, civil service and public alike.

I am truly excited about the future for GaaP, providing solutions to common problems which we can deliver with pace to address even more user needs and create better outcomes. We value our partnerships and relationships across government, helping inform and deliver everything we do, and I know we can go further together.

If you want to stay up to date with the latest developments on GaaP, subscribe to the GDS blog to receive email notifications whenever we publish a new post.

Original source – Government Digital Service

When designing services, one of the biggest challenge teams face is finding the right perspective to work from.

As I shared recently, something I’m talking about a lot right now is the idea of working from ‘mezzanine levels’. This is the idea that sometimes the most useful perspective for teams is somewhere in-between ‘as-is’ and future ‘to-be’ states. 

As a more in depth introduction, and as context for this post, I’ve just finished writing about as-is for service design . I’ve asserted here that user research and learning time is better invested in going deeper into understanding user needs, context, and real scenarios. Rather than process mapping all the business processes and existing service blueprints, which can then lead quickly to requirements and incremental improvement based thinking. 

To conclude the previous post I also said that “the goal in service design should always be to carefully frame better ways and starting points to design what could happen next.”

Introducing mezzanine levels

A mezzanine is an intermediate floor or level in a building. It’s an in-between space. I’ve been using this definition for service design:

Mezzanine levels in service design are the in-between of how things work now, and designing a future state for how we intend things to work.

You can break down this analogy as follows.

A ground floor perspective is focusing on how things work now, or starting in close proximity to assumptions that things have to work in a certain way.

Mezzanine levels take a more elevated view of what is happening right now and why? This perspective is more about recognising what needs to happen. The in-between spaces also give you access to what sits above and across them. These are our upper floors. Where goals, vision, and parts of services and organisations join together to hopefully solve whole problems for people and places.

These upper floors (if they’re within your reach) are further towards blue sky thinking, and the type of goal setting or ‘visioning’ work that teams focus on with good intentions. But these can also become quickly detached from any real understanding or considerations of real business needs and operating constraints.

Constraints are important, even when the goal is to radially rethink how things work now. It’s rare to find greenfield projects, and there are always as-is constraints like technology, policy, organisation models and complex supply chains involved in how services work.

Mezzanine levels are all about finding ways to explore and make thinking around new service models possible, while also recognising and working with different types of constraints. How you work with constraints depends on the type of questions you’re willing to ask, which will then determine the levels you find to work from.

The spaces in-between

The reality here is that managing and making change real means that we have to keep moving between the design of future states and what is actually possible in order to make progress. The challenge is finding the right anchor points that let us step both ways.

I’m not going to pretend that this is always straightforwards, and finding the right levels and perspective to work from will be directly related to the size, scale and ambition attached to a service area, or what your team and organisation is working on.

The following feedback I received has been helpful in providing insight into how designers are working in these spaces at the moment:

Paul Smith commented that “…the level of detail you go to when trying to understand the ‘as-is’ is key. Going back to rough first principles is probably enough to start thinking about that things could/should be”.

Jude Webb commented that this is more an approach to working with a “realistic future state” while also having to be less concerned with whether you’re working with a current or future state design.

Joel Bailey’s comment also provided clarity here on what mezzanine levels might start to look like. He explained that this means “…setting horizon points out to a target state, and stepping back in to now. Allowing people to move up and down this track, at each phase, [creating] order and clarity”.

And finally, Imogen Levy’s framing of this as work focused on “as-is with an eye on the what’s possible.

Finding your mezzanine levels

The question of ‘what needs to happen’ (mezzanine level) can provide a broader perspective and reframing of ‘what happens’ (as observed on the ground floor). You can then very quickly start to ask how things might best join up and connect as part of a more complex system supporting different types of needs, user journeys, business processes, ways of working and capabilities.

Any design process being supported here ultimately depends on what really happens.

This means less focus on implementing a to-be or future state solution, and more emphasis on learning by doing. This is the importance of making ideas real, testing out and iterating future models (side note: this is why I talk about service modelling versus service models).

The difference between what needs to happen, and what really happens is also the gap between policy intent and the reality of understanding what people do and why. The answer to this is treating what needs to happen as assumptions to be tested. The more you learn, the more you might choose to adjust your perspective.

New learnings, new levels.

Finding a way to move between now and then is going to be increasingly important to the more radical service design that most organisations need. As Sarah Drummond commented and articulated perfectly “[this is the] tricky balance of what’s possible and radical challenge for new realities.”


I’ve quoted a number of people in the post who replied to the original Twitter thread and conversations on this topic. Thanks also to Caroline Jarrett, Joseph Emmi, Kathryn Grace, Mia Peters, James Green, and Sophie Dennis (and any other people I’ve missed here) for constructive feedback that has shaped this write-up.

February 21st, 2021. Posted in – Service Design

Ben Holliday is an experienced designer, leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben’s blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.

Original source – Ben Holliday

Where is it you get stuck? And how do you get unstuck?

I’ve been writing recently about getting unstuck or finding different perspectives in the work you’re doing.

One of the points I was making about as-is work for service design is that it’s easy to get stuck in the detail of how existing business processes and constraints work.

Not too far from where I live is Morecambe Bay. A familiar family walk for us is somewhere like Arnside or Grange at opposite sides of the ‘sands’ in the Bay.

If you look up Morecambe Bay you’ll see the history that for hundreds of years people have walked the sands with officially guides, but the fast flowing tides, ever changing channels and sinking sand means that it’s an extremely dangerous place.

The places we walk have lifeboat stations, signs and even warning sirens telling people about the dangers and to keep off the sands. But despite all of this, every year many people have to be rescued from the sands.

On a good day it can look like a beach. It’s inviting, and looks easy to navigate. The ground looks solid from a distance, but it’s deadly if you start to set foot in the wrong places.

Sinking sand means that our seemingly solid ground gives way and then we’re stuck.

How often is it that we’re not able to see where we’ll get stuck in our work? What’s your sinking sand?

The work we’re doing seems wide open. The ground we plan to walk on can look solid enough from a distance. But then we can easily get pulled in. Detail and complexity can overwhelm us, slow us down, or doesn’t lead to any meaningful progress.

The goal always has to be staying unstuck. A good as-is process gets you unstuck and, just as importantly, can keep you from getting stuck.

February 22nd, 2021. Posted in – Design, reflection, Thoughts

Ben Holliday is an experienced designer, leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben’s blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.

Original source – Ben Holliday