Some highlights from our wellbeing weeks at dxw

The past 2 weeks at dxw have been filled with activities which support the wellbeing of our team. We’ve had the opportunity to enjoy painting and drawing classes, board games, singing, dumpling making, free gym and yoga sessions, and more.

It’s been pretty inspiring watching our dxw digital and dxw cyber colleagues working hard as ever on great client work, but still managing to find time before and after work and over lunch to do lots of amazing stuff for each other.

Enjoying some sketching in the park after our drawing class taught by Richard Hind, owner of Draw More.

Dumpling making at Chef Chan’s cookery school (aka @aitchchan )

A lovely evening of painting in the Hide

Enjoying some delicious food and craft beer pairing, hosted by Stuart @pezholio 

We’ve also been sharing different articles, such as this lovely post about human connection, and we’ve contributed to a daily #wellbeingweeks newsletter which includes tips and reflections.

Why we did it and what happens next

At dxw, we practise our company values every day – investing in each other and our work, committing ourselves to being better. It’s part of who we are. There is never a quiet day for our team, and we’re really proud of what we achieved during our wellbeing weeks.

Our self-care and wellbeing awareness didn’t stop on Friday. Sketching time is set to be a regular thing, as are our cooking nights. We’re really looking forward to seeing what new and innovative ideas we come up with over the next few months.

The goal of the last 2 weeks was not only to give the team a chance to unwind together, but also to better understand what wellbeing means to each individual. It will help us decide how we support the wellbeing of the team in future.

The post Wellbeing weeks roundup appeared first on dxw digital.

Original source – dxw digital

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A valuable addition has been published on how to communicate in the wake of a terror attack.

The ‘Crisis Management for Terrorist Related Events’ download has been posted by the CIPR and Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure. You can find it here.

I’ve a theory that emergency planning is permanently 9th on the default to-do list of most public sector people. It never rises much above and it never falls much below. Life and a lack of resources gets in the way. But having drafted an emergency planning comms plan I can see its importance.

‘The thing is,’ an emergency planner once told me ‘by law you need an emergency planning comms plan and you really don’t want to be sat in a witness box of a public enquiry explaining why yours is six years out of date and you cou;dn’t remember what it said.’

In 2005, after the 7/7 London bombing, the turn around time for social media was 90 minutes. Today, it is seconds.

It’s worth remembering that the advice here isn’t channel-specific. It’s not acknowledged in the document but its worth flagging and this is a strength. While Twitter has been the source for breaking news for some time it may not always be. Increasingly, I’m pointing people towards Facebook and in particular relevant Facebook groups as places where the shockwaves play out. There may be other places too for different audiences.

What’s good about this document

There’s clearly research that’s gone into it.

Incidents contributors have worked on are a list of everything from the past few years.

But be mindful that focus for this advice is everyone, so if you run a bar, a transport hub or a business this is aimed at you. It is the broad comms industry not those who know the Civil Contingencies Act.

The flowchart of how to approach things is a good thing.

Pic flowchart, 'Crisis Management for Terrorist Related Events'

Pic flowchart, ‘Crisis Management for Terrorist Related Events’

Pic flowchart, ‘Crisis Management for Terrorist Related Events’

This sounds obvious, but the flowchart that looks at before, during and after is only useful if you look at it before, know what it says during and apply the lessons after.

The advice to let the police take the lead is utterly invaluable to any communicator.

Back in 2011, a branch of the NHS in the West Midlands was busy tweeting that the town was on fire after they picked up false online rumours. It really, really, really didn’t help and yes, they were spoken to very directly.

Grab bags with kit, a hard copy of the emergency comms plan a laptop and chargers are a must and its good to see this flagged-up.

Flagging internal comms is an absolute must but often only occurs long after the event. It’s good to see that flagged here.

Absolutely, switch off the automated messages at this point. Besides, there’s nothing so crass as a Burns Night pre-pic as a major fire rages.

The advice on looking after staff in this document feels important. I’ve heard blue light comms people talk of how they handled terror attacks and I’m struck by the long shadow they case across the team.

The guide also gives advice on the differences between a terror attack and a cyber attack and that’s useful.

But public sector people need to remember

This isn’t aimed solely at public sector people, so the advice may feel slightly didactic if you’ve lived through communicating an incident yourself.

Advice about pre-writing content and make only minor adjustments I’d question if you have hands-on experience of the area.

It’s worth knowing that the first tweet post-Manchester Arena attack from Greater Manchester Police acted to flag up reports of an incident. They planted a flag in the sand to say: ‘We know there’s been something. We’re on it. Keep following and we’ll keep you posted.’

This was the lessons of the 2011 riots played out in realtime.

So, the approach of tweeting asap I’d go with. You don’t have to give the whole story straight away.

The document tells non-public sector communicators to build links with the public sector. It makes sense. The shopping centre manager should know the basics. But I doubt in practice if the multiplex comms team know exactly how and who will respond in a crisis. Often, those relationships across the public sector could be stronger. Across the business community I suspect they’re almost non-existent in places who’ve never known an emergency.

If you are a hard-pressed comms person working for a cash-strapped council in the north of Scotland all this may feel remote and your to-do list may be plenty busy enough, thanks. I get that. But its just funny where careers go and to be armed with worst-case scenario advice also looks really helpful for the low-level emergency such as a flood, a major traffic accident or a fire.

A great concern I have is that great parts of the public sector have skimped and saved with their out-of-hours coverage and rely on goodwill and the junior comms officer’s own brand new iphone.

That’s simply not good enough.

Picture caption: Tony Webster / Flickr

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

On 26 – 27 of June, scholars and practitioners from all over the world will be meeting in Rio de Janeiro for the 6th Global Conference on Transparency Research. The conference focuses on measuring transparency, exploring how this can be achieved, what the barriers are, whether metrics are useful, and how current interventions are shaping transparency around the world.

mySociety’s Head of Research Rebecca Rumbul will be attending, and will be presenting some of mySociety’s recent research into the transparency of parliamentary information in sub-Saharan Africa. Examining transparency through a digital lens, this research broke new ground in understanding how digital tools are shaping parliamentary transparency in sub-Saharan Africa, and how barriers to transparency are affecting how citizens engage with public institutions. You can read the full report here.

Rebecca will be speaking at 4pm on Thursday 27 June, so please do come along and say hello. She says, “Transparency, digital and citizen engagement are core themes of our research at mySociety, and we love to talk to other people working in these areas. Meeting new people and sharing ideas are the best parts of any conference, so do grab me for a chat if you are attending.”

If you are unable to join Rebecca in Rio, but you are interested in talking research, we’re always happy to receive email. And keep your eyes peeled for our TICTeC conference announcement for April 2020. We will be opening our Call for Papers in early September.

Image: Jaime Spaniol

Original source – mySociety

We recently worked with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to redesign their intranet homepage to make it work better for users across the department – around 3,000 people per month – and to increase flexibility for the admin users of the site. It launched last week.

We worked with the team at DHSC over the course of 2 sprints to iterate and develop the new homepage. We learnt a few things along the way, which I thought it would be useful to share.

Things change

Something I have to remind myself on a weekly, if not daily, basis when working in delivery, is that things change.

During our first sprint planning session with the department, we had some ideas about the changes we could make to improve the overall functionality of the intranet and how we could use previous learnings to help us decide what to do.

We focused our attention initially on the existing research outputs produced by digital design and technology agency, Studio 24. Over the course of our 4 weeks together, we weren’t afraid to reprioritise based on what we were discovering whilst working through our backlog and added in new stories to reflect what was important for users.

We had originally decided on a confined piece of work for our second sprint. However, we quickly realised this wouldn’t be possible just yet and moved on to how we could use our time together to increase functionality and conduct further user research.

Communication is key

When multiple organisations work together on short pieces of work, it can be challenging to create a ‘one team’ environment that works for everyone involved. You need to be able to adapt at pace and think in a team mindset.

At the end of our first sprint, and having been working together as a team for 2 weeks, we held a retrospective to talk about what had gone well and what we could have done better.

We had laid a good foundation for how we would work as a team over the course of our first 2 weeks, but there were areas we wanted to improve on as a collective, so we could ensure continuous delivery.

We came up with some actions following the retrospective – these were to deploy to production more often and ask more questions so that we could make decisions faster. This enabled us to deliver more frequently, but still maintain a high quality of work.

Another action from our retrospective was to start conducting usability testing to ensure we were still meeting users’ needs.

Testing with users validates our assumptions

Drawing from your own experiences to make assumptions about a service is something we all do, but we know the services we work on need to be more diverse than that.

We conducted usability testing sessions during our second sprint to validate our assumptions around the new functionalities of the homepage and ensure users remained at the heart of the updated service.

We found that users thought the new homepage was clear and current. We had made the right decisions based on analytics about which services users needed access to the most. We also learned about how DHSC users of the site would like to be notified about new information that is important to them, and their wider teams, to ensure business continuity.

Deploying little and often helps people use better services faster

We spent some time thinking about at what stage of a sprint we should deploy new features to a live site.

A lot of effort goes into creating a new service, as well as testing it to ensure the service is up to standard. Occasionally, products are shipped publicly while they’re still in beta. It’s good practice to do this when a service already exists and is actively engaged with by users.

By pushing the new functionalities straight to the live site, users can experience these changes as early as possible. We advocate pushing new functions to live as they become available so users have a better experience of the service sooner rather than later.

We’re looking forward to working with our DHSC colleagues in future to make further improvements to their intranet.

The post Redesigning the Department of Health and Social Care Intranet homepage appeared first on dxw digital.

Original source – dxw digital

On my consultancy and training travels around the UK I get to learn so much from other people. Plus, there are comms lessons all around us if we look closely enough. And so, I thought I would begin sharing these lessons more regularly via the somewhat obvious blog post title of ’Things I learned this week’ 😊    I hope you enjoy volume 05   by Darren Caveney   1. The genius of Stewart Lee – seeing an artist craft their work   I had the chance to go and see the comedian Stewart Lee trialling brand new material at a very cool little cabaret club in Soho. All very metropolitan middle-class elite. It was brilliant – intimate and with a room clearly full of his fans - so it was interesting to see such a skilled and talented artist seemingly a teeny bit nervous about trying out his carefully scripted lines and stories for the first time to the general public. What a treat to see and experience.  He stood - with pen and paper in hand - reading out his stories (he famously doesn’t ‘do’ jokes) and literally scribbled notes on what worked and what worked less well during an hour-long set. It will be so interesting to see what makes it through to the final cut when he tours for real.  He walked on stage sporting a large rufty tufty, grey-ish beard. His opening line? “I know what you’re thinking – Julian Assange has let himself go.” Brilliant.   My learning?   Without wishing to sound too contrived what Stewart Lee did was the classic crafting of compelling stories, which were right for the audience, absolutely timely (Michael Gove’s supposed drug use got a mention) and then tested them out – so the research and focus group stage.  I’m sure he would recoil in horror if he thought his work was comparable to what we do as communicators but there are quite a few synergies from what I saw (as I sat there soaking it all up with a nice glass of Malbec in hand, in case you were wondering)  But he is a hero and a genius, and I am neither, so the similarities end quite quickly.  And he had me at Julian Assange.     2. Comms Strategy – the common issues challenging you right now…   Before seeing Stewart Lee I ran the third Strategy Surgery workshop with the very excellent Fran Collingham and Paul Masterman.  We kicked off the session by asking attendees what they were hoping to get from their strategies, and what they feared would get in the way.  The results were telling and insightful. They were…   Hopes   A chance to avoid trying to do everything  An opportunity to prioritise  A way to state what we won’t do  A way of ensuring the comms team has a true focus  That we’ll create the time to think, create, plan, research and evaluate   Fears   That the organisation will ignore it anyway  That we won’t be able to stick to it  The organisation doesn’t have a business plan so don’t act strategically  That we’ll still get dragged into the tactical morass of tweets and video requests  That time pressures will foil us   My learning?   We still have a way to go with getting effective, embedded organisational comms strategies in place and truly guiding our work. But having a strategy gives you a real head start on other teams and departments who don’t plan.  Fran talked about the importance for having organisational ‘principles for comms’ – linking to values and behaviours, with genuine listening taking place, a commitment from all that the comms team will be involved early, that teams will be encouraged to be creative and to innovate, and that the comms team will deliver good, simple but effective comms which helps people receive the services they want, and colleagues the support they need to do their jobs.  Now that could make your strategy really fly.     3. Confucius said…   Now I’m not one for power quotes or inspirational memes but I caught one I liked on Radio 4 whilst driving up a very wet M6 yesterday.  It was in relation to the protests in Hong Kong and the line was this, by Confucius:  “Even a single spark can burn an entire land”  Powerful, huh?  We may sometimes feel like we’re a lone voice out in the wilderness but we should never forget that we can have a huge impact on our work, our friends and colleagues, our organisations and even our own lives.  Go do something great this week.    Darren Caveney    is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd      *Pssssst - A BRAND NEW eMag you might like*   I’ll soon be launching a brand new  comms2point0 eMag  which replaces what was the old comms2point0 weekly email and which stopped a while back. The new eMag will be bursting with new content, free give-aways, special offers, first dibs on new events and much, much more. The first edition will include an exclusive, new free comms tool you might find useful.  Sound good? You can sign up to it   right here .     image via  U.S. National Archives

On my consultancy and training travels around the UK I get to learn so much from other people. Plus, there are comms lessons all around us if we look closely enough. And so, I thought I would begin sharing these lessons more regularly via the somewhat obvious blog post title of ’Things I learned this week’ 😊

I hope you enjoy volume 05

by Darren Caveney

1. The genius of Stewart Lee – seeing an artist craft their work

I had the chance to go and see the comedian Stewart Lee trialling brand new material at a very cool little cabaret club in Soho. All very metropolitan middle-class elite. It was brilliant – intimate and with a room clearly full of his fans – so it was interesting to see such a skilled and talented artist seemingly a teeny bit nervous about trying out his carefully scripted lines and stories for the first time to the general public. What a treat to see and experience.

He stood – with pen and paper in hand – reading out his stories (he famously doesn’t ‘do’ jokes) and literally scribbled notes on what worked and what worked less well during an hour-long set. It will be so interesting to see what makes it through to the final cut when he tours for real.

He walked on stage sporting a large rufty tufty, grey-ish beard. His opening line? “I know what you’re thinking – Julian Assange has let himself go.” Brilliant.

My learning?

Without wishing to sound too contrived what Stewart Lee did was the classic crafting of compelling stories, which were right for the audience, absolutely timely (Michael Gove’s supposed drug use got a mention) and then tested them out – so the research and focus group stage.

I’m sure he would recoil in horror if he thought his work was comparable to what we do as communicators but there are quite a few synergies from what I saw (as I sat there soaking it all up with a nice glass of Malbec in hand, in case you were wondering)

But he is a hero and a genius, and I am neither, so the similarities end quite quickly.

And he had me at Julian Assange.

2. Comms Strategy – the common issues challenging you right now…

Before seeing Stewart Lee I ran the third Strategy Surgery workshop with the very excellent Fran Collingham and Paul Masterman.

We kicked off the session by asking attendees what they were hoping to get from their strategies, and what they feared would get in the way.

The results were telling and insightful. They were…

Hopes

A chance to avoid trying to do everything

An opportunity to prioritise

A way to state what we won’t do

A way of ensuring the comms team has a true focus

That we’ll create the time to think, create, plan, research and evaluate

Fears

That the organisation will ignore it anyway

That we won’t be able to stick to it

The organisation doesn’t have a business plan so don’t act strategically

That we’ll still get dragged into the tactical morass of tweets and video requests

That time pressures will foil us

My learning?

We still have a way to go with getting effective, embedded organisational comms strategies in place and truly guiding our work. But having a strategy gives you a real head start on other teams and departments who don’t plan.

Fran talked about the importance for having organisational ‘principles for comms’ – linking to values and behaviours, with genuine listening taking place, a commitment from all that the comms team will be involved early, that teams will be encouraged to be creative and to innovate, and that the comms team will deliver good, simple but effective comms which helps people receive the services they want, and colleagues the support they need to do their jobs.

Now that could make your strategy really fly.

3. Confucius said…

Now I’m not one for power quotes or inspirational memes but I caught one I liked on Radio 4 whilst driving up a very wet M6 yesterday.

It was in relation to the protests in Hong Kong and the line was this, by Confucius:

“Even a single spark can burn an entire land”

Powerful, huh?

We may sometimes feel like we’re a lone voice out in the wilderness but we should never forget that we can have a huge impact on our work, our friends and colleagues, our organisations and even our own lives.

Go do something great this week.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd

*Pssssst – A BRAND NEW eMag you might like*

I’ll soon be launching a brand new comms2point0 eMag which replaces what was the old comms2point0 weekly email and which stopped a while back. The new eMag will be bursting with new content, free give-aways, special offers, first dibs on new events and much, much more. The first edition will include an exclusive, new free comms tool you might find useful.

Sound good? You can sign up to it right here.

image via U.S. National Archives

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

DWP Digital’s Digital Voices programme is helping women in the organisation build their confidence, learn digital skills and grow their networks.

In this blog post, three of the Digital Voices explain why they’re taking part and what they’re getting out of it so far.

Emma Murray, engagement manager, Blackpool

Emma Murray presenting at the Digital Voice Learning event

Emma Murray presenting at the Digital Voice Learning event

Overcoming my insecurities

A lack of confidence has been a barrier for me so I hoped being part of Digital Voices would provide me with development opportunities and new skills. I want to be an advocate for women and young girls to start digital careers, and the amount of opportunities I’ve had so far has been amazing.

Learning from inspirational women

We’ve had lots of talks with a varied range of women, as well as learning and development sessions.

Although I have enjoyed it all, the one I particularly identified with was from Sally Bogg, the Head of Service Management at Leeds Beckett University. She said that "networking is about giving as well as receiving" and that really struck a chord with me. It’s something I also believe and to hear someone else also share that view really boosted my confidence.

I also enjoyed learning about doing video interviews and blogging. Getting practical help with things like this has been so important, it’s helping us to find our voices.

Trying new things

Another highlight was supporting a Civil Service event which aimed to encourage high school girls into digital and tech jobs. It was brilliant to be part of that as I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it before. I’m also going to be speaking at Civil Service Live in Birmingham in June.

Being part of Digital Voices has taught me that there is a wealth of support within our grasp if we have the courage to reach for it. It’s funny how wearing a small Digital Voices badge on my lanyard makes me feel stronger!

Hazel Norris, deployment lead, Southampton

Hazel chatting with a fellow Digital Voice

Hazel chatting with a fellow Digital Voice

I applied because I wanted to take advantage of a unique opportunity to develop myself, and improve my confidence. The programme’s not finished yet and I already think that’s happened.

Straight away, when I met the rest of my cohort and heard about what the previous participants had achieved I was inspired. I knew that I was part of something special and was impressed by the support and encouragement that was being offered. I felt like someone believed in me, that I had potential to do more and that is an amazing feeling.

Writing my first blog

I have recently written my first blog; it took a while as I could not think of a subject that I felt would be interesting to other people. But, I talked over my ideas with my Digital Voices Friend and she gave me the encouragement to go ahead with my idea about my learning journey since joining DWP Digital.

I was so excited when I saw it published on the DWP.Gov.uk blog site because it was something that I could share with my friends and family. I am proud of what I have achieved during my first year at DWP and to be able to share my story, for anyone to read, gave me validation that actually I am not doing too badly.

Speaking at events

I am going to be running the Digital Voices breakout session at the Women in Digital event in Leeds with two fellow Voices. I am, in equal parts, looking forward to and petrified about it. A year ago I would not have even considered doing something like this.

It would have seemed far too scary and I would not have thought that I could do it justice. So the fact that I volunteered to get involved shows me how far I have come.

I am still working on my self-belief and have days when I think I must have got accepted into the programme by accident and that I am not up to the standard of the other amazing women in my cohort. But I now realise that everyone else has these wobbles too.

Having this network available helps me feel less isolated and reinforces the fact that I am not the only one who feels like this and it is so important to talk.

Collett Bellamy, delivery manager, Sheffield

Collett Bellamy

Collett Bellamy

When I saw the advert for Digital Voices, it was like a great way to help me increase my skills and tell my story.

So far I have discovered and clarified my key strengths, built my confidence and I have great support from my Digital Friend Rita.

Building my networks

There’s been so many highlights for me but I really enjoyed learning about social media. Being more confident with Twitter has been a real bonus – which I have gone on to share with others.

This has been great for helping me communicate about the great work DWP is doing in Sheffield in Identity and Trust. It has allowed me to build my networks in the wider digital community too.

I also loved the session with Avril Chester, CEO of Cancer Central, which was really inspiring. I took on board some advice on doing the Strengths Finder Assessment which really confirmed my core strengths and how best I can apply them – a real boost. I also loved the quote ‘be yourself, everyone else is taken’.

Leading a community and stretching myself

Digital Voices has given me the confidence to set up and lead the first DWP Sheffield Women in Digital community, creating a supportive and collaborative environment.

My final challenge will be speaking as part of a panel discussion at Civil Service Live in London in July to over 600 people. I never thought I would do something like that. It just goes to show you don’t know what you are capable of until you try!

Watch a short video featuring 4 of our Digital Voices’ reflections on what they’ve learnt so far:

Like this blog? Why not subscribe for more blogs like this? Sign up for email updates whenever new content is posted!

Original source – DWP Digital

The ROI of design-led change

Why senior leaders and commissioners should care

There’s a saying that change is the only constant. But a constant challenge we face is making change transformational for organisations. This is true across local authorities, central government and health & care providers.

Too often, we see organisations focus solely on their technology or services, without considering the business model of organisations. However, it’s the combination of the three which create the best method for delivering improved user experiences and outcomes, as well as more cost-effective and future-facing operating models.

Increasingly, we understand the need to articulate the impact we have, which is why we published our impact dashboard earlier this year. We’re also asked what the return on investment (ROI) is for design-led change.

Why is investing in design better than traditional change management?

What do we mean by design-led change?

You can look at change management through different lenses. It could be an organisation restructure, buying new software (technology) or rethinking how to provide a particular service. Taking a design-led approach to change means that all three of these lenses are seen together. We call this an integrated design approach.

Designing services is about delivering the best possible outcomes and end to end service experiences for people; products & technology is about supercharging services through the best of breed digital technologies; organisations is about working with organisations to review processes, build capabilities, rethink structures and deliver new or improved ways of working. The three of these, when seen together, can unlock new perspectives and enable us to frame problems and work in very different ways.

Reframing the problem means that we focus on solving the right problems, in the right places. Combined with research to understand user needs, data and existing assets, we can then start to prioritise opportunities and different options. This creates the space for prototyping, giving the organisations we work with the ability to focus on developing solutions iteratively.

Constant testing of ideas and learning allows us to validate where we are right and, more importantly, learn about how we might be wrong when designing how future services could work. It means that when a new product, service or organisational structure goes live or becomes operational, then we already have a high degree of confidence in how it will work at scale; including costs, levels of support required and how it meets the needs of users.

Why is this important?

Design-led change isn’t just about hiring more designers. It’s about how an entire organisation can work.

This isn’t easy. Adopting unfamiliar ways of working, often in organisations that are beginning to understand what it means to be a 21st-century organisation, can feel very uncomfortable. At least to start with. But, you’re embedding an approach that has cheaper, iterative testing and learning at its heart. This ensures that you implement and scale the right solutions and the right strategies for your organisation around technology and service delivery.

Design is also a way of increasing creative output and thinking across an organisation. Creativity applied to ways of working should mean generating a stronger and more diverse set of ideas and opportunities. This is about being open to exploring new ways and alternative models of how to deliver services to meet user needs. It can mean making use of new technologies and new ways of delivering services or meeting the changing expectations people have for how services should work.

In the same way that design-led change isn’t just about hiring designers, it also shouldn’t be thought of as a specialist or localised resource (like a design team). Creativity and thinking about design as a state of mind is more a competence that should be part of the fabric of every 21st-century organisation.

Unlocking the potential of design

I spend a lot of time working with senior leaders to help them understand more about why the way we approach change is important, what it means for them, and being a sounding board for questions or concerns. To do this I often ask the question: “What is keeping you up at night?” And, “Is organisation effort focussed on addressing this?”

I try to get under the skin of where decisions happen, what information people are comfortable with and used to, and how a design-led approach can be the first step of a bias to action becoming the default mindset in an organisation. This might mean bringing together the quantitative and qualitative data we gather through user research or engaging with democratic decision-making alongside our agile rhythms. These things help ensure that we agree on a shared lens and perspective about design being the right way to approach change.

A concern I often hear is that there isn’t time to slow down and reframe the problem or do more research and learning before delivery. The answer to this is that design helps ensure you don’t only improve services, but embed continuous improvement at the heart of the process. This way we’re always working towards transforming services and organisation. It also means shortening feedback loops and introducing a way of managing the risk of delivering the wrong solutions. Or, solutions that aren’t joined up in a way that delivers services that work for both users and organisations.

In summary

A design-led approach to change costs time and money, but its value will outweigh the investment in this way of working. To summarise, the key benefits explored here have included:

  • user focus using research and continuous learning to understand user needs, data and assets.
  • reframing to solve the right set of problems
  • creativity to generate a stronger and more diverse set of ideas and opportunities
  • cheaper/iterative testing and learning in order to design, implement and scale the right solutions
  • continuous improvement using shorter feedback loops and hypothesis-driven design

We know that moving to any new model for managing change isn’t easy. But we also believe that design-led change is an important step for organisations to take. We’re seeing more and more organisations with the ambition, vision, and leadership to not just imagine a better future, but who are being intentional about designing it.

If you want to learn more about how FutureGov is working with public services to reimagine them for the 21st century, subscribe to our FutureGov newsletter and Statecraft.


The return on investment of design-led change was originally published in FutureGov on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – FutureGov

We’re delighted to tell you about Demsoc’s involvement in the UK Government’s Innovation in Democracy Programme. We will be working with three areas in the planning, design and delivery of Area Democracy Forums – the programme’s name for mini-public deliberative democracy events similar to citizens’ assemblies. The Innovation in Democracy Programme was announced last year […]

The post Innovation in Democracy Programme appeared first on The Democratic Society.

Original source – The Democratic Society

IMG_20190610_151852.jpg

Monday was our 14th wedding anniversary, so Caroline and I went for afternoon tea at a country house hotel. The variety and quantity of cake defeated me

1. What do I need to take care of?

  • Late on Friday, I finally got access to some data I need so I can work on our organisation change proposal. I need to give that as much time and attention as I possibly can next week.
  • Partly because of that, I had to make a difficult decision to let down one of our staff diversity networks, who are running an event for managers on Monday. I really wanted to be there, but cannot be in two places at once.

2. What inspired me this week?

  • As ever, the Digital Urgent and Emergency Care team’s show and tell.
    The speakers’ dinner for Camp Digital, chatting with fellow speakers including Dana Chisnell, Jared Spool and Rachel Xavier, and waving down the dinner table to Sarah, Jonny and Bex.
  • Camp Digital the following day was awesome. The hosts, Sigma, put so much effort into making the event enjoyable and inclusive for everyone, including live captioning all the talks.

3. How did I uphold our design principles / NHS Constutition?

  • In my Camp Digital talk, besides listing the design principles, I included three quotes that combine to tell the story of why we do what we do, in the way that we do it:
    • “When a link’s too small or a button’s too fiddly, it’s doubly depressing because it reminds me of my condition.” – User research participant with Parkinson’s Disease
    • “I like it [the NHS app]. But more important than me liking it, the design has been led by user testing and user need.
” – Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
    • “We shall never have all we need. Expectations will always exceed capacity. The service must always be changing, growing and improving – it must always appear inadequate.” – Aneurin Bevan, Minister for Health
  • I hope listeners were inspired to come and help us in this huge and important service design mission across health and care.

4. What connections did I make?

  • Chatted with Joanna about capability building, the quality improvement movement in health in care, and how we might bring designers closer to it.
  • Tero and I had a Google Hangout with colleagues from NHSX about the service mapping work that Tero recently shared.
  • At Camp Digital I joined panel discussion about ethics in design with Bex from Tech for Good Live and fellow conference speaker Cennydd. Once again the subject of professionalisation of design came up.

5. How did I make expectations clear?

  • In my Camp Digital talk, I shared some of the things I expect of all designers at NHS Digital – to always understand the intent behind the work they are doing, and to have the craft skills to be able to execute it effectively.
  • I was delighted to see a quote from my most recent 6-month-note popping up, judiciously edited, at the NHS Digital Academy.
  • One of the practice leads in my profession sought me out for advice about the work they’re doing. Of course they’re doing it brilliantly. I hope I was able to provide encouragement and context, while keeping the practice lead in control of their own next steps.

6. What leadership teamwork did I see?

  • I’m working more and more with my NHS Digital leadership colleagues on various aspects of the change we need to make in ways of working: different roles, new team structures, and new ways of thinking for everyone in our directorate. People are coming on that journey at different speeds and in different ways depending on the teams they’re in, and their past experience of how things get done around here. Without exception, everyone is approaching these changes in a thoughtful and open manner.
  • On Friday afternoon, I observed the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, the second of two board observations I’m making for the next Nye Bevan Programme residential. The meeting opened with an opportunity for the public to ask questions, which was taken up by a group of people with learning disabilities asking for greater inclusion in the way services are designed. I was impressed by the way the chair and board members responded to that challenge and invited the group to work with them. There was also an interesting dynamic in the discussions about the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and how its plan related to the longer-established system-wide working at city level.

Original source – Matt Edgar writes here

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‘The dumbest people,’ the entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes once said ‘are the ones who think they know it all.’ 

There is so much to know about working in comms in 2019 and like Malcolm, I don’t think it’s good to know-it-all.

It was a warm summers day a few years ago when I jotted down all the skills you’ll need to work in comms. It dawned on me in writing them out you couldn’t possibly know them all yourself but the wider team could cover all the bases.

It’s been a few years since I looked at the list.

Looking at it again, it’s clear as it ever has been that you can’t know everything. You need a team of specialist generalists. People who have some solid core skills but can also excel in a few specialist areas.

Here is a list for 2019.

There are 56 and 41 of them I think everyone needs to know. Feel free to agree or disagree.

68 skills your comms team needs to know

Strategic

  1. Know your organisation’s priorities. Its priorities are the comms team’s priorities.
  2. Know how your team reports and contribute to that.
  3. Know how to evaluate. 
  4. Be a specialist generalist.Know the basic skills and have some areas you specialise in. You can’t know it all.
  5. Know what skills other specialist generalists have. Know their strengths and weaknesses and how they compensate your own abilities.
  6. Be a gate opener not a gatekeeper and know that frontline people can communicate with the right support. 
  7. To know what an income target is and to either plan for them or offer evaluated comms savings. 
  8. Know how to flag-up an issue of concern. 
  9. Know you need to keep learning. 
  10. Know your team’s communications strategy and plan. 
  11. Know all the channels and what your audience is. 
  12. Know when to work independently and as part of a team. 
  13. Know how to manage a team.
  14. Know how to be a head of communication

 

Basic core skills

  1. Know it’s okay not to be okay
  2. Know how to speak human
  3. Know when to educate the client. 
  4. Know how to be a diplomat, be small ‘p’ and big ‘P’ politically aware
  5. Know when and how to speak truth to power politely.
  6. Know how to listen to the public.
  7. Know basic media law.
  8. Know the value of internal comms.
  9. Know how to write a comms plan.
  10. Know how to interpret data.
  11. Know how to respond as an organisation in an emergency.
  12. Know how to look for the influencers who can influence networks.
  13. Know how to be able to communicate to the head and the heart. 
  14. Know how to manage time. 
  15. Know GDPR.

 

In creating content

  1. Know how to be a story teller in different formats.
  2. Know the right content at the right time in the right place.

In person

  1. Know how to be professional, warm and engaging.
  2. Know how to present.

In text

  1. Know the jargon but communicate in plain English.
  2. Know how to write effective emails. 
  3. Know how write effective email campaigns.
  4. Know how to write a press release.
  5. Know how to be able to write for the web.
  6. Know how to create and run a survey.

In media relations

  1. Know what the key titles are, their circulation, readership and the demographic that consumes them.
  2. Know how to take, log and investigate a media query.
  3. Know the difference between ‘on the record’ and ‘off the record’ and be very, very careful with both.
  4. Know how to make a complaint about media coverage.

In images

  1. Know where find copyright free images. 
  2. Know GDPR and how to record the permission of those who are photographed, update and maintain a model consent database.
  3. Know how to take and edit images with a phone or DSLR
  4. Know how to commission and work with a photographer
  5. Know how to select information and create an infographic.
  6. Know what branding is and why it is.
  7. Know the optimum lengths of video per channel.
  8. Know how to edit, shoot with a smartphone and add text and music to a video.
  9. Know how to plan and commission and external video.

 

In print

  1. Know when a leaflet is a best solution and work with designers. 
  2. Know when a newsletter or magazine is the best solution and how to liaise with designers.
  3. To know what data to look for and what data to count. 
  4. To know what open data is. 

 

In social media

  1. Know the social media channels, how your audiences use them and how to create content for them.
  2. Know and know how to deliver your organisation’s social media policy.
  3. Know when to get involved online and when not to.
  4. Know that social media isn’t all about evaluated calls to action.
  5. Know the Paretto Principle of 80-20 human v call to action content.
  6. Know that Facebook as a broad landscape rather than just your page.
  7. Know how and when to make friends with Facebook group and page admin.
  8. Know how to join Facebook groups and pages as yourself.
  9. Know how customer services works with social media.
  10. Know how to respond using social media in an emergency.
  11. Know new and emerging platforms and be able to experiment with them.
  12. Know how to create and schedule content at the right time.

Picture credit: istock.

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