This weeknote doesn’t carry much about the work I am doing. I was finding my weeknotes about work probably worked better as their own standalone blog posts. If I write any work related blog posts I will link out to them from my weeknotes.

  • Started last weekend helping with Coder Dojo in Bradford. Ending up doing one of those great one on one lessons, sitting with a young person who was just so self-interested, keen to get on, willing to try stuff, and made progress. A joy! Fair enough HTML is such an easy-ish language to pick up once you get the turn-on-and-turn-off mechanism of the code, but anyone with a computer can get on with it (on a Windows machine you just need Notepad and a browser, which come as stock) and as a language — and as a language that is run — it’s pretty forgiving, allowing you to get into trying and debugging with no harsh punishments. Due to half term dates the next Dojo is pencilled in for Saturday 29 February, if you’re interested — or better still your kids are.
  • As segue from that I’ve been reflecting more on what I want to get out of work. Through the last weeks of last year I wrote a list to help me focus this year, but I didn’t really weight stuff. What’s the importance of each? The freelance life doesn’t lend itself much to coaching and developing the people you work with or the culture of designing. Yeah, there’s the soft stuff from working alongside people, but… I think by a good distance it’s the thing I miss the most about being just-a-designer as a freelancer. Nurturing people and environments.
  • I started the week wanting to do a couple of middle-of-the-day runs. Short days means not seeing a lot of daylight. Short days means usually running in the dark. Short days means gym visits are up. Goals: Try to avoid the gym. Get the light! And the fresh air! Monday, working from home, was a great chance. I started work early, got changed at 11:45am, went back to the shed to do a couple of things, then it’s 12:30pm, I’ve a meet at 1pm and half an hour isn’t enough time for a decent run. 2pm though I was out. Totally worth it. It’s easy to use timeboxing as an excuse to do the familiar, but I broke left out of our street instead of right and headed through Thackley and along the back roads to Shipley. My first time along there. Just something familiar enough — I’ve driven along there enough — but with enough change, the slow pace being on foot meant I saw there’s a path down there I need to check another time and stuff like that that. I didn’t think about much during the run which is a new experience for me. There’s usually something. I shifted along at a decent pace too. I tried the middle-of-the-day run again today too, something longer on a familiar route with a little twist to keep it different. Going to try to keep at it, although being away a bit next week is going to challenge that.
  • On Thursday, having looked forward to New Adventures for months I ended up not going. I ended up working a 12 hour day and after that I just wanted to flop, bring forward my running rest day and take something in. Mark mentioned in his recent weeknote about the Frank Stephenson documentary Chasing Perfect. It’s on Netflix. Some proper industrial and product design stuff in there, lots of great stuff about prototyping. Stephenson’s always come across as a massive doodler/sketcher and that came across. The Fiat 500 story is a lesson for a lot of people. It ends with that thing everyone rolls their eyes at: A designer wanting to work on things that will have a positive impact. But why can’t Stephenson? Bags of experience and a can do approach. It also ends with a warming tribute to dogs, unexpected — and which would have been great if my dog wasn’t sprawled out on the sofa and I was bunched up at the far end. Good doc anyway, although the sound editing is really off.
  • Talking of Stephenson: Minis (because he was involved the modern design of them). I was driving about at night this week for five minutes without my headlights on. The switch for the lights is a dial below the steering wheel. I usually have it on automatic, because y’know light sensors. As I’d got in or out my knee must have rotated the dial to off. Not such good design that.
  • Flapjack update: A couple of weeks back I had three recipes. Number 1 I covered in the first week. Numbers 2 and 3 have been made and consumed since. Recipe 2 was a bit of a miss. The flapjack was too crumbly. Recipe 3 I ran out of syrup while making them and had to go half syrup and half honey. But they turned out to be great flapjacks, Great Flapjacks, amongst the best.
  • Got back into the reading groove this year already. I’ve not finished it yet but really enjoying Running to the Edge, all the stuff around different coaches’ methods, assumptions versus science, learning what works, learning what is better, learning what is worse — and in a time when it wasn’t about just jumping on the internet. A summer spent learning about a topic meant books and phone calls and meetings and courses. The stuff about watching out for future runners, scouting basically, is great too. We don’t do too much of that in our industry. Not as much as we should anyway.
  • Anyway, time to head off and spend time with my kids. I have been trying to give them some good chunks of time. I have probably not been that great at that over the years. I will ends here and hit publish. Thanks if you read this far down! Hope you get something from these notes.

Decent reads

Good discussion starter from Danny Safer on what is a design decision

The Risks of Imitating Designs (Even from Successful Companies)

Andrea wrote a nice post on Human-centred policy? Blending ‘big data’ and ‘thick data’ in national policy

Doppelgänger and digital twins, urban glimpses and drawing data

Scott Colfer’s great post on discoveries at MoJ

What big corporates often get wrong about Service Design (highly relatable)


Did you like these weeknotes? Maybe looking for some that are better? Give these a try: Mark Boulton, Mark Hurrell, Matthew Solle, Chris Thomas.

Original source – Simon Wilson

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