And so the season is over for Grimsby Town. Competition-wise it was over a couple of weeks back with the 2-3 defeat to Exeter, meaning the maths said Town couldn’t stay in the fourth division, relegation confirmed. The last two games have been devoid of competition meaning for Town. But every game has to be played and now they’re all done. The league table at the end of the season shows Town bottom with 43 points, 2 behind Southend who finished with 45 points, 5 behind Scunthorpe who sit above those relegated teams.
What it doesn’t show: How much of the season a few of us have seen. It’s been a horrible season overall to watch — in a horrible year — but due to Covid being able to watch live Saturday 3pm kick-offs online it’s the season I have watched the most games for a very long time, maybe going back 20 years. At a time earlier in the season when Holloway created something that just seemed so disconnected in so, so many ways I don’t think I’ve felt more connected to the games, seeing pretty much every minute of the “televised” matches. There’s a side argument about fans in grounds — How much difference would fans in grounds have made to teams’ performances? Is such a thing actually possible to determine empirically? — but this season has been an interesting experiment in ongoing viewing. I am really curious if the football authorities realise there is something in giving access to watch matches online.
It was a tall order when Paul Hurst came in to stop the slide and the drop. I am still surprised we stayed in with a chance of staying up for so so long. There is something in doing the best you can, showing up every day to do that even when given a seemingly hopeless situation.
The takeover of the club by Jason Stockwood and Andrew Petit went through, and from the off they’re doing things. The delivery side of me sees they’ve done a lot of work ahead of coming in, so “hitting the ground running” was off the back of some excellent preparation work. Eloquent and thoughtful interviews with Jason and Andrew airing a lot of prior considerations; the training facilities upgrade; a focus on environments that footballers — “professionals” turning up to work — can do their best work in; reaching out to fans with a thoughtful and well structured survey; talk of sustainability; the desire to galvanise. It’s all got an air of pragmatic transformation, regenerating the club to regenerate the town. There’s lot to be hopeful and curious about as both a fan and someone interested in the business side of things. And also a sense of irony that the previous majority shareholder, John Fenty, has gone off to do regeneration projects when at any point he could have applied that same desire to the club he was custodian of. Ah well, eh.
Onwards, as they say.
Design is a process. It’s a long game too I reckon. Not a long game of doing nothing but a regular cycle of thinking, designing, making, hour by hour or month by month. But I’m not sure enough who shepherd the work get this. One cycle, design, done. But why is this? Is it too much of this conversation is still between designers? Is it also in some places there’s not enough of this conversation between designers, because designers are “lonely islands”? Peer discussion is healthy, but talk between designers is relatively cheap in the wider organisational picture. Time, effort should be just as much with the people who need to understand the process, the work going on.
I recently tried to jot down a simple-ish take on service thinking (which I see as a way of designing) as
putting the onus on and valuing the experience/s of / interaction/s with / outcome/s for an end user — rather than being led by, say, organisational structure or tech stacks. Surface the journeys someone goes through, the journeys they would prefer to go through and see how the org’s capability and capacity can accomodate that.
It’s not just an onus on perspectives (users over everything else) but also the need for time (which I am reiterating a few paragraphs on) and actually having done it, it being “going through the process of design” a few times. What’s that quote, something like “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
Yesterday on the bike (watching the Grimsby game, through my laptop) I was wondering about this and also around “product thinking”. (I am not going down the “it’s questioning over thinking” — questioning is a form of thinking.) When do you move being a one pass process to being The Culture?
Does what I just wrote even seem coherent or make sense? Just putting it down here to pick over in the coming week.
I can’t remember what I wrote this, to be honest
Standing on the shoulders of giants is easy enough, as is looking for inspiration in reference materials. Feeding back into those things you depend upon? Rare. Doing something of quality? Not guaranteed just because you’ve facsimiled something. And also: The line between replicating and distinction is wider than people realise.
A few weeks back I started a playlist on Apple Music of music I was listening to through from 1990 to 1995, when I was 14 through to when I finished my A-levels, aged 19. Feel free to listen to it too.