Weeknotes S2 Ep01

Heavily-edited latenotes.

Overarching feeling of the week.

A short week with a lot of time out of the office and too much to do.

A leadership conference, a workshop, a cold, some gin, a neglected inbox. And, the appearance of another big brown question mark.


I attended a workshop for the Accessibility team in GDS on Thursday morning which was really interesting. I also felt like I was able to be helpful. I really believe in the work Alastair Duggin’s team are doing and I’m really happy to be able to help out.

I drafted some of my thoughts about a recent Defra blog “Let’s fund teams, not projects” which I will turn into a response blog (coming soon).

In my Weeknotes preview I said I wanted to do more collaborative blogging which lead to a small exchange with Graham on Twitter, resulting in this tweet. I really hope so Graham!



I need my evenings to wind down and I didn’t give myself the opportunity this week. Wednesday night I had drinks with Luke, Wendy and Ally. Thursday night I had a freakout at the state of my inbox, worked till 9.30pm and couldn’t sleep when I tried to.

Eventually I got out of bed at around 1am to exorcise a blog post which I had been mentally drafting. This is not the way to live.

This week I know I have too many meetings and too much to do. I’m going to try and block any free time in my diary in the day so that I can get my head down, and try to make sure I use my evenings to relax so that I don’t burn out.

Plan for Next week

Try not to fall hugely behind as all of the meetings I couldn’t have last week have carried over to this week. Try to sleep. Get over this cold. My brother is coming to stay, that will be good.

On Friday I’ll be spending the day at Letchworth Heritage Foundation evaluating all of the user research taking place this week. I can’t wait.

OTG Microactions

  1. Last week I brought along Hannah my mentee to the OGT breakfast club and she really found it very interesting. She is an economist at DfT and so it’s given her some exposure to things that she wouldn’t normally come into contact with.
  2. Following breakfast club I signed some of my team up for Transforming Together which has a OTG link up this time around (we usually go to TT but it wasn’t widely advertised this time which was a bit of a shame as our team find it valuable).
  3. I RTd Debbie’s tweet about OTGNorth and it seemed to go well which is great. You can read more here in Debbie’s weeknotes (does sharing this count as an additional microaction? I think so)
  4. I set a workshop with some external teams to take place immediately after Breakfast club so that some ALBs can attend on the 16th October.

Ideas for blogs / Things I’m thinking about

Please get in contact if you have any thoughts on these or would be interested in drafting a blog together. Collaborative blogs FTW!

1.Weeknoters consultancy. Something I’ve struggled to get out of my head since Dan mentioned it in Ep32 of his weeknotes. How could weeknoters form some kind of consultancy, maybe to help define a piece of work, consult on ways of working, or just write blogs and help people to work openly.

I’m so excited about this prospect (and I’d love the opportunity to work with my fellow weeknoters professionally).

2.Diversity networks and female leadership. On Wednesday I went to Women into Leadership conference in London, Keela Shackell-Smith was speaking and I thought she was great. I noticed how a number of women talked about how working with their departmental diversity networks enabled them to show leadership skills that they wouldn’t have otherwise shown in their day to day work. I started wondering if that tells us anything about the roles women are doing or about how people become visible in large organisations.

3.What happens in a vaccum? There’s been a lot of stuff going on in my team recently which I don’t think it will be helpful to go into here, except to say that there have been a number of WTF moments where something completely leftfield has come and smacked me in the face.

This week I had another of those. It’s got me thinking a lot about communication and what happens when you don’t communicate what is happening to people. Dan recently wrote an update about his values for work and spoke about the impact of gossip.

I think there’s two things, when people don’t have the information they need, they can either extrapolate wildly and cause all kinds of gossip, or when new information come in people feel completely thrown by it, the impact of that is that motivation dwindles, and people start swimming in all sorts of directions rather than towards a goal.

4. Knowing too much / not knowing enough. You know how they say that if you dug a huge hole through the centre of the earth and then jumped into it, gravity would mean that you’d end up being pulled backwards and forwards until you just ended up suspended in the middle?

I’m currently oscillating wildly between feeling like I know what I’m doing and feeling like I know absolutely nothing. I need to remember, and keep remembering, that if I feel that way it’s probably because I feel vulnerable, and if I feel vulnerable it’s probably because I’m putting myself out there. If I’m putting myself out there it probably means I’m learning something. That’s good and I need to try and resist the urge to go back under cover.


Simon Sinek video in Lisa Rechielt’s TinyLetter:

This reminds me of what I said in S1 Ep10 about the Weeknoters meetup:

I felt conscious that I was doing a lot of talking. Maybe more than others, when I didn’t want to hold the floor — I wanted to listen and learn.

It expresses how I’ve been feeling and wanting to act. I will try and be more thoughtful and be the last to speak if I can.

This great blog by Policy Lab…

Mapping service design and policy design

This article in The Pool. I love The Pool.

Mapping service design and policy design

I read this brilliant graphic novel which is part biography and part fantasy about Nick Cave, I especially loved the bits about the early days of the Birthday Party in Berlin with Blixa Bargeld.

Mapping service design and policy design

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