Weeknotes S6 Ep03

Vulnerability hangover

Hi hi. How are you? I wasn’t sure if I would write weeknotes this week because I wrote quite a long post about my experiences at GovCamp and published that yesterday. And, honestly, writing that took it out of me a little bit and I wasn’t sure I had anything more to say, but actually, now I think I do.

Below is my post about GovCamp. Thank you to everyone who’s already read and shared it and said nice things about it. It means a huge amount.

View at Medium.com

So this week what’s been happening?

I worked from home on Monday in an attempt to overcome some of the issues I’d felt getting in last week. I figured if I was at home then I’d be able to work through and finish some bits off without being worried about running for the train. I’m sure this will feel more natural the more I do it and as the work starts to really get going.

The main issue with being out of the office on a Monday is that it creates a bit of inertia when you’re trying to kick off the week. I also felt acutely aware that I was only in the office for one day this week.

Tuesday I was in the office but a lot of the team were out at the Government ICT conference (I can’t quite remember what it was called). I enjoyed having the space to do stuff and think on my own.

I started getting the things I think we should be tracking and measuring out of my canvasses and into a spreadsheet to give it some more structure that the others could use (or use for discussion). I’m starting to get a good idea of how I think we should be running our sprints, in order to make sure we are able to build in flow and fact-finding alongside the structure we will need as we move forward.

I’d like us to split our sprints in two whereby we have one week which is going out into the world and finding out stuff, and the second week is us coming back together to synthesise that information, building themes and structures or noting things we want to monitor.

We have 17 funded projects and other work to do around the fund, including managing training (as well as maintaining our sanity) so it seems obvious to me that we might not be able to do meetings with all those teams every two weeks, especially for Adam and Egle who have a lot more projects to manage than me (as I work part time).

Therefor we need to work out how to build up the picture incrementally and discuss “what’s next” based on the knowledge available. Hopefully we can start planning this out and make it work.


Also on Tuesday I met my mentee Hannah for a coffee which was really nice and she talked about the process of interviewing for her new job, within the IPA in the Cabinet Office. I’m so pleased to see her moving into something new, a policy role, where she will be learning loads.

We also talked building a mentoring network or community of Economists in government working at a specific level, which I think is a great idea and I’m interested to see how it pans out.

At the moment I’m not sure if we will continue our mentoring relationship as she gets to grips with her new job, and that’s fine, I feel like I’ve done my bit and I’m so pleased for her (and letting myself feel a little pleased with myself too).

Images from Worcester. Look at that golden building, The Hive, in the morning sunlight. Beautiful.

On Wednesday I got up excruciatingly early to head to Worcester to see one of my funded project teams. It was a long journey through some quite snowy countryside.

The team are looking into how to use the Digital Economy Act to access Registrations data (that’s data about Births, Deaths and Marriages). What would access to this data mean for improving the services they offer?

These types of meetings are absolutely my favourite place to be — grappling with the problem space, seeing people come together to draft process flows and build shared understanding. It was great to be in the room and see that happen, and I got to use my favourite line: “I’m new here so I reserve the right to ask stupid questions”.

It was a long day though, and as I didn’t get back until after 8pm due to my returning train being stopped somewhere outside Reading. I was pretty exhausted and grateful for another working from home day on Thursday.

On Thursday I had a great hangout with Adam in my team which is probably the most we’ve spoken one-to-one and it was useful to discuss what happens next and talk about some of our projects. I’m looking forward to working with Adam some more.

What else?

Dan asked if I wanted to co-write a blog post with him about an interesting subject. So that will be awesome.

Morgan shared this awesome video which is an animation of part of a talk by Brene Brown. It is so lovely and perfect.

This started me off watching her Ted Talks (there are two) and the talk she gave on vulnerability actually made me cry because it was so perfect.

Especially in the context of what I have recently been writing about, being a person on the internet and being a person in the real world. I’ve been thinking a lot about the vulnerability that goes along with writing about yourself online, and how she speaks about courage pulled a lot of thoughts and feelings together for me.

She said in her second talk that after she gave it she had a “vulnerability hangover” and didn’t leave the house for three days. I can strongly identify with this as I post-mortem all the time. It was especially timely as I published my blog about GovCamp yesterday and headed into today feeling… somewhat fragile? Exposed? Vulnerable.

Anyway, please watch her Ted Talks if you haven’t already, and please do do this because I literally never recommend Ted Talks as I often find them a bit cringe[1]. Anyway here it is:

James texted the One Team Gov crew to see what we thought about an idea he’s had about doing a “Bureaucracy hack” which sounded really fun and interesting. Within a matter of days he’s gathered over 200 people’s names who were interested, amasses a ton of ideas and written this brilliant blog. The OTG team all helped to shape the final thing and its a really brilliant thing as a result:

View at Medium.com

I also really enjoyed insights about GovCamp from Coco, Lizzi and Gavin which I guess you will find if you search for GovCamp or #ukgc19

Absolutely love this music video by Beak>

Finally I haven’t made a playlist this week because I have been alternating between Self Esteem (below) and old Adam Buxton podcasts.

Till next week. Byeeeeee.

[1] To explain this, it is something about the rhythm and intonation used. I think Ted works with people ahead of the talk to give them training on how to do public speaking, but (in my opinion) it means that a lot of them sound the same and it distracts me from the massage. I find myself thinking about what it would sound like if they put their real personality in there. It’s the formula I have issue with, and obviously if you’ve been asked to do a Ted Talk you’re probably super intelligent and have a lot of interesting stuff to say, so this is just me being me and overthinking things. Anyway, blah blah blah…

I started writing this at approx 11.15 on Friday and wrote for about 45 mins before going out and spending time with family. On Friday afternoon I finished this off so it’s approximately 1.5 hours work.

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