Week notes 9th April 2018

New desk endorsed by dog

New job new desk – endorsed by dog.

In summary. Week two – still love it.

I’m now starting to dig a bit deeper into the organisation and meeting some people outside of the immediate team – they continue to be clever, committed people who want to get stuff done – joy!

I’m also starting to look at our technology strategy* and our starting point is looking outside at some of the mega trends and disrupters as well as inside at the (many) assets that we have in this space. I’ll post more about that when I have my thoughts together.

What working on the strategy does do is immediately put me in the ‘what do we mean when we say digital’ space and I’ve also written a bit about that here. I’ve been saying for a while that I think we have hit peak digital and that its become a meaningless word – my personal preference is to shift to a conversation about the future of work and the nature of the 21st Century workforce and organisation – but when someone just wants a website off you this can be a bit cumbersome…

I’m holding onto to my resolution to look and listen for my first month – this coming week I will be balancing this with a need to start to get properly operationally engaged.

My intent for this week is to get more detailed about the timetable for what we want to get done before June (which is when I want to have this first thinking and shaping phase done) and also to checkin in with some people to make sure that I am getting to meet the people I need to.

Some of the people I met this last week are directly engaged with our core purpose work and I’m hugely looking forward to the chance to see some of our labs and get more understanding of our policy work. One thing that really strikes me when I compare this new world to local government in particular is the clarity. Some of the people I have met have talked about the tensions involved with the need to balance research, policy and fund-raising – especially with respect to things like technology investment. Which investment gets us closer to 3/4 faster? But when I compare this to the complexity of the multi-service obligations of a council with the addition of the political dimension and the pressures of austerity it really make me realise exactly why Local Government can feel so hard. I’m not underestimating the challenges of my new world but I am reflecting on what an incredible asset the relative clarity of purpose is.

Enjoy the sunshine folks.

*. I keep coming back to Simon Parker‘s post about the fact that we shouldn’t be writing strategies – not sure but I think I disagree as the ritual of creating a strategy (if done right) can bring people together with common purpose and create what my new boss Tiff is calling ‘guiderails’ which make it so much easier for people to get on and do stuff without the need to for a huge rigamarole of governance until you are doing the really difficult/risky stuff.

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