Weeknotes 31: working with effective networks

This week has been a busy week and out of the office quite a bit. Out and about included my first visit to #localgovcamp, our quarterly management meeting, this time at Stoke Newington Town Hall, and a Hackney leaders network event.

So, 6 great things that happened this week:

  1. Local gov camp. Lots of energy, great talks, met loads of people who I’d been following on Twitter, heard mentioned by my colleagues, or had already met at One Team Gov. Nic, Emma and Richard hosted great sessions on the work we’re doing in Hackney on user research library, project pipeline and planning. There were loads of interesting sessions, to mention a few: Lizzi Standing ran a great session about #weeknotes which I think has inspired several people to start writing and generated a good discussion about working in the open. Esko from Satori labs ran a session on network mapping which sparked all sorts of interesting thoughts about how we might use this at Hackney, and Ian and Belen from FutureGov ran an engaging session about the digital academy work they’re doing with Essex.

2. I ran a workshop in the office around our learning and development strategy* with team leaders at the start of the week, asking ourselves three questions: What’s my role as a leader in embedding a learning culture? How do we develop a future leadership pipeline and then nurture it? What are my needs as a leader? I used the liberating structures 1–2–4-all method to make sure that we generated good discussion and ideas. At the end we all committed to 3 micro-actions we would take next.

3. Paul and I wrote a brief together for a small project for a group of our new apprentices to take forward: how might we creatively play back our internal customers’ experiences of our service so that we can use the insights to improve how we deliver those services. We’re trying to be clear about the ‘what’ we want to achieve so that we can leave the ‘how’ to the team who’ll deliver it. It was great to work with Paul on something practical that the apprentices can make their own.

4. I spoke at our senior leaders network meeting about our digital apprenticeship programme, alongside Alex who looks after Hackney’s overall apprenticeship programme. I was quite nervous – it’s a big room of senior people, some of whom I know but most I don’t yet. But – I was well prepared, and we have a really good story to tell so it went well.**


5. Our quarterly management meeting this week was great – a really good discussion about what we want to achieve in the next 3 months, and a chance to share what we’ve been working on with each other.

6. Final swim #8 of 8. I’ve really enjoyed it each week so – I’m setting myself a new goal: can I swim every week up until Xmas? That’s (only) 13 swims. . . .but it’s getting colder.

What I’m reading this week

I’m still reading Leadership on the Line, which is very good, and also a new novel by Tim Winton (also v good).

Tim Winton, The Shepherd’s Hut

* Jessica Brown will recognise this format, because I’ve basically taken and then built on the ace work she did at Acas 👍

**that is apart from my seeming inability to do simple maths whilst under pressure.

Weeknotes 28: data, and more data

A short(ish) weeknote this week (to reflect the short week!)

Thought for the week — courtesy of Studs Terkel

5 (great) things that happened this week

(NB loads of good things happened — this is just a sample)

  1. We’ve made offers to all 18 apprentices now — which means that very soon we’re going to have an influx of new talent and energy. Am really looking forward to meeting them all — and there’s a real sense of excitement across all the teams about doing the best we can to induct them well, and get them off to a good start. I spent some time this week thinking about how we can support managers with this.
  2. I learnt more about how our mobile data contract works than I thought I would at the start of the week, including meeting our suppliers, reading through lots of background material and learning loads from Steve about the art of the possible. I’ve also had the chance to work closely with Steve all week on a range of various things, which has been great as we’re both new to Hackney, and working our way into our roles.
  3. I went for swim 5 of 8 at the lido. In the rain (which was actually kind of magical).


4. We finalised the ICT survey 2018 questions — it’s ready to go out next week and I think we’re asking the right questions that will help us innovate and improve. It’s been great to work on this over the past couple of weeks as it’s helped me also think about our impact measures.

5. I spent time with Sonia, Hackney’s Head of Policy and Partnerships — learning about the work of her and her team. I heard her talk at an event about the work she’s doing on inclusive leadership — something I’m also interested in, so it was good opportunity to discuss how we might collaborate.

What I read this week

This via a friend who’s used it really effectively in the NHS and was raving about it:

Stop Counterproductive Activities and Behaviors to Make Space for Innovation

I also like that it suggests using the 1–2–4-all method of incuding everyone in the room.


This from Ben Holliday on different trypes of maps is really helpful.


Via Glynn Jones on twitter — I was reminded of this excellent blog post about boldness from Janet Hughes


and finally I loved this from David Venturi, via Steve Messer’s brilliantly titled weeknotes — a data scientists’ approach to ranking data science courses.


What I struggled with this week

There was a lot of data and maths stuff this week. I have to remind myself that I can work with both, really effectively. And kick against my default belief (long held and powerful) that I can’t.