Weeknote: 27 to 30 August 2019

    Empty room with plaster and mugs. Slogan on mug:
Empty room with plaster and mugs. Slogan on mug: “We make our own future”

A short week because of the Bank Holiday, which I spent packing up our kitchen ready for a builder to rip it apart first thing on Tuesday morning. Also something on Friday afternoon that I will cover in next week’s note.

1. How did I make expectations clear?

  • I started planning a planning process for some cross-cutting design and user research work in the next quarter. It’s complicated because we’re changing the way we work mid-financial year, but budgets and cost centre codes might take time to catch up. I’ve made a proposal to deal with that. A couple of the people I need to discuss it with were on leave this week, so I’ll follow up with them when they’re back.

2. What connections did I make?

  • I nominated Afsa and Di to help organise an event we’re planning across the health arms-length bodies. I know they’ll do a great job in collaboration with colleagues from the other ALBs.
  • Meetings with two former colleagues who are both joining NHS Digital. Matt and I were colleagues at Ananova and Orange. He’s the new Director of Communications. Adam, who I worked with at GDS, has joined us as Head of Product for open source initiatives. I’m excited to have the chance to work with them both again.
  • I had coffee with Alice, who is thinking deeply about how doctors and designers can work better together. We talked about the similarities and differences in the two professions’ ways of seeing and intervening in the world. There’s so much potential for better collaboration through shared understanding.

3. What inspired me this week?

  • At short notice I had an opportunity to speak at the IXDA London meetup. Thank to Nuzi and Jason for inviting me. I was inspired to see so many designers with healthcare experience in the room, and asking smart questions. Also the other speaker was Pip from the Helix Centre, whose presentation was excellent.

4. How did I uphold the NHS Constutition?

“Staff: your responsibilities…

contribute towards providing fair and equitable services for all and play your part, wherever possible, in helping to reduce inequalities in experience, access or outcomes between differing groups or sections of society requiring health care” – NHS Constitution for England


  • In my IXDA London talk, I highlighted the equalities dimensions in connected care, and accessibility. Our failures at these things disproportionately impact the experiences and health outcomes of the most vulnerable people in society. I was asked whether making things accessible was a limiting factor on the ability to use new technology. My answer: for the NHS, never – because our obligation is to serve everyone, so making things accessible is part of our core purpose as an organisation.

5. What do I need to take care of?

  • We’re approaching the end of the collective consultation phase in the re-organisation. A big part of my next week will be making sure that everyone has had a chance to input to the proposal for change that I’m leading, and that all their questions have been answered.
  • My stuff! I left my Macbook charger behind after the IXDA event. Thanks to Lucy at hosts BCG Digital Ventures for finding it and looking after it until I went back for it on Friday.

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