Weeknote: 2 to 6 March 2020

Two days off visiting Liverpool on Thursday and Friday

What inspired me this week?

  • Conversations with candidates at our graduate traineeships assessment centre in London. The candidates are always impressive.
  • A preview of Rochelle, Shirley and Emma’s talk at Service Design in Government. By all accounts they did brilliantly.
  • A joint show and tell by two of our teams. The NHS App team showed how they’ve made it easier for users to feed back about errors, and supported service management colleagues to resolve problems more quickly. The discovery team on Book, Refer and Manage Appointments shared their findings from visits to admin teams. They’re seeing lots of opportunities to improve patient experience, information flows and interoperability.
  • Tom’s post about the things he’s learning in the latter. I’m so pleased we’re able to share this work in the open.
  • Teams delivering new content and and service in response to Covid-19. I’ve had little directly to do with these, and that’s how it should be. As a leader it can be tempting to rush towards every developing situation, when the truth is, our teams are quite capable of rising to the challenge. I trust them to ask for support when they need it.

How did I uphold the NHS Constitution?

  • Shared feedback with senior leadership team colleagues about things that cause stress for some of our people. User-centred design specialists are sometimes characterised as getting stuck in discovery. Fact is, once you’ve spent time listening to users’ stories first hand, you’ll be more impatient than ever to deliver stuff that makes things better. Not being able to deliver improvements, after hearing what users desperately need, is a real source of stress for user researchers and their teams.

What leadership teamwork did I see?

  • More good work on job descriptions and requests to change profession. I’m grateful for the support of our brilliant practice leads in all this.

What connections did I make?

  • A catch-up with Simon from the finance team who has supported our Building a Digital Ready Workforce team this year. He’s now helping us with finance for the  user-centred design team.

What do I need to take care of?

  • Budgeting and business planning for next financial year.
  • Recruitment decisions to be made for some strategically important roles.
  • Giving the right amount of attention to important long-term priorities, and to the urgent short-term demands that may come our way in the next few weeks.

How many times did I cycle to work?

  • 1 out of a possible 2 (a day in London and 2 days off).

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