Weeknote: 25 to 29 May 2020

Two laptops on desk surrounded by sticky notes and papers

What inspired me this week?

Two workshops in which I was reminded of the growing breadth and depth of talent in our user-centred design community across national NHS organisations. Helen and Nancy led a brilliant session on user insights, personas and problem statements for a large and complex new service. The following day Sophie facilitated 40+ people in remote story mapping at an epic level (in both the agile jargon sense and the common meaning of the word ‘epic’) Both workshops were ably assisted by Misaki. Last week, I mentioned the need to get ahead of that Gromit laying track GIF feeling. These sessions were part of that process. Feedback from one participant: “An uplifting way to finish the week. Doing this as one team is such an opportunity for our users!”

How did I uphold the NHS Constitution?

In the welcome to the second workshop, which included many who know the NHS well, and some who are new to working in it, I called attention to three NHS Constitution principles in particular:

  1. The patient will be at the heart of everything the NHS does – if we don’t uphold this one, there’s no point in us being here
  2. The NHS works across organisational boundaries – because no one organisation can meet the complex and varied user needs we now face
  3. The NHS is committed to providing best value for taxpayers’ money – so we seek to avoid duplication, build on existing platforms, and critically avoid waste through only developing things for which there’s a validated user need.

What connections did I make?

A call with Cate and Simon, who lead design in NHS Digital Data Services and NHSX respectively.

What do I need to take care of?

  • Our multidisciplinary teams are working in an increasingly complex landscape with new collaborators from different organisations arriving by the day. It’s not easy to induct those new collaborators rapidly when everyone’s remote. We need to get them up to speed with how we do things around here – our non-negotiable standards of user-centricity and inclusion, privacy and security, interoperability and openness. At the same time, we want to recognise the fresh external perspectives that newcomers bring, and make them feel welcome to our community.
  • There’s always a tension between working across the wider health and care system and spending time building visibilty of our work inside our own organisation. Something happened this week that made me realise I had neglected some aspects of the latter, and I need to work on that further over the coming months.

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