Weeknote: 9 to 13 May 2022

Black linoleum desktop with laptop, notebook, wires and marker pens
Short-notice co-working in Open Innovations, Leeds

What was hard?

A workshop to consider how digital might support a changing service model in 111. I was proud of my team, and impressed by the way leaders from different organisations involved in the service approached some difficult things that needed to be said, and needed to be heard. Special credit to Ollie and Imogen for planning and organising the session, with extra faciltation and input from colleagues in NHS England and NHS Digital.

Taking part in this important workshop was disrupted by my office closing partway through due to a problem with the water supply. Fortunately I was able to pop round the corner to the Open Innovations co-working space in Munro House, and reconnect from there. Thank you, Kathryn, Paul and team, it was lovely to be back!

What did you enjoy?

A leaving dinner in London for a senior NHSX colleague. Lovely food, wine, and not all work-related conversation.

An in-person board meeting at Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association, where I’m a non-executive director. I’ve been a board member for about 18 months now, but this was the first time we’d been able to meet together around the organisation’s own boardroom table. These are challenging times for many social housing customers, and I hope we kept their interests front of mind in all our decisions.

Thursday was filled with one-to-ones and catch-ups with colleagues. I especially enjoyed meeting Sara, our new head of user research, and got so caught up in conversation that I was late for my next meeting with the digital profession leads – sorry about that.

What do you need to take care of?

The integration of my teams into NHS England is progressing but it does mean some practical things have got harder in the short term. This is especially impacting on people and managers who are new to the organisation and don’t have informal networks that they can pull in to resolve blockers. Ours are not the only teams facing the same problems, and we need to work together to put in place new, efficient ways of doing the things we used to take for granted.

The transition is also affecting where I need to spend my time. At latest count, I think I have 6 bosses, each with a specific interest in overseeing the work for which I’m senior responsible owner. They’re all lovely people, but keeping up with them all, and their conversations with each other, could become a full-time job in itself if we don’t set some clear ground-rules together. I really appreciated a chat with Nayeema on Friday morning, in which she helped me figure that out.

What did you learn?

I always learn a lot from browsing other people’s weeknotes over on weeknot.es. This week, in particular, I really liked this slide deck that Martha made for the Vancouver Service Design meetup on “reasons to not to codesign“. It’s a lovely slide deck with some thought-provoking questions for us all.

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