Weeknote: 5 to 9 December 2022

Night-time vew through queues of traffic towards Canary Wharf. Two skyscraper towers with many lights on, one of which has a pyramid roof
Overnight stay working with NHS Digital colleagues at Canary Wharf

What did I enjoy?

Meeting in person with colleagues who have been working together on our future operating model for the Product directorate in the new NHS England, and with other members of the senior leadership team for the directorate. We also went out for dinner and drinks together.

The next day, I joined the NHS England Elective and Emergency Care directorate’s away day, with colleagues looking back on the past year, ahead to the work yet to do, and reflecting on how colleagues can look after their own wellbeing  in the face of many changes and challenges.

What was hard?

It was a shame that a couple of my digital team colleagues were unwell, and so had to miss the away day.

I also had to lurk in a corner of the stairwell at the back of the Conway Hall to listen in on an important meeting about our corporate re-organisation.

What did I learn?

I was in a number of conversations about how we structure big decision-making processes, with mutliple moving pieces, to ensure we get to an outcome that’s right for everyone. As a service designer steeped in systems thinking principles, it’s frustrating to work on one facet of a design without visibility of other interconnected aspects. A better approach would be to enable everyone to run through multiple passes over their part of the design, with opportunities to compare and align in between. It’s hard to keep options open in a situation like this, but that would really help us to incorporate the diverse range of voices and insights needed for high-quality decisions.

What do I need to take care of?

We’ve already seen a hectic few months for people working on urgent and emergency care, and now there’s more turbulence ahead. As a digital team supporting the sector, we face nothing like the intensity experienced by workers on the frontline, but it’s still important to make sure we’re looking after ourselves at the same time as supporting patients and staff.

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