#Weeknotes, eh?

It’s Rob’s fault. He nudged me to give #weeknotes a go; and because it always is Rob’s fault. It feels narcissistic to indulge in telling the world what I’ve been up to every week (and it is), yet I’m curious to test some of the (less self-indulgent) reasons why it is worth doing.

The why of weeknotes by @jukesie resonates for me, and I’ll be checking-in every now and then to remind myself of some of the other reasons for indulging and see how I’m doing on those. Of all the weeks to start with #weeknotes, week 24 of 2019 (London Tech Week) has to be one of the best.

I’m not sure how I want to structure my #weeknotes, and rummaging around the Internet hasn’t helped to settle that… So, in the spirit of being agile, I’m going to dive in and give it a go, and I’ll let my style and the structure of these notes evolve over time. (And I expect the bigger challenge is going to be to get a note out every most weeks!)

Thinking about digital, and what it means for us

I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about what digital means, and what it means to be a ‘smart’ place. I’ve been reflecting on the conversations that I’ve been having as part of our external digital challenge, in the office and while out-and-about, and through London Tech Week (watch this Bloomberg video).

I’ve been reminded of how easy it is to get caught up in the detail of the work that we’re doing, to the extent that the work becomes the thing that we’re trying to achieve, rather than the means of achieving things. Technology is amazing. At its best it brings people and communities together and empowers and connects them. It can bring about transparency and fairness; and give us insight. It can be the means for more people to access and participate in debate and discussion in our communities.

In opening a wider and more inclusive participative approach, we have the opportunity in local government to broker trust around our citizens data and the use of their data. I’m interested in projects such as the Alternative Camden Community Data Trust. Reflecting on how we empower our citizens, we are turning to what we can do to outline their rights to control and manage their data and understand who and where it is being used.

Our digital external challenge

Our digital external challengers have spent this week working across Camden, meeting with citizens and officers and looking into three hypotheses: (1) accessibility, (2) inclusivity and participation, and (3) understanding needs. The discussion at the sessions I’ve been able to join has been really insightful.

I’ve learnt a lot about the challenges that our citizens face in accessing our services; and the excellent work that officers do across the council. There has also been a lot to reflect on in terms of how this insight, technology and the better design of digital could help to improve things. As Theo notes in the Bloomberg video: “imagine if we could bring those two forces [data and design] together” (it’s at 23m45s in the video).

… and onto week 25

Reflecting, I’ve found in a difficult to keep things succinct, and to avoid just transcribing my diary in prose. Hopefully in pulling out lots of detail I’ve kept this easy and quick to read, while also giving a sense of what I’ve been up to (and what I’ve been thinking).

Please let me know what you think!

One thought on “2019.24 …and so it begins

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