Beginnings, and endings

What a fantastic weekend that was! We saw our first red strawberry, albeit very briefly before it was gobbled-up by one of the boys. In our house, the first ripe strawberry has come to signal the start of the summer. We’re only a short few days away from the end of term, manically trying to fit in class assemblies, sports days and all of the other ‘end of year’ goings on. A hectic and busy time, ahead of our yearly two weeks of family time in the middle of nowhere (also known as the Peloponnese) at the end of August.

Speaking of beginnings and endings, we had the first meeting of the new Digital Services senior management team last week. We have quite a lot on at the moment and we used the meeting to share some of the upcoming work with each other, and to talk through what we, the senior managers in the service, need to do support each other and our teams with so much going on.

Communicating more was a recurring theme, both how we communicate with the rest of the organisation and how we communicate with each other. I was particularly taken by suggestions to have regular lunch time sharing sessions, and the suggestion from the floor that cheese has mystical relationship building qualities (something I wholeheartedly endorse, especially if wine is involved!).

What does ‘data greatness’ look like?

I’m struggling to get my head around the gnarly challenge of ‘what good looks like’ when it come to data. How do we adopt and drive best practice in the council, and in the borough? And how do we do that ethically? The questions that I’m mulling over include:

  • how we empower our citizens, so that they control their data that we hold; and whether some form of Community Data Trust may be the right approach
  • how we bring citizen data together to better understand their needs, and whether it is right to use that data to anticipate their needs
  • how we improve consistency across the council, sharing the excellent work and best practice from pockets of the council across all our services
  • whether data is a means to an end, or the end itself … and whether that matters

I’ll share more on this in the coming weeks.

… and onto week 27

I’ll be posting a longer #weeknote next week, sharing more about our External Challenge and the session we had last week. The feedback was great, and it’s going to be a real challenge for us deciding what to pick-up first!

I’m looking forward to meeting with colleagues from Parking team, alongside our counterparts at Westminster City Council. We’ve been pragmatically collaborating together and the teams have achieved some great things together. This will be an opportunity for us to look to what next, and to give thought to how we share our work with our colleagues in #LOTI and across the sector more widely.

Through absolute chance, I met someone at the weekend who’s working on an exciting project that brings together artificial intelligence, street lights and assistive technology. Definitely a conversation to continue in a work setting, and something I’ll be trying to set up next week.

Finally, I’m hoping to start reading a couple of books this week: Invisible Women and Purple Cow.

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