Mini-weeknote – 21st May

Robin Ince, in full flight, and 72 tangents in.

Lots of projects ticking along at work, lots of new things kicking off, but few tangible things to talk about at this stage.

  • I’m helping design the interview process for the new Head of Product for GOV.UK. It’s quite a different gig from hiring my own replacement at DIT, but there are definitely some common themes…and I lightly wish I still had access to the interview scripts to steal a few bits and bobs, but hey.
  • Thinking I really really need to finish this massive blogpost about roadmapping, or more specifically, different ways of planning and using the artefacts of those different types of planning – particularly in an area of high uncertainty. Loads of the themes are coming up in other conversations, and I really need to do the Marina Hyde thing of ‘writing it all down so I genuinely know what I think’.
  • Went up to Manchester this week for one of the GDS all-staff events, to run a Learning and Development breakout workshop with my UR partner-in-crime Natalie. Seemed to go pretty well, and we had GDS’s CEO Tom Read in the session, so that’s Quite Handy.
  • While there I also got to have a good chat with two of the Directors and a brief hello with a couple of DDs I don’t normally get to see too often as I’m mainly in London. Something I could do with fixing a bit. I’ve still not been to Bristol – pah.
  • “Heads of Profession” have finally got a set of agreed objectives.
  • I’ve got a LOT of workshops to design/write suddenly. I like doing these, as they’re a bit like designing pieces of interactive theatre – when will the audience move, what will they be thinking/saying/learning. But my own production values can also be a bit of a curse, and I’m trying to make sure I manage the pace; there was a period of doing tons of these back-to-back at DIT which accidentally led to a huge pile of burnout and a slightly ruined holiday.
  • The dynamics of getting a large group of senior *peers* in leadership roles to function like a team rather than individuals, without acting like you’re their boss, remains super-tricky. And really hard to explain to people who’ve not done time “in the trenches”. If anyone has tips? Otherwise I’ll share my own once I’ve made a few mistakes.

Meanwhile, in real life…

Went to see Robin Ince talking about neurodiversity and comedy and a million other things at the Wanstead Tap on Tuesday. That’s him in the header image above. He was launching the updated version of his book “I’m a Joke and So are You” which I know several other people would love. Quite a few unexpected tender moments, and I got very teary when he was talking about “things you blame yourself for that weren’t really your fault”. You can get the vibe in the following:

Piano keeps on improving, but sometimes painfully so. Lots of boring stuff with metronomes doing things at half speed, and trying to build up the strength in my little fingers to the point where they can support the whole weight of my arm reliably because of some fiddly changes in a Bach two-part invention.

Ran over 15km this week – including doing my first ever 10K. Just under 55 minutes, which I was very pleased with.

Hazel Mills’ full EP is out at last, and it’s amazing – been on heavy rotation while I did the gardening today. You can listen to it on Bandcamp – loads of lovely Kate-Bush-meets-Goldfrapp-meets-Hannah-Peel bits in there. “The Embrace” is still the one that melts my heart though. So very, very beautiful.

Also, I got to use the wonderful Ultra-lounge album “Organs in Orbit” during my workshop. Hard recommend if you need a bit of high-quality cheese.

On which note, it’s bedtime!

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