A year of work in progress – day 94

Day 94 – 27 May 2014

Well, that wasn’t the best bank holiday weekend ever. The fact that I was able to clear my inbox should give you some idea. No emails at all, absolute zero. I normally achieve this at the end of the calendar year when things are quiet. It won’t last. This was followed by a dramatic hard disc failure (I’m typing this on another machine) which resulted in my blood boiling. I think I said ‘Oh dear, my hard drive has failed.’ Fortunately the only thing I had on there was my blog, which is backed up anyway and twenty eight emails in my outbox. I have no idea what will happen to them but I’m hoping someone can do their voodoo.

I did manage to finish Tina Fey’s book ‘Bossypants’ which was very very funny. It had me laughing out loud on a number of occasions. My youngest daughter, who’s book it was, loved it (it was a Christmas present that I borrowed back as I am that cheap) whilst my eldest daughter didn’t. If you get a chance pick up a copy, you have a 66.6% chance of having fun!

I thought that it would have nothing to do with work but inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places. Her rules of improvisation (as in comedy) offer a great parallel for anyone who wants to enable creativity.

Rule one is to agree. When someone comes up to you with an idea say yes. Yes, I like that or yes, I can see where you are coming from. The second rule is to say yes and. Yes, that’s a great start and I’ll set some time aside to help you work on it. The third rule is to make statements. Don’t ask questions all the time. Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Finally rule four is that there are no mistakes, only opportunities.

Of course her description was funny. I haven’t done it justice.

Steve and I went off to Edinburgh this morning. We went to see Ritchie, the ICT Strategy Manager at the City Council. We met (Ritchie, not Steve, I’ve known him for years) at the O2 Local Government Digital Fund event back in February. They pitched with apps and we went along with Big Data. It was a heady combination.

Ritchie took us through the changes that ICT within the council was going through. There is a huge amount of similarity between what we are both doing such as focussing on culture and engagement with customers. There are also some noticeable differences. Edinburgh is a much tighter area than Durham and nearly half the working population has a degree or higher. Also the national political picture adds an interesting slant.

I took copious notes and have a lot to think about. The messages within our strategies are very similar, as is what we have both achieved. The area where we can really learn though is in the way that they have told their story with lots of infographics and storyboards. Their focus is on outcomes rather than outputs.

We invited Ritchie for a reciprocal visit.

Learning points for today: The collective noun for SMEs is a portfolio; having a hard disc failure is not the worst thing in the world, it just feels like it; no matter how much you plead or switch it off and on a failure means a failure; cold sweats are followed by pangs of guilt and remorse and; Edinburgh is an exciting place.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – only downside was lugging around a heavy laptop

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