Unfolding plans 124 – Head space

I’m racking my brains.  I’m trying to do some work on our ICT Strategy and I just can’t get my head around what needs to be done.  It’s not even one year old.  It’s the third ICT strategy that I have written since I came to Durham but we made a commitment to review it every year because the pace of change in technology, and within the Council, gets quicker and quicker.

My head was hurting so I picked up my laptop and headed off for a walk along to Nose’s point in Seaham.  I have been at Spectrum all day and the weather was nice enough to make the walk enjoyable.  Apart from the odd passer-by, the screeching of an occasional seagull and the lapping of the waves a hundred foot or so below me everything was tranquil.

One of the down sides of open plan working is that sometimes you just need a bit of head space. You need a bit of calm where you can gather your thoughts and straighten them out.  The beauty of more agile, or so called modern ways of working, is that you can just pick up your stuff and work somewhere else.  I’ve always said that there is some stuff I do that can be done anywhere and so why not at Nose’s point on top of the cliffs with the warm salty air in my face.

I can see the high reaches of the North Yorkshire Moors as well as the industrial heartland of Teesside in shades of grey and blue behind the green topped sandstone cliffs that define the coastline here.  What more could I need for inspiration?

So what do I need to do with the strategy.  Well, it is as good as it goes but it all looks a bit old fashioned.  It’s too long, too wordy and looks a bit analogue.  Surely an ICT Strategy should look more a la mode, en vogue, de riguer or any other French phrase I can throw at it.

It needs more pictures, some infographics and I need to cut down on the words.  It needs to spell out our direction and the importance of technology in achieving our objectives without getting too bogged down in the operational grind.  It’s a hard balance in that I need to say more with less.

I quite like the original format and will be keeping the five outcomes of a focus on Durham; Better technology; better engagement; better people and better processes.  I think they work.  The problem for me lies in how the document gets there.

At the moment we start with an Executive Summary – Why we need an ICT Strategy, followed by Progress during the previous one, major change programmes, how we are going to support the Council to achieve its Altogether Better themes and a description of our architecture.  I’m going to replace this all with  our vision; our target operating model and our governance.

A half hour staring out to sea was just what I needed to sort myself out.  Agile working allowed me to get that head space.

One thought on “Unfolding plans 124 – Head space

  1. Have a number of strategy documents from other councils, but to be honest they do tend to a bit of a muchness as you all face the same issues and the solutions are pretty similar. Make the most of what you have already got, sort out back office processes, focus on integration and then look to open up the channels to self service and also mobile working for staff. There you go – strategy written! 🙂

    Seriously though more than happy to come along a facilitate an art of the possible around Customer Self Service, Mobile Working, Self Service Scanning, Golden Record and Social Media based customer interaction.


    Martin W

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