Morning! Episode 2, I have achieved continuing the project past inception at least. Aphex Twin selected ambient works is playing (Tha) and we are chilling, happy to have a weekend of no plans.

I got the funding bid in, so keep your fingers crossed for that. It is to help a joint cross-council piece of User Research be successful — to have someone to both help with the User Research and Delivery Manage some of the issues that can prevent cross-collab happening like finding a tool everyone can use, agreeing methods, formats etc. It would also fund incentives for participants and it would be in Adult Social Care so there really is so much potential for good.

We’ve been talking about our User Research approach. The team has just started working with a really experienced coach and are finding it really helpful. She is reminding them that User Research shouldn’t be on the project already in the pipeline, or the thing the service already wants, and she is of course right. Its important to have that steer and challenge. We do also need to develop positive relationships with a lot of services though, who haven’t worked with User Researchers, so we have been talking about how to pragmatically navigate this. We are going to try and do a mixture of user testing for projects already in progress, and identifying themes across the roadmap that we can user research that will inform some of the products in the “ideas” column.

We are also one UR team member down at the moment, and in the past have got new candidates from a University co-sector scheme really quickly. It is now taking a lot of following up and chasing. Someone who left has not been replaced and they are going through a restructure and threat of redundancy. It is such a shame to see this happening everywhere.

I got a job re-advertised this week as sadly the previously successful candidate had to pull out at the last minute. It is a fantastic role — Senior Content Designer for Children’s services. I need to write a tweet thread to share this weekend about it , it is a short time frame . We have already done some work making it easier for families with SEND to find the information they need and this role builds on that work and extends to other projects. It involves a lot of engagement too, so would be a great role for a people person. Please spread the word!

A colourful pixel image of the Croydon skyline as it appears on the SEND Local Offer website
A colourful pixel image of the Croydon skyline as it appears on the SEND Local Offer website

One of the most important jobs of the week was re-organising the Radio CDS — Hype Tracks playlist. 18 years of living with a DJ rubs off — you can’t have AC:DC then 90s rave then Hip Hop then Peter Gabriel and back again! It is much better now. You can pick your section to get you ready to go out — mine would be any bit between The O’Jays and NJOI.

The week ended with a trip to LOTI, subbing for Neil and/or Dave. We voted on which projects we would like to work on together and Croydon is going to take the lead on one around tech skills workshops for schools. For me the highlight was meeting Tiffany St James, who is interim CDO for Lambeth and seems as awesome as her name. She worked with Neil way back in the day and set up DirectGov, the precursor to GOV.UK. We are going to work with her on the schools project.

Oh and I bumped into Clara Greo in the morning on the train which is always great. She contributed a lot to this thread of Black British and BAME designers, researchers and creative tech types that you should check out.

That’s my week, have fun, catch you on the flippety flip.

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