Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

Using Systems Thinking to Design Better Services — Medium
Unless there’s a concerted effort to redesign the operations to meet with expectations and needs of customers, the design is emergent. Emergent designs are more likely to serve the needs of the individuals that conceive of the solutions more than they serve the customer. The service itself is simply coping with the demand that’s thrown at them. Without looking at the service holistically and indeed, how the service is delivered operationally, we’re only every optimising locally.

Lasers, hedgehogs and the rise of the Age of Yoghurt: reflections on #OpenDefra — Medium
Being ‘open’ to new ideas and open to sharing your own experiences and work helps to make things better, faster.Someone, somewhere, has almost definitely experienced the problems you’re facing. They have tested solutions to that problem. There are almost certainly tools and tricks and techniques you could use that you just haven’t heard about yet.

Being open isn’t just about broadcasting or pushing out work you’re doing in case others benefit. It’s about being open to experiences, expertise, and tools that could help you improve your own work.

5 ways we are putting data in the driving seat | Civil Service
We are testing the idea that there should be a duty on the creator of data to look after it on behalf of the entire system. A principle that it must be of high quality; accessible to others; and that no charge should be made for access to it. The starting point is not a prescription of technical standards (though they are important), but a simple agreement on terms of trade. Then we can build new platforms with confidence; and we can work out which current data flows are blocked and need attention, and for what reason.

Why Labs are as much about mindset as toolset | Open Policy Making
It is through this individual and collective spirit of exploration that Policy Lab works, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and trialling next practice.  A continuous process of developing new knowledge and skills that can improve policy-making – Building future cultures.

The principles we apply to our work can readily be applied to any policy-teams.  For us it is more of a mindset, of learning by doing, of exploring and experimenting with new ways of doing things.

It’s ok to think out loud about organisational culture – Digital LeadersDigital Leaders
Being a leader means being explicit about your expectations, spelling things out so that there’s no ambiguity. People often forget that, and just assume that everyone thinks the same way they do. Not so. The “It’s ok” list has been lurking in my head for years, but it was daft of me to assume that everyone else thought the same way. Writing it down, sharing it out, was the best way to be clear about it, and the best way to find out whether or not everyone else agreed. Turned out most people did.

Ben Holliday » The weight of starting
The hard part is starting.

I’ve found that the more you think about starting, the bigger it gets. It becomes an increasingly significant milestone.

The temptation is to try and counterbalance starting with evidence. With enough certainty to start.

The problem. The more evidence you think you need, the less likely you are to start.

Disrupters vs Unifiers
I had to ask myself the other week — am I being disruptive enough or have I become a unifier? I think that there’s a distinction. Organisations go through different phases or shift focus, often deliberately. Individuals have to learn to play distinct roles. You can see this in different management and communication styles.

Building Products — The Year of the Looking Glass — Medium
A product succeeds because it solves a problem for people. This sounds very basic, but it is the single most important thing to understand about building good products.
The first step in building something new is understanding what problem you want to solve, and for whom. This should be crystal clear before you start thinking about any solutions.

A routes file for the state
The state floats over us like an amorphous blob and the gap between citizen and state can be seen as wide and confusing. People are aware of the existence of the various cogs (Government, Parliaments and Assemblies, local councils, mayors) but don’t seem clear about how those cogs connect to form the machinery within the state. Or where the competencies of one stops and another starts. Which usually doesn’t matter too much. But if you do have a problem it’s hard to identify where the levers of power might be.

Microsoft’s Radical Bet On A New Type Of Design Thinking | Co.Design | business + design
One day someone will write a history of the Internet, in which that great series of tubes will emerge as one long chain of inventions not just geared to helping people connect in more ways, but rather, to help more and more types of people communicate just as nimbly as anyone else. But for the story here, the most crucial piece in the puzzle is this: Disability is an engine of innovation simply because no matter what their limitations, humans have such a relentless drive to communicate that they’ll invent new ways to do so, in spite of everything.

Guerrilla empathy (or why we should probably stop banging on about users all the time) – disambiguity
An empathetic team is transformational. But empathy is difficult to sell – especially to the senior stakeholders who need it the most. Business outcomes are not hard to sell.

Do empathy by stealth. Stop talking about empathy. Let empathy be the by-product of helping your organisation meet its objectives through user research and demonstrate this by taking a methodical, collaborative, hypothesis driven approach to your work.

Then stand back and wonder, yet again, at empathy’s power to transform teams and organisations.