52: Week Twelve

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Like much of the country this week I have been mainly melting. Aircon free buses, trains and offices in 32 degree heat do not a productive Jukesie make!

Still it has been an interesting week mainly for the following three items;

1. A visit to the User Insight team at Companies House in Cardiff who have built their own in-house usability lab including classic police interrogation room one way mirror and full on Tobii eye-tracking kit. It was a wonderful resource and the team very kindly demoed it all for us and talked a little about how they are using it. It was hugely impressive and inspiring and I came away with my own mental shopping list as well as a clear idea of how I’d use a similar resource. Hint. I’d use it *a lot*

2. On Wednesday John Cummings, the Wikimedian in Residence at the Science & Natural History Museums came and gave a lunchtime talk at our Newport offices. More than 60 people attended despite the lovely weather and it being Burrito day in the canteen🙂 Getting someone to talk Wikipedia is one of my go-to moves at organisations these days – it has huge name recognition but misconceptions about it are rife and the reality is that every mention of a statistical term on Wikipedia gets orders of magnitude more traffic than the equivalent page on our website – if the data out there is wrong who better to fix it. Some of the questions were a little predictable (ownership, vandalism etc) but there was some decent engagement and John was a relaxed but passionate speaker.

3. Thursday I popped out of the office to attend #SoMeSW – a social media/digital comms type meet up very much in the Teacamp mold in Bristol organised by Beth from Sustrans. I made a particular effort on this occasion as Tim Lloyd from the Department of Business was speaking and he is someone like Steph Gray (one of his predecessors in the same role) who has real insight in to ‘this thing of ours’* and I always find his perspective is just different enough to my own to be usefully challenging. Tim expanded on his recent post about the makeup of a good digital team – a post I had very much enjoyed so it was interesting to hear about the thinking behind it. The added bonus is he brought along the relatively new to BIS Betony who gave a great (sweary) talk about social media monitoring but actually really about cultural change and building confidence in teams. The audience were great as well despite the heat with some good questions and a great chat after. So thanks to Tim and Bee for speaking and again to Beth for sorting – I think it is becoming a must attend event – especially for public sector / civic minded types in digital comms.

Three new members of staff joined and a couple moved from contractor/temp to contracted staff so I am closer than ever to having a full team. Still a couple of days to apply for a few jobs in the team as well.

Got my proposed budget endorsed this week as well so it is full steam ahead to start getting things done. It is time to start getting some stuff out in to the wild and see if we are on the right track. All is not smooth sailing a couple of important projects are stumbling a little which is a bit of a concern but I am feeling pretty good. Lets call it green/amber for those in the know🙂

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