Yesterday evening I finally got around to watching the talk Neil Williams gave at the Dare conference a couple of weeks ago. If you work in digital in the public or higher education sectors (and probably other sectors as well – I’m pretty sure it will resonate with my friends in the museum sector) then I recommend putting 25 minutes aside and watching it. It is a pretty personal story but I think the main narrative about dealing with, embracing and contributing to the changes brought on by a real move to digital thinking is something we will all recognise.
I don’t know Neil well but we have met a few times and I have long followed him on Twitter and on his now mothballed personal blog. He is a member of the trio who have held his previous position (Head of Digital at BIS) along with Steph and Tim who have been a considerable inspiration to me in my career but even more so in my blogging here.
Amongst a lot of great stuff there was one tiny bit in the talk that has really stuck with me and I think sums me up as a professional (and links in to what I talked about in my last post and also to the idea Emer Coleman floated a while back that I also blogged about – being loyal to the network.) This idea that he is a ‘digital person working in government’ and not a ‘government person working in digital’.
I think this is at the core of things for me. This is certainly the perspective I try to bring to the table – whether I always achieve that is debatable – but hopefully having that wider vision of what is not just achievable but also increasingly just expected is valuable.
It isn’t the change that scares me. It is the avoidance of change that gives me sleepless nights.