Blogger of the year
It felt like this was the year that blogging in one format or another returned in a big way — no small part in fact to Medium. In and around the digital transformation work going on in Government a number of bloggers emerged and I particularly enjoyed the writings of Andrew Besford (DWP) and Simon Wilson (HMRC) but my blogger of the year goes to Leigh Dodds for an ongoing series of posts that really goes a long way to making open data a much more approachable and understandable topic.
Blogpost of the year
In a year where there was so much writing and thinking again it isn’t easy to pick a favourite. The powerful post by Hossein Derakhshan about the ‘Web we have to save’ absolutely needs to be mentioned and I turned to a series of posts from Russell Davies (now helpfully collected in one place) about doing presentations time and again. Paul Downey also deserves some kudos for writing a post about ‘registers’ that was both enlightening and interesting. However it was a a couple of posts from the summer that really chimed with me. Jason Caplin wrote a post about being #oftheGovernment which briefly kickstarted a mini-meme amongst a certain breed of civil servant but before that Louise Downe wrote a post that said what a lot of us were feeling at the time and said it best — Government services aren’t done yet, so neither am I — so Louise gets my post of the year.
Surprise of the year
The mass GDS resignations and then the way they all landed at the Co-op was a bit of a shock. Mike, Tom, Russell and Ben not to mention the brilliant Leisa (albeit she went a little further than Manchester!) all resigning in a matter of days did cause some pretty serious ructions in our quiet little corner of the web and made for some interesting speculation and rumours for a few weeks. As I said at the time so many genuine leaders leaving at the same time is a loss but there are many, many great people still committed to the mission (see the blogpost of the year!). Co-op scored big though 🙂
The Semantic Web award for tech for techs sake award
Boring, boring blockchain. If you have to write that many blogposts just trying to explain what the hell it is it isn’t going to be as influential as you think. Though whoever created the Beyonce/Blockchain Twitter bot is a legend!
Attending the opening of an envelope award
Super Zuz! Nobody attends more tech events — she is like a perpetual meet-up machine 🙂
Talk of the year
Since leaving GDS Tom Loosemore has given a number of talks based around some ideas that came about from the thinking through the ‘Government as a Platform’ concept with a small team — Richard Pope has blogged also blogged the ‘rules’. The presentation stands as a testament as to what true transformation could look like.
Event of the year
In a year where I achieved two ambitions — speaking at SXSW and Open Tech it was actually a different event that I almost fell in to that was my favourite this year. The (r)Evolution conference in Shrewsbury was incredibly friendly with a brilliant mix of talks and considering it really isn’t close to Bristol there was a real West Country feel to the whole thing. I had a great time which wasn’t easy as I was horribly nervous about my talk — one I hadn’t given before and haven’t since. Thanks Kirsty and Zack.
Newsletter of the year
At some time this year I found myself subscribing to a great many email newsletters — it felt like the 90s all over again 🙂 The vast majority of them can pretty much be categorised as ‘link lists’ and can be a fun distraction on a long commute but two I most look forward to are much more than that.
[Orbital Operations] from Warren Ellis is always an interesting read — amusingly enough I now often prefer this to the comics he writes! It is a mix of the personal, professional and the damn right weird sometimes but I find little else has as much influence on my reading habits (and often my spending more widely.)
My favourite though by far has been season two of the Dan Hon newsletter — especially as there has been a lot less musing on the advertising industry and a lot more wild flights of technological fancy.
Tweet of the year
This tweet was genius for two reasons — 1) it totally captured the increasingly nonsense tone of ‘release notes’ and 2) nobody seemed to get that it was a joke and I saw it RT’d out of context time and time again.
Team of the year*
There was amazing work being done all over the place this year with people building great teams here, there and everywhere. Across the Civil Service, Parliament, the Co-op and even M&S were embracing things like agile, dev/ops and working in the open and it is a really interesting time to working in this space.
There were two teams I was really excited to follow this year though. First the work of the NHS Alpha team has been fascinating to read about. Like many, many people in the UK I am immensely proud of our National Health Service and like just as many I have despaired over the years at the IT horror stories that are associated with it. It is a HUGE ask for this growing team but so very, very important.
My team of the year though isn’t even from the UK. The work 18F have been doing for the US Federal government has been every bit as impressive as anything we have achieved over here but the pace at which they are operating and the openness with which they are doing it has been spectacular. Just check out this end of year post from them for an insight — the way they are building their team and embracing a distributed workforce while maintaining agile principles is in of itself impressive.
*personally my team of the year is my team — but that seemed a bit inappropriate 🙂
That is all folks. Thanks to everybody mentioned and many, many more of you who have helped, supported, inspired and on occasion annoyed my this year. Looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings!