Tab tales


I’ve been ill and essentially housebound all week — so here is a list of things I’ve been reading to pass the time between Netflix/Amazon shows.


[01]City Innovation Brief’ is a new quarterly publication from Future Cities Catapult on things ‘smart’ cities — worth a read if that is your bag.

[02] This collection of links and resources from BotCube about all things ‘Awesome Bots’ is a bit of a goldmine if you are looking at conversational interfaces and the like.

[03] This video from the BBC GEL team about ‘design research is genuinely a giggle — it is also a decent primer for people just coming around to the idea of user research in general. Wish I’d had something similar a couple of years ago.

[04] I am a fan of Matt from his Mozilla days — I’m looking forward to his book — and this is a really useful overview of OKRs and why they are a useful format. I have to be honest I still haven’t ever used them almost two years after being sold on the idea.

[05] Giuseppe and Mark have done what I thought was impossible — written a report that convinces me that some people at a local level are actually using open data 🙂

[06] Brilliant introduction to the role of Product Managers at GDS (but really just anywhere) from Ross. It was aimed at the Content Design community but it is much more broadly useful than that. I’m often asked to provide some kind of Product 101 to people and this will be an answer in future:

[07] A classic ‘too bloody right’ blogpost from Mr Brunton-Spall about the fact that ‘Alpha to Live is not a linear progression’. I have come to believe that the Discovery → Alpha → Beta → Live journey ended up causing as many problems as it solved as it was just too easy to treat them as phases in one big ‘build’. People just don’t get ‘Alphas’ in my experience.

[08] The strategy might very well be delivery — but what does that actually look like? Simon has a stab at articulating it and as usual it is very sensible.

[09] It is amazing to see how fast an organisation can start to change with the right people in the right place. I didn’t last long at Defra this time last year but there is a lot of good stuff emerging now and these Communities of Practice that Emily got started are a big part of why.

[10] I liked this post from IDEO but also found it slightly amusing. It is all good and sensible stuff but it seems somewhat couched as if this is some massive breakthrough they have identified whereas identifying a ‘tension between the goals of government and the services citizens experience’ is kind of what we’ve all been working on for years — using many of these tools.