S01E09 The penultimate episode

© Alex Slack — Fergie in repose — Image of a black cat with golden eyes lying supine facing the camera

We’re coming to the end of season one. It’s been nine weeks since I started writing week notes. At the time, I knew I didn’t want to spend too long in a season — this isn’t cable TV with over twenty episodes per season! Nearly ten weeks in and I’ve realised 10 is the perfect number for this season.

Season two preview

Why ten and what does this mean for my week notes? Ten because next week will be my last as a civil servant working for the Department for International Development (DFID). From 1 September, DFID merges with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to become the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). Season two will see me reshaping some of my threads in light of new challenges.

Here’s a reminder of what I’ve been weaving over the last nine weeks:

  • The designed organisation: How might we design an organisation that is resilient to change, keeps learning together and is a great place to work?
  • Data governance as a service: How might we make data governance part and parcel of our organisation, built into everything we do with data?
  • Design patterns for data and analytics: How might we make use patterns to speed up making data useful, usable and putting it to use?

The idea was never to conquer these challenges but to see how they connect, the tapestry I could weave from them, and decide where I want to go next. Next week I’ll reflect on what I’ve learned so far and what I’ve decided to do in season 2.

CDO summer school is midway

This week was week 4 of CDO summer school — a free online masterclass run by Caroline Carruthers and Peter Jackson in collaboration with Collibra .

We’re just past the mid-point. So far, we’ve covered:

  • The CDO: where have you come from, what might your career path look like, why does every organization need a CDO? [recap]
  • Maturity Assessments: how to interpret and what to do next with people, technology and processes [recap]
  • The First 100 Days and The Next 300 Days [recap]
  • Avoiding the Hype-Cycle: what is it, strategies to avoid it and understanding the nuances [recap]

I’m pleased I found the time to be involved with the Chief Data Officer Summer School. The community has been amazing and I’ve had several enlightening conversations that have helped shape my weekly recaps and work on data.

Scaling good (data) services

Next week, I’m so excited to be part of Lou Downes two day scaling good services masterclass (link to the Sept sessions). I’ve been preparing by choosing from the selection of services we offer for data. They aren’t (yet) the typical service you’d see on gov.uk, more like libraries where you can check out good data and insight. I am thinking, however, in my role as service owner, if and how we might scale the products we create out of these services. I’m considering the wisdom Lou shared about making the user’s journey easier even if you aren’t involved in all of it.

More on this next week and a recap of this session and the 1 day masterclass as soon as I have some capacity to write them down.

Oh and one last thing

  • I worked out it takes me 2 hours to write each blog post, week note or recap. Knowing this helps me be realistic about how much I can write in a week.
  • I’m writing about data for systems thinking and network theory from a regulatory or government department point of view. In other words, how might we use data to better understand and manage our network as a an organisation with the power to shape, change and govern the system? I’d love some sanity checks or a review — let me know if you’d like to contribute and get attribution (or not).
  • Fergie the cat prince and I have been bonding a lot. I am a ridiculously happy cat mama watching him try out his new toys. Spoiled? Not at all!

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