Interesting elsewhere – 11 October 2010

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • Blogging, empowerment, and the “adjacent possible” — Scott Rosenberg’s Wordyard So when I hear the still-commonplace dismissal of blogging as a trivial pastime or an amateurish hobby, I think, hold on a second. Writing — making texts — changes how we read and think. Every blogger (at least every blogger that wasn’t already a writer) is someone who has learned to read the world differently.
  • Rands In Repose: The Update, The Vent, and The Disaster Business is noisy because there is always stuff to do and the process of doing stuff is called tactics. It’s tactical work and while tactics are progress, the real progress is made when we get strategic. A productive 1:1 is one where we talk strategically about how we do stuff, but, more importantly, how we might do this stuff better.
  • An open letter to David Cameron, part one of three « Francesca Elston Looking under the surface of any government department – any large organisation, in fact – you will find a microcosm of smaller organisations, which are not like each other. You will find pockets of excellence and pockets of dereliction. You will find deep commitment and deep alienation. You will find effective processes, and people who are so dedicated that they are serving their clients despite broken processes, and processes that are so baffling that they make your head explode. This is the truth. These different places need to be treated in different ways. Some should be abolished. Some should be tweaked. Some should be taken to pieces and completely reconfigured – perhaps with half the people, perhaps with the same number. Some should be built up. You can do all of these things and still take out 25% across the board – and have a healthier department at the end of it – but you are going to have to work at it, and you are going to have to let it be complicated.
  • Caught not taught – lessons from the number 23 bus « Community Links blog When we got to Liverpool Street he thanked us for travelling on his bus, wished us a pleasant evening and signed off with: “and if you’re travelling home from work don’t forget to come back tomorrow and we’ll do it all again.” We all said good bye and thank you and alighted with a bounce we hadn’t had before.Trivial, I know, but what if he’d asked us to keep his bus clean and take our litter home, help with a buggy or just move up. I suspect most passengers would have been a lot more receptive to him than we are to those silly little posters.

    Why?

    Because he didn’t exhort or instruct or threaten. He modelled a certain kind of behaviour. The kind that’s caught, not taught. […]

    The recognition that relationships and modelled behaviour change lives could and should usefully inform decisions about what to develop and what to cut, in the forthcoming spending review.

  • From Public Servant to Public Insurgent | eaves.ca But what I find particularly interesting is a tinier segment who –  as dedicated employees, that love the public service and who want to be as effective as possible – believe in their mission so strongly that they neither leave, nor do they adhere to the rules. They become public insurgents and do some of their work outside the governments infrastructure.Having spoken about government 2.0 and the future of the public service innumerable times now I have, on several occasions, run into individuals or even groups, of these public insurgents. […] The offenses range from the minor to the significant. But in each case these individuals are motivated by the fact that this is the most, and sometimes only, way to do the task they’ve been handed in an effective way.
  • Government Should Do its Own Data Homework | Jeni’s Musings My perception is that the argument that government should open up its data has basically been won. The questions within the public sector are now about how, not whether. And as a result, in this changed environment, I’m growing slightly uneasy about the core developer message of “give us your data and we’ll show you what we can do with it!”There are two things about that message that concern me. First, it implies government is doing it all wrong. Second, it implies that government doesn’t need to do any better, because the developer community can take up all the slack and fill in all the gaps. It’s like getting fed up with a child struggling with their homework, and saying “oh, just give it here and I’ll do it!” It’s a narrative that simultaneously undermines the best efforts of those within government and removes from them the motivation and opportunity to learn to do better.