Interesting elsewhere – 22 November 2010

23 November 2010

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • ” Design Jam London 1 Johnny Holland – It’s all about interaction … At hackdays, the only time when outcomes are being shared is during the (often very short) presentations at the end of the day. At a Design Jam, the process is just as important as the outcome. How did you get this idea? How did you approach the problem? To allow teams to compare their processes and bounce ideas off each other, the groups shared what they had done so far before lunch. Articulating their ideas and getting questions from the audience helped teams to focus, and seeing how other teams had taken completely different steps got everybody reflecting on the many different ways to explore a problem.
  • Developers | Emma Mulqueeny The average view of developers and open data (from within government) is that:

    1. developers work for free/very little because they are so driven

    2. developers will do anything for early access to data

    3. developers will do anything for kudos

    None of the above statements are true. I can name perhaps two people who may fall into one or two of the above categories, but I know no one who actually fits all three. So let’s start from there.

  • Seeing through transparency? | I is for…. Don’t get me wrong – I do believe that transparency is important. The point is, though, that transparency can be dangerous without engagement. If the processes, conversations and decisions of our public services are really to become transparent, then public servants need to have the tools (and that means the technical resources, the skills, and the backing) to contextualise, to consult, to explain, and at the end of the day to defend, their own actions. Otherwise the release of post hoc data will only encourage witch-hunts and scare stories which reinforce the view that public servants are, literally, a bunch of wasters.
  • The anatomy of a service delivery disaster: how the UK’s tax agency goofed up. And what it means to one of their ‘customers’ « Patrick Dunleavy « Contributors « British politics and policy at LSE But perhaps the most chilling thing about this case is that the simplest aspects of the HMRC letters demonstrate how extraordinarily little they know about their customers (as is true of Whitehall generally). Writing to an 85 year old widow, who has lived in the same house for five decades now, both the form letters begin brusquely ‘Dear SMITH’. Apparently the department cannot even determine the gender and marital status of the people they are writing to (despite decades of contact). Alternatively, perhaps they cannot be bothered to get right such unimportant details as writing to citizens in a basically polite fashion. After all, the top managers have so many other ‘transformational’ and ‘tell us once’ things to be getting on with.
  • OPM Blog: a community for public interest discussions » User experiences of the welfare-to-work system The LSP wanted to gather the experiences of service users on the provision and systems to move from welfare to work. The hypothesis was that people can become trapped in a rigid welfare-to-work system and be put on journeys over which they have little control.These people are not involved in co-producing outcomes and are constrained in their ability to draw on their existing strengths or wider resources. The result is unnecessary duplication in provision or courses of action without clear goals. The dream of obtaining paid employment never seems to be realised.
  • The Times’ Paywall and Newsletter Economics Newspapers compete with other newspapers, but newspaper websites compete with other websites.