Weeknote 9

I’m Richard and I work at the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

I believe in the importance/power of reflection as a way to learn and improve, and so I’m experimenting with writing weekly notes, based on a series of questions that I use as prompts.

Who inspired you?

I’ve never done Movember before. I don’t really know why. Maybe I was too self conscious and worried about looking stupid.

But reading the stuff Leigh sent me, I realised that I know too many people who have died, or who are dying or suffering, from prostate cancer or mental health issues. If I look a bit daft for a month but can do something to help tackle these issues, it’ll be worth it.

So on Wednesday, for the first time in years, I had a shave as my first brave/crazy step into Movember:

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I wonder why people were laughing at me?

The next morning, on my bike, I had a really cold chin.

It was also a slightly odd feeling to have people openly laugh at me because of my appearance. Although that’s kind of part of it, and probably not as odd as watching people pretend not to notice. Maybe they were worried I’d just gone for a change of look for no other reason…

Please make this worthwhile. You can donate here.

What made you proud?

I did this to prepare for my mid-year review with Jason on Thursday. We would have done this last week, but a select committee hearing in the House of Commons got in the way…

What went well?

What could have gone better?

I couldn’t get into my email or calendar on my laptop or either of my mobile devices. I followed the instructions for re-configuring the devices, and it didn’t work. Cue frustration and multiple contacts with the service desk, who were very helpful. All sorted.

A few years ago, I managed a programme that included a move to Office 365 as part of implementing a ‘cloud first’ policy and helping users be more mobile and giving them more choice. I remember what it’s like — you’re always going to get minor issues when you’re making a changeover between technologies — and I was glad it was not me delivering it this time.

What went well?

It’s a great example of us embracing commodity IT. I’ve written before about the importance of the internal user experience for people in an organisation that wants to improve its external services in the internet era.

When I joined the FSA, I was shocked at the kit and tech services for staff — I hated my blackberry, social media sites were blocked, we had no decent collaboration tools… 3 years later, a lot has changed, and it feels like we’ve finally moved on from the days when IT in government was unacceptable and instead we’re now getting technology at work that is as good as people have at home.

Any minor issues with the changeover will soon be forgotten when we start exploiting the new technologies.

What did you enjoy?

Get in.

What was fun?

Written by

Senior Director @ElsevierConnect doing product strategy implementation & performance. Mainly writing about getting from A to B, & digital stuff. Personal acc’t.

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