3 min read

1. New beginnings?

Design and government readings take a turn for the rigorous, and I look at things to read that embrace our enforced collective slowing.
Crocus emerging in snow
Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

This is my tenth winter in the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve had to acclimatise to Januaries of snow and maybe seven hours of daylight. Compared to my native New Zealand, England’s New Year starts slowly and shyly. And as I, like many, “stay at home to stop the virus”, this feels like a time more than ever to pause rather than push. I’ve stopped my weekly #booksandbrunch updates, slowed the speed on my audiobooks from 1.75x-1x, and given myself permission to ignore the pressure to buy books that might be useful for my career.

Which is why when my friend recommended Katherine May’s memoir Wintering, it had me at the title. Published just before the pandemic, the author’s readjustment to life after a mystery illness resonated with me more now more than ever.

I’ve also looked for reading that needs time and space. Poetry feels perfect. My chosen companion for 2021 (or as long as I can maintain it) is A Poem For Every Day of the Year. I’m surprised to have to say that I’m not thrilled with Helena Bonham Carter's narration surrounding the poems (maybe it’s the writing, but her performance is stiff?), but the daily dip into poems—often directly related to the day, from Burns' Night to Twelfth Night—reminds me of the invisible lines that connect us to our past.

Given my 2021 chosen theme of poetry, I was thrilled that a poet spoke at the Biden inauguration. NPR digs into Amanda Gorman’s process and history.

This month in digital government and design

  • I’ve been investigating strategic service design for work. As part of my research, I discovered the Scottish Service Design Maturity Assessment Matrix and Kat McCauley's excellent Twitter thread explaining the reason for having ”The Scottish Approach to Service Design”


Until next time,