Sherry Turkle’s work has come up over the course of my career - I remember reading her opening chapter of Evocative Objects in my early 20s and being stunned at the candour of her story—her object, a photograph, from which her unknown father was literally ripped. So I was thrilled to find that she has a memoir. The Empathy Diaries mixes life and vocation (which I think is kinda how things roll for most of us in the creative fields), talking about her lower-middle class Jewish life, escape to university and later work at the MIT Lab. It reminded me of how much history is about who you get to hang out with (she was married to artificial intelligence pioneer Seymour Papert, and the book includes their courtship, marriage, and eventual divorce). I also loved her recounting of a disastrous lecture tour with the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.
This month in digital government and design
- I’ve started joking that in my current work my key phrase is ‘horizons’. I thinkt that I’ve already shared a brief video about the Bill Sharpe’s 3 horizons framework. More recently, Cassie Robinson has written about methods for how funding the 3rd horizon.
- A few people have talked about design leadership. Tonya Browning shared some tips on being a design leader: hint, you may be doing a lot of funding and procurement related talk. Conversely, Aly Blenkin wrote about going back to an individual contributor role again (my concerns with the latter - often people are pushed not only into leadership but the work of 3 people, when doing such a thankless job who wouldn’t want to go back to individual contribution?).
- Many people have a love-hate relationship with the Double Diamond design methodology. However, the Design Council are evolving their design model.
- Peter Merholz suggests that agile is eating design’s young. I’d suggest reading this alongside Will Myddleton’s “I’ve made mistakes” as he comes to the conclusion that a decent way to support juniors in an agile delivery team is to pair them with a senior on an overlapping role and then bolster that with a coach.
- Alex Blangry worries about how much of open government relies on Twitter.
- All reading lists are incomplete, but some are useful - while this UX canon is somewhat ‘male and pale’, it at least acknowledges that the history of user experience dates back to before the 1990s! (see also the UX in government timeline).
Anyone have a new year’s resolution to file what they read more efficiently? Here’s some filing inspiration. (I’ll be honest, I like the conceit of these but would never be able to do it in real life, partly as I move house far too much!)
Could you do with a ‘say no to things’ card?
Here’s how you can prioritise things.
100 overlooked films by women - glad to see the Kiwi An Angel At My Table in the list!
Through the collection A Poem for Every Day of the Year, I discovered the Fleur Adcock and “Immigrant”, her poem on moving from New Zealand to 1960s London. How many ex-colonial migrants can relate to ‘testing their accent’? I know that I can.
As someone learning about the genre of personal narrative, I picked up a recommendation to read Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story. It’s a short but worthwhile read, as she unpicks and compares various essays from both the regular canon (Joan Didion, James Baldwin) to more obscure writers (Marguerite Duras, Edmund Gosse).
Finally, some thoughts on Twitter: