7. Writing in conversation
Design writing, management lessons, movie birthdays
I’ve just completed the excellent University of York Futurelearn course “how to read a poem”. It introduced me to the phrase “intertextuality”. It’s a highfalutin’ way of suggesting that all text is in conversation with texts that came before it. For me this concept was a revelation: don’t try to be completely original, embrace having a conversation with other works!
This month in digital government and design
- Last month I attended the excellent SVA Design Writing and Research summer intensive. Here are 5 things that I learned from the course.
- 5 Bitter Design Manager’s Lessons I Wish I Had Learned Earlier. This hit a bit too close to the bone with many people that I know.
- Lessons from setting up a research ops function in a government department.
- “Find process navigators, or become one.” This and three other good tips on innovating across highly regulated industries and central government.
- The videos for this year’s UX Bristol are up. As usual the talks are excellent but a particular highlight for me is Abby Covert’s video on diagramming.
- “Until you’ve worked 5–10 years in government or advocacy, you can’t see what needs change. You can’t fix a broken machine until you study it and see how it works. Government isn’t something you can intuit. It doesn’t work like you were taught in school in 6th grade. Not even remotely.” So you want to reform democracy.
- A policy specialist reflects on what they’d like to change about the policymaking process.
- the Finnish government sees national government not as a controlling interest but "as a trusted learning partner".
- Here are a good set of 4 questions to ask an organisation about accessibility - a lot here about measurement and representation.
- This blog post on doing organisational design as well as service design by Tero Väänänen at shows that he is both doing great work at NHS Digital and is a voracious reader.
- Intercom is not just making career progression for product designers more transparent but also more equitable.
- I’ve been listening to a lot of The Great Courses audiobooks. George Orwell’s story was particularly illuminating as the lecturer is a leading historian on the writer. Not only is Orwell’s writing is a culmination of his life experiences, but, according to the lecturer, much of the humour in Animal Farm can be attributed to his wife.
- It’s the anniversary year of a few films. Ghost World is turning 20 while Independence Day turns 25. Both hold up.
- From back in 2013 but sadly still relevant today: life hacking is really white privilege.
- “Wongarey’s not how you say, it’s a WHANG and a REI, it’s Whāngarei” Māori pronunciation as a sea shanty
- When writer Will Dowd permanently lost his voice, he “auditioned” computer-generated voices as stand-ins.
- Finally, covid has ushered in ordering drinks via app. We have to laugh at this video about the process otherwise we’d cry.
Until next time,