Category Article

Building digital capability in your organisation

For any digital transformation effort to be a success, it needs to have a organisation that is open to change to work with. This is often a bit of a stumbling block, because even if you have an amazing digital team and a kick-ass programme in place, if the people across the organisation don’t understand what you’re on about, then you’re in trouble. This is why one of the projects you need to initiate early on is a digital capability programme. This should provide just enough digital knowledge, understanding and – most important – confidence in the people you work…

Three levels of digital change

Even if we adopt Tom Loosemore’s definition of digital – and we should – it’s still necessary to interpret it in the context of the service you are looking to digitise. I’ve worked out a really simple framework for thinking about this, by dividing the options into three distinct levels, or approaches to, digital change. None is necessarily right or wrong, but it’s always likely that one is more appropriate to achieving the outcome you desire for a particular service, in a particular context. Moreover, they shouldn’t be seen as fixed – instead, you can evolve a service through the…

Why leaders need to understand digital – and what they really need to know

Folk in all sectors are being constantly bombarded with instructions to digitally transform their organisations, or calls to digitise services, and to make use of the cloud. With all these meaningless exhortations, it’s easiest just to ignore them. After all, isn’t this the sort of thing that our IT departments are hired to worry about on our behalf? It’s just computers and software, and dealing with technology is just operational detail! Well… no, not really. It’s actually absolutely vital that those in leadership positions in councils, whether they be politicians or officers, understand the potential and the pitfalls of embarking…

What content management systems are used in local government?

Just before I went on holiday, I spent a bit of time one evening researching what content management systems (CMSs) are used by local councils in the UK. A CMS is the software that runs a website, just in case you didn’t know. The results can be found in this Google Spreadsheet, as well as the summary pie chart above. There’s been a lot of discussion about it on Twitter, which you can follow up from the replies to my original tweet. I need to give a big thanks to everyone who has helped fill in some of the blanks,…

Local authorities that blog

This is a living list post where I am keeping a note of all the active blogs run by local authorities. If you have any to suggest that I don’t have listed, please let me know!

Quick and easy service discovery (with template)

This is a nice and easy framework to use when you find yourself needing to do a quick service discovery to find out some basic details about a service and how it can be transformed. The point at which you might want to use this is right at the start of your digital work, when you either: need to identify a service to work with or have decided which service to work with already, but need to gather some up front information on what you’re dealing with Whichever way you use it, you’ll find it a really helpful way to…

The roles you really must have on your digital team

The ideal The GDS service manual is very clear on the roles required to run a proper multidisciplinary team to deliver digital services. It states that you must have a product manager service owner delivery manager user researcher content designer designer developer And this is, of course, quite right. Doing good digital work means taking it seriously, and that means resourcing it properly. Indeed, 7 people doesn’t sound like that many, right? Well, in some organisations where the entire digital and IT team is only 10 people, which includes application support and the helpdesk, it’s huge. And most importantly, it’s…

Using the local digital declaration to get your digital work going

The local digital declaration is three years old as I go to keyboard. I was privileged enough to be around at the time it was being put together, had some small input into it, and helped to promote it. I think it is well and truly a good thing. What it does is define for the whole local government sector what digital is all about. It removes those misunderstandings that digital is just about channel shift, or better websites, or one single other thing. It explains that while good digital is not just about technology, it also is about technology,…

Creating simple user personas

Personas are a great place to start with user centred design, particularly if the whole practice is new to your organisation. This is because they can provide a quick and cheap way of ensuring your project puts the different types of user at the heart of your service design process. Personas are fictional representations of the different types of potential users of your service. Well written ones can bring the important user types to life, which is why it helps to make them as realistic as possible. They also help to give the project team focus, by constantly reminding them…