I’m writing a book about good services

I’ve decided to write a book about good services.

I’m not doing this because I have a burning ambition to write a book – but because I feel like this is a book that needs to exist.

I wrote more about why here, but in a nutshell – after 15+ years of service design as an industry, the fact that we still don’t have a definition of what a good service is is holding us back.

To try and plug this gap we have become collectively obsessed with methodology – it’s now how we sell our wares when our clients ask for any kind of certainty of the outcome of our work. But without a way of explaining to others what it is that we’ll achieve there’s no way we can say anything more reassuring than just ‘trust the process’.

Because of this, we often spend more time convincing the people around us to let us do our jobs than we do designing services.

I’m not against guides on methodology, there are some great ones out there that form a valuable way to get newcomers up to speed, but there is a gaping hole on our collective bookshelves where the answer to the fundamental question of  ‘what do we mean by a good service’ should be, and that’s the problem I want to fix.

Some of this is basic – like how we collectively talk about what services are. I wrote a bit about this here back in 2016

Other things are more complicated, like how exactly we understand and set expectations for users. Or how you make your service findable.

The book will be based on the 15 principles which have been open and on the internet for a couple of months and were shared by Fastco back in July.

So far there have been over 2000 contributors to these, so thankyou to everyone who’s given their thoughts, please keep them coming.

I don’t want this book to stop these principles from being a community resource that is owned by the community and changes and grows over time, so the principles will stay under a creative commons licence under ‘Attribution + Share Alike‘. Please adapt them, use them or add to them however you like.

If you’d like to help with the book, let me know. I’ll be looking for contributions and case studies for each principle so if you feel passionately about any of them, or you think the thing you’ve been working on is a great example of one or more principles, let me know (my DM’s are open on Twitter).

I’m excited. It might take a long time to do but it feels like something that needs to happen.

15 principles of good service design

What is a good service and why are we so afraid to talk about it? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot recently.

In a bid to find out, I tweeted this a few weeks ago and – bar a couple of people also wondering the same thing – got pretty much tumbleweeds in return.

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 10.15.24.png

I’m not surprised. I’ve asked this question many times and had the same response, silence.

Not only do we seem to have no discernible professional standards for service design, but more than that, we don’t seem to think this is a problem.

Before we go on, I don’t mean professional accreditation, or some kind of kitemark for what makes a good service or service designer – I mean the kind of standards that give you an answer when someone asks you ‘how do you know if you’re doing a good job?’.

With almost 80% of the UK GDP generated from services, and an industry that’s (depending on who you ask) between 15-20 years old I find it shocking that we can’t answer this question when so many other disciplines of design can.

Ask a graphic designer to tell you what makes ‘good’ graphic design and you will get a different answer each time, but at least they’ll give you an answer. That answer will crucially be based on well known industry-held ideas of best practice that are taught in design schools across the world – things like the grid system, basic principles of typography or use of iconography.

Ask most service designers this question though, and they’re likely to say something like ‘it depends on the service’ or ‘it’s hard to generalise’.

In the 15+ years of our existence we haven’t yet developed a language to talk about what we’re trying to achieve when we design a service.

Instead we’ve defined *how* to design a good service, leading to endless books and courses filled with diagrams and methodologies and no answer to the most basic question – ‘what is a good service?’

This question is so fundamental to our industry that we don’t even notice it’s missing, but without it we’re spending vast quantities of our time fighting for legitimacy.

This isn’t just a problem for service designers

This lack of ‘professional standards’ has forced us into an industry-wide existential crisis where we’re never quite sure of our own expertise in relation to everyone else around us.

We criticise the stakeholders we work with for not being able to identify the problem with a given service, whilst in the same breath claiming that service design is a skill that can only be achieved by professional service designers.

Without professional standards we will continue to expect those around us to be able to do more than they can, and not expect enough of ourselves.

We need to understand that most people can spot a bad service, but won’t be able to tell you why it’s bad or how to fix it. This is the same with graphic design – where most people will be able to identify a bad road sign, but won’t be able to tell you that the kerning is too tight. It isn’t fair to expect them to do this, just as it isn’t fair for us to charge for our services as designers if we can’t.

I have lots of theories on how we got into this situation – one of which being that as an industry historically dominated by agencies, it’s never been in our best interest to claim any universal standards when we can charge each client to do this for their ‘unique’ service. Or that fundamentally, we have a collective crisis of confidence where we are afraid that if we tell other people what makes a good service – they won’t need us anymore.

Either way, we need to move beyond this. We need professional service designers to design good services. But we need professional service designers who understand the standards they’re trying to meet.

Not so that we can replace designers with standards, but so that we have an idea of what we need to design.

So, in the absence of anything else, here are 15 principles on what makes a good service. They’re based on years of working on bad services, and trying to build good ones.

You might not agree with them all but I hope that it’s a start to many more competing views.

If you’d like to contribute your thoughts, here’s an open Google doc to start the conversation.

15 principles of good service design


A good service must:

1. Enable a user to complete the outcome they set out to do
A good service enables a user to do the thing that they set out to do from start to finish – be that start a business or learn to drive – in as much of a seamless stream of events as possible. This includes the moment that a user is considering a task to the moment they have completed it – and any necessary steps or support, change or amendment thereafter.

2. Be easy to find
The service must be able to be found by a user with no prior knowledge of the task they set out to do. For example someone who wants to ‘learn to drive’ must be able to find their way to ‘get a driving licence’ as part of that service unaided.

3. Clearly explain its purpose
The purpose of the service must be clear to users at the start of using the service. That means a user with no prior knowledge must understand what the service will do for them and how it will work.

4. Set the expectations a user has of it
The service must clearly explain what is needed from the user in order to complete the service and what they can expect from the service provider in return. This includes things like how long something will take to complete, how much it will cost, or if there are restrictions on the types of people who can use the service

5. Be agnostic of organisational structures
The service must work in a way that does not unnecessarily expose a user to the internal structures of the organisation providing the service if those structures run contrary to the task a user is trying to achieve.

6. Require the minimum possible steps to complete
A good service requires as minimal interaction from a user as possible to complete the outcome that they’re trying to achieve. Sometimes this will mean proactively meeting a user’s needs without them instigating an interaction with your organisation. This may occasionally mean slowing the progress of a service in order to help a user absorb information or make an important decision.

7. Be consistent throughout
The service should look and feel like one service throughout – regardless of the channel it is delivered through. The language used should be consistent as should visual styles and interaction patterns.

8. Have no dead ends
Regardless of whether or not a user is eligible for suitable for a service, the service should direct all users to a clear outcome. No user should be left behind, or stranded within a service without knowing how to continue, or being provided an easy route to do so.

9. Be usable by everyone, equally
The service must be usable by everyone who needs to use it, regardless of their circumstance or abilities. No user should be adversely unable to use the service more than any other.

10. Respond to change quickly
The service should respond quickly and adaptively to a change in a user’s circumstance and make this change consistently throughout the service. For example, if a user changes their phone number online, their phone number should be recognised in a face to face service.

11. Work in a way that is familiar
People base their understanding of the world on previous experiences. If there’s an established custom for your service that benefits a user, your service should confirm to that custom. For example, users who have signed up to a new service often expect an email confirmation acknowledging their sign up. Avoid customs that negatively affect your user (such as pre-selecting a ‘send me marketing emails’ tick-box) or following customs that are inefficient or outdated.

12. Encourage the right behaviours from users and staff
The service should encourage safe, productive behaviors from users and staff that are mutually beneficial. For users, the service should not set a precedent for behaviors that may put the user at harm in other circumstances – for example, providing data without knowing the use of that data. For Staff, this means they should not be incentivised to provide a bad service to users, for example through short call handling time targets.

13. Clearly explain why a decision has been made
When a decision is made within a service, it should be obvious to a user why this decision has been made and clearly communicated to the user at the point the decision has been made. A user should also be given a route to contest this decision if they need to.

14. Make it easy to get human assistance
A service should always provide an easy route for users to speak to a human about an issue if they need to.

15. Require no prior knowledge to use
A service should not use language that assumed any prior knowledge of the service from the user.

Why it’s never a good time for service design

Picture the scene: you’ve just joined a new team, they’re doing good work but they’re plugging away at the wrong problem.

You bide your time, thinking of ways to bring them round. Maybe weeks go by as you work on each stakeholder one by one, until one day someone calls it – “look” they say to you, “I hear what you’re saying but it’s just not the right time to do [the very sensible thing you’re suggesting].We just need to do [the wrong thing to fix the wrong problem] and then we can do what you’re talking about

Sound familiar?

This has happened to me 100s of times. I have spent years either chasing trains that have ‘left the station’ or ones with no intention of moving.

The reasons I’ve been given have all sounded perfectly reasonable – we can design the service, but only once we’ve moved off this piece of legacy software / delivered this MVP / have more buy in / don’t have this crazy deadline.

In short, it is never the right time for service design.

But the problem isn’t the urgency of these situations – when people are in difficult situations it’s understandable that the last thing they want to do is take a step back and consider the bigger picture.

The real problem is the inertia that precedes this urgency.

Like someone who’s always late to things because they thought they had ages to get ready, we look after Business as Usual, whistling ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ until something falls over, someone dies or it hits the press.

Suddenly someone senior gets involved and boom, as if from nowhere you’re surrounded by ‘burning platforms’ and have no time to solve the problem because you have to ‘deliver’….something. Anything.

My dad used to have a sign on his desk at work that said ‘poor planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine’.

I’ve always wished I could say something like this but that won’t cut it with service design, because whatever that thing is that needs to be delivered, it’s going to get delivered whether it’s good or not.

In that situation you can either walk away, or stay and make that thing marginally better in a hope that you might catch the next train before it leaves the station.

Sadly though, that day rarely comes because that next train will be just as fast as the last one.

This has a profound effect not just on the service an organisation is trying to deliver, but on its culture and ability to design in the future.

Designers are like doctors. We can’t just give people what they want, we have to give them what they need. That’s our job.

But the reality is that our ability to help is increasingly limited when things get urgent. Just as it does for a doctor in an emergency room.

All we can do in these situations is stabilise the work and hope for recovery, for ourselves and the project. Cue burnout for designers and subsequent organisational churn that’s off the chart.

The way to tackle this isn’t by fighting back against this urgency – you will never win. Instead we need to tackle the inertia that comes before it, and that is caused by one very simple factor – fear.

We’re more afraid to try and to fail than we are of doing nothing. The trouble is that this ‘doing nothing’ eventually results in failure anyway.

Our services get more expensive because they’re unusable, which means we have less money to spend on improvements. Carry on like this and we’ve got a ticking time-bomb for failure.

In order to break this toxic cycle of inertia-failure-panic, we need to make doing nothing as risky as change. That means acknowledging that the slow failure of providing increasingly unusable services is as bad as the fast failure that follows.

As an industry, we need to start talking about slow failure, and that means holding ourselves accountable to the data that proves it exists.

Only once we have this can we decide when the train leaves and where it’s going.

And most of all, kill business as usual.

How to talk about gender at events

how_to_talk_about_gender_louise_downe

I love what I do, and I love talking about it.

I’m lucky enough to be able to speak about it publically on a reasonably regular basis, but there’s one thing that makes me feel deeply uncomfortable at conferences – and that’s how they talk about gender.

Most studies of tech conferences seem to estimate the average rate of women speaking at tech conferences is around 25%. That’s pretty terrible, however, no one has ever bothered (as far as I can tell) to do a similar study into the numbers of trans and nonbinary people either attending or speaking at conferences.

You might think that’s because there are less of us, but let’s be clear – with around 12% of the US population under 35 defining themselves as trans or nonbinary – this is widespread, institutional ignorance we’re dealing with.

Unfortunately, for all their ‘best efforts’ many event organisers actively encourage cis-gender diversity in a way that excludes trans and non binary speakers and attendees.

This is mostly due to ignorance rather than malice, but almost always has to do with the language that is used to talk about gender diversity.

So, in the absence of anything I can point organisers to on the internet, here are 5 principles to make sure you’re including gender diversity in the thing you’re organising, whatever it might be.

Here are five things to think about

  1. Sex and gender are different, don’t confuse the two
  2. A person’s biological sex (what chromosomes and genitals they’re born with) and their gender (the way they feel) are not the same for a lot of people. These people may be born ‘female’ but identify as a man or vice versa.

    Biological sex is indicated by the words ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘intersex’, whereas gender is indicated by the words ‘man’ or ‘woman’

    Using words that refer to someone’s sex like ‘female’ as synonyms for words that refer to someone’s gender like ‘woman’ makes the presumption that the two are the same, and that in order to be considered a woman you must be biologically female. This excludes transgendered people (people whose gender and sex are different)

    Don’t say
    This event is to celebrate the female pioneers of technology and to chart how they have acted as role models for other women (and men, and other genders).

    Do say
    This event is to celebrate the women pioneers of technology and to chart how they have acted as role models for other women (and people of all genders).

  3. There are more than two genders
  4. The genders of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ exist on a spectrum.

    Some cis-gendered people (people who are born female and feel like women) feel completely like a man or a woman in a very binary way, and so do some trans people.

    But, there are a lot of people whose gender fits somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. These people are genderqueer or nonbinary and can sometimes refer to themselves as trans-masculine or trans-feminine.

    There are also a lot of people whose gender changes depending on how they feel that day, week or month. These people are genderfluid.

    Accommodating these people means not using binary definitions ‘men’ and ‘women’ but talking about all (read plural) genders.

    It’s important that everything at your conference reinforces this openness, so think about changing the bathroom signage of your venue for the event to create gender neutral bathrooms. Avoiding the use of honorifics (eg. Mr, Mrs, Ms) on badges, and making sure all of your assistants, sound engineers and comperes are respectful of your speaker and attendees genders and use of pronouns will help hugely too.

    Don’t say
    Welcome ladies and gentlemen!
    We want representation from both genders!
    We need a 50/50 split of men and women at this event!
    We should have at least one woman on the panel!

    Do say
    Welcome everyone!
    We need fair representation from all genders at this awesome event!

  5. Do not assume people’s gender
  6. How someone expresses their gender can often look different to their actual gender (or sex).

    For example, someone can look traditionally ‘feminine’ but define themselves as genderfluid or non binary.

    Gender roles (eg. women wearing skirts and men wearing ties) are a social construct, and some people who are trans or non binary deliberately don’t conform to what is traditionally defined for their gender.

    Others might try to assume a traditional gender role but look biologically more masculine or feminine than they feel.

    Rather than assume someone’s gender, it’s always best to ask what pronouns someone would prefer to use. This is likely to be she/her/hers, he/him/his or they/them/theirs but the person you’re talking to might have something else they’d prefer to use.

    Some less confident trans or nonbinary people might be reluctant to do this publicly for fear of being stigmatised so make sure you do this in a way that they feel safe to answer honestly – don’t ask people to pick up a pronoun badge at registration for example.

    Likewise for those who are genderfluid, this might change closer to your event so if you’re unsure, the best thing to do is to be as gender neutral as possible.

    Don’t say
    Thanks for agreeing to speak Lou, it’s awesome to have another woman at this event!

    Do say
    Thanks for agreeing to speak Lou, it’s awesome to have you at this event! By the way – how would you like to be referred to at the event? she/he/they or something else? You can let us know nearer the time if you like

  7. If you’re running a ‘women’s’ event, think long and hard about why you’re excluding other underrepresented genders
  8. Trans and nonbinary genders are often far more underrepresented than cis-women in pretty much any industry you care to think of.

    Partly that’s because there are less of us (but not by that much, as I said earlier).

    But a lot of this has to do with a significant lack of education or transphobia, sadly. Where a lot of cisgendered men are now more aware of their gender privilege, many cisgendered women aren’t, meaning that events organised by cisgendered women targeted at ‘women’ (often only cisgendered women at that!) exclude trans men and nonbinary people.

    Issues to do with equal pay, representation, systematic prejudice and cis-male normative culture apply equally to the trans and nonbinary community as they do to cis-women, so if the reason you’re running your women focussed event is to address these sorts of issues (and not just to celebrate the awesome ladyness of ladies) think seriously about opening your event to celebrate all underrepresented genders.

    Don’t let your lack of privilege make you ignore someone else’s further lack of privilege.

    Don’t say
    This event is to celebrate the women pioneers of technology and to chart how they have acted as role models for other women (and people of all genders).

    Do say
    This event is to celebrate the gender diversity of technology pioneers and to chart how they have acted as role models for everyone.

  9. Do not ask people who are trans or nonbinary to educate you on how you should deal with gender.
  10. This is a tough one. I feel strongly that I need to help people understand some of the issues that trans and nonbinary people face, but it’s personally exhausting and requires confidence, time and ultimately privilege to do so.

    Almost every trans or nonbinary person will be glad you asked how they like to be treated, but although they might be comfortable enacting their own gender, it’s another thing entirely to have the confidence to teach people how to behave towards others.

    Your education is your own responsibility, so please respect your present and future trans and nonbinary peers by educating yourself on the issues they might face.

    If you got to the bottom of this post, well done, that’s a start.

We don’t need another shero

We_don't_need_another_shero_louise_downe_20170627

Before I go on I want to be really clear – I support the rights of all people whoever they are. I speak from a position of privilege in many ways, and I also believe that the 100,00s of years of cis-male patriarchy have far more to answer to than what I’m about to describe.

Caveats over, we need to shine a light on a very real and new(ish) problem that seems to be growing in the tech sector – that the vast majority of discussions about gender diversity seem to exclude people who are trans and nonbinary, or to put it another way, our discussion of feminism as a thing exclusively for cis-gendered woman means people who are trans and nonbinary are excluded by omission.

If you don’t know what I mean by ‘cis’-gendered (and hey, Apple autocorrect doesn’t so why should you) I mean people who are born biologically female and also identify as women in gender. Without stating the obvious, this is not all people – there are a lot of people whose biological sex is not the same as the gender they feel and/or express to the world. These people can define as either trans-men, trans-women, non binary or a myriad of other genders.

Either way these people are either biologically ‘female’, struggling to make themselves fit with a cis-male world, biologically ‘male’ trying to do the opposite, or somewhere in between trying to carve out space for being nonbinary in a world of he/she, pink or blue, M/F. The fact that there are multiple genders and that feminism has to do with people who are not female or women cuts to the core of traditional thinking on gender diversity as a binary scale.

Since the likes of Caitlyn Jenner we’ve got used to the issues of trans women being relevant to feminism, but not trans men (they’re just men rite?!) or nonbinary people. We proudly proclaim we have a 50/50 gender split (what even is that when there’s more than two genders?!) and bemoan the fact that there aren’t any women on panels – with no mention of the appalling lack of representation from other genders. At the same time we aggressively gender things that we see representing ‘diversity’- proudly tagging pictures with ‘look at all these amazing women!’.

I am biologically female but fit somewhere between non-binary (Ie. I believe gender is a spectrum) and trans-male (Ie. I feel more on the male rather than female end of the spectrum).

It’s not something I talk about a lot – because it’s maybe the least interesting thing about me, but it’s also something that is immensely difficult to talk about to the majority of people who would prefer that for their own simple definition of gender diversity, I define as a woman.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’m gendered in public for the sake of someone else’s purposes of equality – conferences are the worst, with a seemingly endless request for more ‘female speakers’ aka. Cis-gendered women (even trans women need not apply to that one, let alone anyone else).

The problem is that in most discussions on gender diversity we don’t acknowledge the difference between sex and gender, so female is synonymous with women.

Our discussions of gender diversity therefore still involve a ‘50/50 split’ of ‘male and female’ on a board, conference or interview panel rather than equal representation from all genders. This means trans and nonbinary people are excluded by sheer omission.

This might seem like a marginal issue to gender diversity (it’s certainly treated as such) but about 12% of millennials entering the workforce now define themselves as transgendered in some way. Considering the fact that 30% of these people will attempt suicide before 22, those that make it as far as a board, conference or interview panel are nothing short of survivors.

This is a bit of a rant but I guess what I’m saying is if you care about gender diversity – please don’t become the thing you hate about patriarchy and create an exclusive club or space that excludes others.

Don’t be afraid to talk about multiple genders being represented or afraid to ask what gender someone defines as. Presuming someone’s gender is far more offensive than asking (unless you’re transphobic). And more than anything – don’t let your enthusiasm for gender diversity lead you to gender spaces, activities and people that don’t need to be.

We don’t need another shero.

* Image: Balla Hadid on the Prabal Gurung runway Feb 2017. Copyright Prabal Gurung

What’s more important, the journey or the destination?

Design_process_diagram_2017

Yesterday I waded through a pile of portfolios, and after a deep breath, took to twitter

“I instantly turn down portfolios that include design process diagrams, just FYI. It’s a job not a journey to self-enlightenment.”

It seems to have made a whole bunch of people pretty angry so I thought I’d qualify what I meant and why I still think it, though I was being more being more extreme than I probably should have been, or meant to be.

Hiring designers is hard. Anyone who’s done it will know it’s almost impossible to tell all the qualities you’re looking for by looking through some names and dates on a CV and some pictures in a portfolio.

The reality is, you hire on attitude and potential as much as previous experience and the two big things I look for between all the desaturated pictures and big-client names are someone who always questions what they’re being asked to do, and who measures themselves by the actual outcomes of that questioning.

Most designers do this first one naturally, and if you’re like me and your outcomes become increasingly non-physical or intangible as your career progresses  – will try to think up ways of showing the second.

In the last 5 years though (maybe it’s longer) there seems to be some kind of mass-misunderstanding in design – mostly within service design – that the process by which you actually get to that outcome is somehow as valuable as what you’ve actually achieved.

Don’t get me wrong – what you (and possibly your client or the people around you) learn along the way makes you the person, and designer/s you are. In fact, the best designers I know are almost in a constant state of self-inquisition in order to make sure the decisions they make are unbiased and meet user needs. They’re always learning and crucially, always helping others to learn around them.

But to your users, what you actually make or achieve is the only thing that matters.

And that’s why I hate design process diagrams. They can be double diamonds (they usually are) circles on a line or a weird giant squiggle (I’ve seen a few of these lately) what they scream to is that you care more about yourself, your process, your ‘learnings’ than you do about outcomes you’ve made and the impact you’ve had on users.

If there’s one thing you need when you design things to make people’s lives better ( in the public sector or private) is an unwavering sense of unselfishness and commitment to making things better for users. So when I look through portfolios I look for people who show that’s what they care about too.

Design isn’t the type of labour you can quantify in the number of weeks you spend getting to something. Something worthwhile can take minutes or years, what matters is that you get there.

If you want proper advice on what a good portfolio looks like, rather than my ranty thoughts, Stephen McCarthey and Mark Hurrell have both written excellent guides.

Transformation is only as strong as its weakest link

Transformation_is_only_as_strong_as_its_weakest_link_20161101*

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here. Mostly because I’ve been fixing stuff, and writing here

But there’s something I want to talk about – what transformation means, how we do it and how to stop getting tired when things get hard.

Firstly a definition –

Big problems often mean big changes, and those big changes in turn often get talked about as a ‘transformation’. This is because the thing we want in the future is radically different from what we have now.

That different future generally involves some kind of massive retrospective modernisation. Keeping up with progress – often technological progress – after it’s already happened.

The annoying thing about progress though is that it never stops, and as Kate Tarling [said](https://hodigital.blog.gov.uk/2016/09/30/what-does-transformation-really-mean/) “transformation will never end, and our work will never be done.”

The problem in the past is that we seem to have thought transformation could be ‘done’ or finished at some point. We’d do the modernisation and then think that the world would just stop changing somehow in respect of the fact that we put a lot of effort into being ahead.

This perspective might have made sense when we had to wait more than 100 years between the invention of the telephone and the first home computer connected to the Internet, but makes literally no sense now. The world is changing every day, and that change is getting faster.

So, problems that are never finished need a different kind of solving.

In the catalog for the 2010 AA symposium on Entropy, Marco Vanicci talked about design in complex situations that take time to fix as “problem caring, rather than problem solving”.

That doesn’t mean not making things better, it means working together, over time, on small incremental changes in response to change and what’s needed.

The bigger the problem, the more of us are involved. It’s not one person’s to fix. Incremental change needs teamwork over time. True, constructive teamwork.

So why is that so hard?

This is where we get into weak-link theory. This is an economic theory popularly applied to sports by David Sally and Chris Anderson in their book The Numbers Game. It explains why football teams are only as good as their weakest players, and why basketball teams are as good as their strongest.

It comes down to how much teamwork is involved in the game, and how much the players rely on each other to reach a common goal – so to speak. In football the chances of scoring are slim, so you need lots of chances made with everyone working together to make them. In basketball the chances of scoring are high, so you make space for the strongest player to do their thing.

In a dream world transformation would be like basketball – easy slam dunk after slam dunk by some kind of superhuman dream team. But it’s not like that.

Large service-providing organisations (government included) are like football. Providing services to users is a team sport – with parts of our service shared and distributed across the network.

Those services are only as good as their weakest part. Which means we are only as good as the person who understands user needs the least, or is the most unequipped or unable to act on them.

This is why transformation is a weak link sport – we need to enable everyone to work towards that goal from the front line, to the top.

Large organisations can transform but it’s not going to happen overnight, and even if it did, we’d need to get up and do it all again tomorrow – together.

It’s long, it’s hard, but important things are rarely easy.

*Russell Davies talking at The Civic Book launch. Sorry about the angle Russell. You’re making people think as always 😉