Monthly round-up: April 2016

The fact that this post is being written flying thousands of feet above the UK and 10 days late probably goes some way towards conveying that it’s been a rather busy and travel-filled time recently!

April began with a continuation of the Discovery work I’d been doing with Innovate UK and the Open Data Institute, around making grants data more accessible to a variety of audiences. Myself and one of the ODI team travelled to Swindon in order to wrap everything up by playing back our findings, and I was thrilled that everything was so well received by the team that we had been working with. With Discovery complete, the wider team been discussing options and ownership for next steps and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

“The level of detail you were able to summarise from your interactions with the plethora of respondents is exceptional.”

“We were all aware of the very tight deadline, but we have so far exceeded the number of respondents originally planned and the preliminary findings presented on Friday were a further evidence of the high professionalism and efficiency you have demonstrated so far – not to mention your great patience in putting up with my demands for even faster outputs!”

ACE! Conference, Krakow

My next adventure was to (the really rather beautiful city of) Krakow for this year’s ACE! Conference. ACE! is focused on building software better (Agile, Scrum, Lean, Kanban, SAFe, Craftsmanship, XP) and building better products (Lean Startup, LeanUX, Design Thinking, Customer Development, Design Ethnography), and was a totally different type of conference for me as I’m normally used to hanging out within the developer world. It was also my first time in Poland – Krakow was lovely and I’d really like to go back. I love attending different types of conferences in varied places as there’s always a few little differences that really make you think.

One of the really stellar points for me was ‘dinner with a stranger’ – the organisers had booked tables for 10 people at 10 different restaurants spanning cuisines from Japanese to Polish to Italian to much more. Instead of attending a noisy bar-based after-party, everyone had the option of signing their name up to a place at one of the tables. We ended up with a great mix of people at Czarna Kaczka – The Black Duck, and I’d highly recommend this format to organisers. Props also to ACE! for paying speakers, having a great dedication to their code of conduct, and for the organisers thinking of little things like providing local SIM cards and even letting us know what the weather was like in advance!

Krakow church
Krakow church
Krakow streets
Krakow streets
Krakow - view from the mound
Krakow - view from the mound

Following my return from Poland I then had a couple of days to catch up with old school friends, one of which had just had a baby, and I took the opportunity whilst in Kent to swing past my old stomping ground of Lightmaker UK to catch up on all of the latest news. The faces I know are finally dwindling, but it was really nice to meet the new physical presence of a member of my Destiny fireteam for the first time!

New transformation project

Towards the end of the month I started a public sector transformation discovery project with one of my partner collaborators, which has involved us spending quite a bit of time in Scotland in order to conduct various bits of research, speak to people, make mind maps, sketch out very high-level system and strategic concepts on magic whiteboard sheets, and perfect my Stansted Airport routine.

If that’s sounding a bit vague and generic, it’s intentional. Unfortunately this is one of the rare instances where I’ve decided to work on something that I can’t talk about properly. I far prefer working openly and being able to share learnings, but in this instance the project was an extremely interesting piece of work that I was really keen to be a part of. It’s continued into this month, and so far has been really fascinating on a number of levels that I hope I’ll be able to speak about more fully in the future.

Next up

Outside of the Scottish consultancy, the next few weeks are looking just as airport-filled. I have another trip to Poland – this time Warsaw – where I’m speaking at and taking up Master of Ceremony duties for one day of Front-Trends in Warsaw, and then it’s off to New York for EmpireJS. I’m spending a bit of extra time in the US, so let me know if you’re in New York and want to meet up and talk about working together, or just to hang out in Barcade whilst I incessantly feed tokens into Galaga.

Read more from the blog

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Monthly round-up: May 2016

Posted by Sally Lait

Sally is the lead consultant and founder of Records Sound the Same, helping people with digital transformation. She's also a speaker, coder, gamer, author, and jasmine tea fiend.