Know Your Place – An Ideal Day In My Working Life

'Log Stock Contemplation' by dannymanic

Home-working can be lonely. Remote-working can be risky. Office-working can be stifling. In an ideal world I’d mix them up.

A number of factors – Perrin’s Blackhall concept and my new Android phone amongst them – have conspired to make me draw up this ‘ideal day in my working life’.

It’s based on my work in the Civil Service and is set in the not too distant future. I am well aware that all people in Palo Alto probably already work like this, as do many Londoners, but for Civil Servants it would be a major step. Continue reading “Know Your Place – An Ideal Day In My Working Life”

12 for 12 – Professional Resolutions for 2010

I’m not really one for personal New Year’s resolutions.

But seeing as this new year is the start of a new decade and I’ve been in the Civil Service for 12 months, I thought I’d make a sort-of-exception and come up with and share my New Year’s professional resolutions.

  1. Innovation is like love – easy to say, hard to define. Best just get on with it and let actions speak louder than words.
  2. Trust instinct. Much of work is about familiar fixed patterns.
  3. Look at everything we do through the framework of behaviour change.
  4. Look at everything we do through the framework of saving money.
  5. Realise that change can happen overnight.
  6. Don’t over engineer. Remember that it’s easier to add than take away.
  7. Be frank. Have more straight-up conversations with people.
  8. Remember that people who know the rules best, know how to get round them best.
  9. If I’m looking for adventure,  go out in search of truly strategic integrated communications.
  10. Be more honest which means being more creative.
  11. Comment on other people’s opinions and work more often. Appreciative inquiry is the way forward.
  12. Being optimistic is the catalyst for an open mind.

True – it’s a tightrope between cliche and mumbo-jumbo, but I’ve looked inside and those 12 really speak to me.

Have you made any professional resolutions for 2010?

Things that tweet… Robots, evaluation and sales

In the course of this week I have come across three things that so impressed me that I tweeted them.

Chances are, if you know my blog, then you also know my tweets, but if not:

  • Introducing the ‘voicebot’

An installation in Parliament from Part of the Voicebox initiative – ‘a data visualisation project, curating young people’s views on issues that matter, visualising the findings, and then setting the data free for you to do the same.’

  • Innovation and evaluation are inseparable

GOOD Magazine is hosting a blog-based conversation for participants from across the globe to explore innovative approaches to evaluation. Not surprisingly, it is good – very good.

  • How to sell me stuff

Steph Gray is a digital specialist in the Civil Service and a patient man. But even he has his limits. Tired of cold calls and clumsy pitches, @lesteph has posted eight tips on how to sell him right. I’m ditto on all 8.

Seek Forgiveness, Not Permission – What I learned at Civil Service Live 2009

Civil Service Live 2009 logo
Civil Service Live 2009 logo

Civil Service Live 2009 is the single largest gathering of civil servants.

Being a shiny new civil servant, attendance was a no-brainer.

I made it along on the Wednesday. I made the following notes:

Government’s Principles for participation – the early sessions

After a long slog, the Cabinet Office has released its ‘Principles for participation online‘.

These principles formed one small part of a larger piece of guidance I researched and wrote with the COI at the end of 2007. I really enjoyed working on it and have been eagerly waiting to see how it would turn out after coming through the necessary bureaucracy.

They went through a number of drafts but I think that the 5 that ‘made the grade’ are sensible.

For curiosity/reference, the following are the original 10 principles as they stood when I passed over the completed guidance. They are written with civil servants in mind, but I think they’re good advice for anybody finding/sharing/collaborating via social media:


1. Be involved… The lifeblood of social media is information and interaction. You will get as much out of it as you put in.

2. Be versatile… Social media needs facilitation and leadership, but there is also a lot of value in participating and spectating as a community member.

3. Be credible… Trust is an important currency in a social media space. Trust can be developed through consistency, thoroughness, accuracy, fairness and transparency.

4. Be constructive… A positive contribution to social media can be made through the provision of facts and figures, and by encouraging constructive criticism and deliberation.

5. Be responsive… The social media space is often informal and conversational. Be cordial, honest and professional at all times. Avoid jargon where possible.


1. Be official… You should not make commitments or engage in activities on behalf of HM Government unless you are explicitly authorised to do so and have management approval and/or delegations.

2. Be legal… Do not post anything on your blog online that you would not say in public. Standard Civil Service proprietary and ethics apply. Be aware of libel, defamation, copyright and data protection (for more information on legal issues refer to ‘Appendix 1’).

3. Be a representative… Always disclose your position and interest as a representative of the Government. Unless a site demands anonymity, use your real name and provide basic details about your role, team and agency/department/office. Never give out personal details (such as date of birth, home address, home telephone number, etc.).

4. Be realistic… Don’t over-stretch. Social media is more effective and manageable as a team-based activity than an individual pursuit.

5. Be integrated… Wherever possible, social media activity should be should be integrated and aligned with other online communications and offline activity.

Now that we have these principles, let’s now have some action. And that’s where the rest of the guidance – the big bit – comes into play…