Retrospective May 2021

Why retro? To spot patterns in behaviour and activities and create feedback loops to improve the patterns.

Some things I’ve learned this month:

Vanlife-lockdown-survey hasn’t had many responses. Mostly because I haven’t done very much to find vanlifers. I messaged a few on Instagram and handed out a few flyers. The idea might be slightly flawed as people who are likely to become vanlifers aren’t the sort who like to fill in surveys, and I’m not great at striking up conversations with random people in order to get them to do the survey. The lesson here is not to pick projects that have a really small total addressable market and where the people in that market get no value from what you’re doing, and that rely on me interacting with people. Such is the nature of random projects I do just for my own interest but it’s something I’ll need change if I want to do projects that help towards my goal of contributing to the digital transformation of the charity sector.

Go-live is a phase, not a date. Making it a date might give something to work towards but it can mean that once the date has passed people lose focus and spend less time on the things that make a launch successful.

I set up to begin collecting email subscibers. The idea is to send a series of one hundred emails, each with a short lecture on an innovation idea. Then I worked out that if I can write one lecture a week, it will take me five years to create all the emails. I hadn’t intended to start working on it until September so I don’t need to make an immediate decision about it, and although it make vaguely fit with acheiving my goals it still serves as a warning about jumping into setting up projects without thinking through the implications.

Communicating something that doesn’t fit an existing mindset is tough. Mindsets make it too easy apply known and comfortable mental models to problems and so too easy to leap to solutions. I think I might try more talking about the problems-to-solve and being more considered about the language I use, perhaps introducing unfamiliar phrases as a way to prompt a different understanding.

New/different decisions that change a previous/existing decision looks too much like failure. Actually, it’s learning new information, responding to change, and being flexible about finding the right solution, but it just doesn’t look like that.

A strategy has pre-requisites. And they aren’t always obvious, but once they become known it can feel like hey need a strategy of their own to get them in place to enable the actual strategy.