Week notes #201

This week I did:

Another whirlwind week

I worked quickly to take high level business requirements for online mentoring into detailed implementation requirements and onto a defined scope for the MVP. One of the things I found interesting about defining the MVP was to stick to what we are certain about. If we had any questions or doubts about a feature it was taken out of scope. It’s a good principle for being able to meet the launch date. Next week we’ll be working through configuration and testing so we can launch the week after. It feels great to be working at pace and focused on delivering something useful so quickly.


And I studied:

Disrupted by digitisation

This week’s lecture was about Digital Marketing. 

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. Digital marketing is the process of achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies.”

Chartered Institute of Marketing

We broadly discussed tools & techniques, benefits, models and growth. Mostly obvious stuff, but interesting to think about how marketing has been at the forefront of the digitisation of business. 


And thought about:

Waking up in beautiful places

I have a few essays that I’ve been thinking about for a while, some of which I’ve started, and none of which I’ve finished. I want them to be more interesting than just reading what I think and so they’ll include videos, links, quotes, etc. to create a fuller and richer picture of the topic than if it was purely written. The one I’ve been working on this week is about designing an intentional life, art, stoicism, minimalism, being a bit of a hermit and living in a car.

Service design for non-service-designers

In addition to essays, I’ve also been thinking about ‘collections’ as a different way to group content about a particular thing, kind of following on from my Compendium Of Ideas project that never went anywhere. The first collection is about Service Design, because it’s something I’m interested in and have been doing a bit of research on. My collections will be single pages of multimedia (is that still a term?) content around a particular topic, so that could include tweets, videos, podcasts, a list of links, quotes, books, etc. The hypothesis is that people who don’t know about a topic need somewhere to start, and I need a means of putting my research together in a considered and reflective way.

Approaches to validation

I was looking around on Product Hunt, a website where product creators list products they are working on to get feedback from visitors. It’s always interesting to see the wide diversity of how different people approach the same problems (again and again, there are only a certain number of problems to solve) and the product process they go through. Three of the products I looked at seemed to be at different stages of validating their hypothesis. Better Wiki – The ultimate people operations wiki on the internet – are using Notion as a public site, perhaps to validate their product/market fit without having to develop a site (wiki’s a tough thing to get right in my opinion). Mental Models by Edvo – Tools to navigate life better – is an iPhone app only, so the website just directs visitors to download the app, and Tools for better thinking – Collection of thinking tools and frameworks to help you solve problems, make decisions and understand systems – have the most most polished website. There are all working on similar problems; how to present information in ways the drive behaviour change through thinking change, 

Product management in a non-product organisation

I feel like most of the information and rhetoric around being a product manager is underpinned by the assumption that all product managers work at product-orientated organisations. There is a big difference in how to approach product management when the product is core to the business and when the product is a tool used by a small section of the business to achieve a particular outcome. The idea that product managers should be ‘leaders’ (whatever that means) only works if the entire organisation values product enough to consider that leadership as key to success for the organisation. I guess design, innovation, etc. all suffer from the same problem. More traditional functions like marketing and finance have earned their place in the leadership circle, but the newer functions are yet to establish their value. I feel like the ‘what kind of organisation are we?’ question is a big part of this. If the core business model is service orientated, then trying to product-ised the thinking and discussions can unintentionally disrupt the business and cause negative consequences. If the goal of a product manager is to deliver value for the organisation then sometimes the strategic thing to do would be to let Product take a back seat in the organisation.


And people tweeted about:

Tuning out ‘Digital’

John Cutler tweeted about tuning out the word ‘digital’, which spurred me on to write my ‘In defence of digital’ post about why we can’t dismiss digital in our lives, organisations and society.

The Charity Digital Code of Practice

The COVID-19 digital checklist for charity trustees and leaders from the Charity Digital Code looks really interesting. It was developed from research done by The Catalyst. It’s also great to see more charities contributing to The Catalyst Service Recipes. I wonder if anyone is using any of these resources?

Top 100 Nonprofit Blogs

I tweeted a link to the Top 100 Nonprofit Blogs. The most noticeable thing is the lack of charities on the list. Obviously, many of the organisations on the list are using their blog as part of their content marketing for lead generation so it makes sense that they post more often. Compared to the amount of open working and transparency in government digital teams expressed through blogs, the charity sector seems very quiet.