Weeknotes 335

This week I did:

Data strategy

Although I’m not sure we should call it a ‘strategy’. Maybe the word is too loaded. Anyway, whatever we call it, I want data to be thought of more as a strategic enabler. Whatever we do, we do it with data. And so it makes the organisation more responsive to emerging issues in our communities, more able to optimise marketing and income generation campaigns, better able to create products and services that meet needs and solve problems.

Annual review

I wrote an annual review to help me look back at how I did towards my goals and to help plan what things I want to work on in 2023.

And I read:

Stuff about data

I watched/read How to Build a Data Strategy (for Charities), Citizens Advice Data Science team’s data playbook, and Conducting a Data Maturity Assessment as part of thinking about data strategy stuff.

The Relational Work of Systems Change

Collective impact efforts must prioritize working together in more relational ways to find systemic solutions to social problems. “The most important unit of analysis in a system is not the part (e.g. individual, organization, or institution), it’s the relationship between the parts.” – Brenda Zimmerman.

Side Project Guide

This is an interesting guide to side projects, which I might make use of next year.

I thought about:

Systems product iceberg

One of the ideas I’ve been exploring this year and will continue with next year is how product management can have more of a system-shifting approach to achieving outcomes rather than purely focused on changing user behaviour, as most product management is focused on. The systems iceberg offers a quick visualisation of how products can achieve greater leverage for change by affecting patterns, structures and mental models. I’ve written before about how Uber created social change by accident, but they are a good example of creating change all the way down into mental models about what we consider acceptable. We went from being told not to get in cars with strangers to asking strangers to pick us up and take us home.

The ‘thing’ and delivering the ‘thing’

It is increasingly clear to me that it’s impossible to separate the ‘thing’ from delivering the ‘thing’. Whether that’s a data strategy, a tool or technique, a way of working, etc., etc., it’s almost like the thing itself doesn’t exist unless there is an implementation/adoption plan, but that plan isn’t separate from the thing being implemented.

Standardisation or variation

One of the tension for creating change is making the decision between standardising the new thing or making it a variable thing. Standardisation is very much of the industrial/mechanical worldview, whereas variation is a characteristic of the digital age. But we’re at the in-between stage where it still makes sense to standardise some things and to create other things with infinite variety. But how do we decide between them? What decision-making approach helps us know which is the right way to go?