A month of change and new beginnings. What I’m 🎉 celebrating, 🎓 learning, and 🚧 finding challenging in May.
🎉 A Year of Change
My birthday is coming up, and each year I make time to reflect, think, and plan around this time. May has been full of transitions for me, and there are more to come in June. It has been a year of big changes for me. I moved house. I started a garden. I saw friends leaving Glasgow. Friends who I shared a decade of companionship and exploring this city with. I experienced huge changes to my health that left me relieved, deeply grateful, in awe, and completely lost. What to do with all this life? Looking for answers first meant leaving NHS Scotland and perhaps health and care. I said goodbye tired and with a heavy heart. Then I took part in Upfront’s Bond 6 which to my surprise was life changing. After some freelancing, I joined Opencast. A new team, a new industry, a new way of working. And a new region with most of our projects based in England. I started working with HMRC on forms and the digital service for claiming child benefit.
🎉🎓🚧 Goodbye Child Benefit
This wild ride of a project has kept me on my toes for over 10 months. Now team’s journey with child benefit is ending. I spent the last days pulling together documentation, preparing handover, and wrapping up. What a journey this has been! One I’m hoping to find time to write up and share about over the next weeks. I’m yet again struck by the massive difference setting up work and teams right makes. Often the work is half won or lost before any designer or developer ever looks at code or wireframes. How work is organised, and how people come together to do it is absolutely key. Yet little wisdom on this is understood or remembered or practiced as far as I can see. A big topic to think and do more about in future.
🎉 Implementation! Implementation! Implementation!
Right now I’m feeling sad to not see my team every day, and to leave some valuable work undone. As well as incredibly heartened and proud of what we have achieved and how much I have learnt. And of the impact we have made. Over 7 million people claim child benefit in the UK. It’s been humbling, nerve-wrecking, and thrilling to work on a service like this. A service that is out there right now, getting people the money they are entitled to faster and easier. I had hoped for a role that would allow me to develop my skills to implement, deliver, and iterate based on real data. Well this project very much delivered on all of these accounts! Occasionally more than I bargained for! I’m leaving at a high point, grateful, confident, so so impressed with my team, and with lots of lessons learnt.
🎉 Catching up on change
All the movement and change over the last 12 months has felt great. Like a welcome catching up period after some of the physical and metaphorical stuckness I felt during the pandemic. Turning 30 in 2020, my new decade had been on hold in lots of different ways. It was definitely time to find and settle into new spaces, new routines, and new ideas. Finding my feet and getting to know myself in new ways has been challenging and rewarding. And for the first time in too long I’m excited about the future.
🎉 What’s next
Especially for my next role. I’m going to be Service Design Practice Lead at Opencast. This wasn’t a step on my radar. But the more I thought about it, the more it felt right. Joining Opencast made me fall in love with our little (but growing!) service design team. It surprised me how much I appreciate the culture and community, and how much I have come to trust it. And how much I want to spend more of my time and effort right here. Growing and building. It’s also where I have most to learn. I’m intrigued by the business side of service design: how we sell it, how we talk about it, how we set it up, how we hire, how we support people working on a range of challenges, and what difference all of that makes. As well as a whole bucket of practicalities to work through! There’s so much here to experiment with, to shape, to co-design, and to facilitate. I cannot wait to see what’s next for service design as a practice. And how our Opencast designers can shape that future. In short, I cannot wait to get started. And to report back on it all here!