Weeknotes #1 – Finally! JFDI: reflection is gooood for you

So, here I am, finally, my first ever weeknotes. It might be my last (only joking…!). Think positive, Teresa – you can do this 🙂

Why on earth am I joining this trend (see ‘What on earth are weeknotes’)?

Three reasons; which are a bit unusual for me:

1) writing down reflections of the week is supposedly good for us; it helps us distance ourselves from what we are doing, and gives us chance to see things in a different way. I’m collaborating with the team at Contented, who are practicising this (they call it journaling) as part of their reflective practice within the team. They keep trying to get me to do it, even just privately (which I kind of do); but the speed and pace of everything I’m juggling hasn’t yet given me the time to write things down properly in one place.

But, one doesn’t have to publish these reflections publicly, right? Which leads me on to…

2) peer pressure!! Well, not really, but inspiration from both Giuseppe Sollazzo (@puntofisso), and James Gleave (@jamesgleave1) who regularly weeknote (is that is a verb?). If you look at my responses to James’ tweets of his weeknotes in the last few weeks, you’ll get the drift, and why JFDI is the title!!

3) having done some analysis on social media impact of Twitter and Linked In activity, it seems that you all enjoy (measured in the number of likes, comments, retweets, messages) posts which explain or highlight things I’m doing, rather than simply commenting / passing on the fantastic work of others.

So, a new month, and actually some good breakthrough progress this week, which seems enough for me to take a few minutes and make a start. So, here goes…

Monday was mostly business admin and Data Discovery Centre project reviews with Nic Cary

Tuesday was a mix of client liaison, catching up with the inspired Carl Rodrigues for an enlightening chat, taking small steps on various longer term projects, and finalising the preparation work for…

Wednesday’s task, 31 July, come hell or high water, with an end of month deadline, was the day to get all the collaborative docs structured and out to the support team who are helping to deliver the Local Authority Hub at Highways UK. It was a full-on day, not helped by a headache in the afternoon, but hey, mission accomplished. Feeling good that I’d got roughly where I needed to, and emailed the team with access instructions to googlesheets and dropbox paper documents. But I was a little unsure how everyone else would take to it, and whether they would be able to access it all…Technology ;-)!

With all this, I missed the deadline for the first batch of Open Data Camp tickets, which is in London on 2-3 November, run by an excellent team that includes my friends Pauline Roche and Giuseppe Sollazzo. There are normally 2nd and 3rd releases, but they do sell out quick – because its a fabulous event! I hear there are a few sponsor slots still available, so if anyone feels they’d like to support the team deliver a great event, they would be deeply appreciative.

Thursday 1 Aug, it was off to London (on the bleary-eyed 0714 from New St) to participate in a workshop as part of the CIHT Technology and Innovation Panel. CIHT are keen to bring more value to members from all their panels, and this brainstorming session was for us panel members to figure out how we might do this. A common thread was mirrored in discussions as part of the Transport Data Initiative Policy Group earlier in the week; ‘how do you deliver value for event attendees? What should outputs look like? It’s an age-old challenge – we think that by getting people in a room who care about a particular topic, value is magically generated from that. Well, it often isn’t, at least not without specific planning and support to deliver it. It’s useful for the people who attend. But it can often end up as a privileged networking event, rather than producing outputs and outcomes of greater value to others. These are not challenges facing TDI and CIHT alone, and there are approaches to overcome it. A separate blog topic, perhaps?

Also on Thursday morning, on the train, I was feeling brave about updating my Twitter and Linked In profiles to reference my Local Authorities Manager role with Highways UK. I’ve actually been been doing the role as part of my portfolio for most of this year, on and off, but given the milestone the night before of getting the team collaborative documents out, it felt, somehow, the right time to announce it.

Thursday afternoon, I camped in the British Library for a bit, and had a lovely chat with the organisers at the European Journalism Centre of this News Impact Summit on 7 Oct in Birmingham, on Climate Change Reporting. This topic seems to be getting a very high profile, very rapidly these days. And its of particular interest for local authority technical teams who are having to figure out what the implications might be from their council Climate Emergency declarations. This is something my co-conspirators and Highways UK Local Authority Hub collaborators the Local Government Technical Advisers Group (LGTAG) are exploring.

Friday was a chance to catch up with the ever-brilliant James Gleave, to do some more Mobility Lab / DDC plotting, as well as jumping in and out of about 6 different slack accounts and 10 different dropbox paper docs on different projects, not really knowing if I was coming or going!!!

And finally, on both Thursday and Friday…I had such lovely feedback from the team on the shared collaborative docs I had circulated, and also some lovely messages from many friends and colleagues on the Linked In role update.

Huge thanks to all of you who have liked, commented and messaged with your congrats and support for me doing this Local Authorities Manager role for Highways UK. It will be a challenge; but 10 years on from me starting to understand, from those on the ground, some of the gritty issues facing local highways (through my involvement with the NHT benchmarking clubs), it feels fitting to be taking this on and doing what I can to move things forward. With the wider country and international challenges as a backdrop, it is certainly an interesting time to be doing this. It was never going to be a task that could be delivered alone, so the team support already expressed is both deeply humbling and heartwarming. Thank you! together we will succeed 🙂