In Episode 18 of the Together London Podcast, I talk to Karen McGrane about adapting to change, telling stories about our mistakes, and using compassion to get better outcomes.
I’ve organized web community events for three years. I started in a Shoreditch basement with “Content Strategy, Manhattan Style” in 2010 (video), organized Content Strategy Forum London in 2011 with Destry Wion and Randall Snare, started London Content Strategy Meetup with Richard Ingram (over 1300 members and 18 events so far), and together with Brain Traffic brought the US content strategy conference Confab to London in March 2013.
I’ve spoken to hundreds of people about their work and why they come to events. I’ve learned that while almost everyone gets something from community events, the people who benefit most are ready for change when they show up.
When people ask me for case studies we can learn from, I tell them about the Government Digital Service (GDS), the people behind the UK government’s single website, GOV.UK. As Tim O’Reilly put it, “there isn’t a single organization on the planet who wouldn’t benefit from studying their work”. They have an agile, cross-discipline approach, they share what they learn (and what they screw up), and their mission is to build digital services by transforming government to be “digital by default”. The people I know at GDS are generous with their time, always happy to sit down over coffee or participate in a community event. They’re leading the way by doing awesome work.
In Episode 14 of the Together London Podcast, I talk to Nishant Kothary
about using soft skills to make things happen, how our brains deceive us,
and why understanding other people is crucial for our success.
As digital people we fix things. We like to go in and help by fixing the problem and making it go away. This is really holding us back, I think. Because so many of the problems that we face today can’t be fixed by you or I fixing some copy, or writing some code, or changing the design. Actually, the problems that companies are facing are cultural.
And so, to actually help instead of just fixing, we need to start making stuff with people. And that is risky because we have to let go of our expertise and our control, and say, “I am OK with just trying this out and making something together with you, and realizing that it might fail.”
In Episode 12 of the Together London Podcast, I talk to Sophie Dennis about redefining success by writing your own rules, the problem with waterfall, and setting up a local web community.