Archive — November 2020

How to make this winter not totally suck, according to psychologistsSigal SamuelVox

Illustration of a sad-looking woman

I really like the evidence-based advice in this article. It shows how the pathway to true happiness is to, in a way, forget about yourself.

Instead of thinking about the myriad negative feelings you want to avoid and the myriad things you can buy or do in service of that, think about a single organising principle that is highly effective at generating positive feelings across the board: Shift your focus outward.

I often feel uneasy about how much advice from self-help gurus encourages people to focus inwards on themselves. Humans naturally crave social interaction and feeling part of a wider purpose, beyond narrow self-interest.

This article offers practical suggestions for how you can find that, to help you feel better through what’s going to be a tough winter.

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From 40 sets of ideas to one in 20 minutes — A collaboration experiment with the Web Publishing CommunityWebsite and Communications Blog

Liberating Structures leaflet designed by Open Change

Here’s another post I published to my team’s blog over the summer and forgot to link to from here.

Back in June, I ran an experiment in mass remote collaboration at our Web Publishing Community. This was, of course, at the height of lockdown, as we were adapting to the new reality of a prolonged period of working from home.

I’d come away from the Service Design in Government conference in March really keen to try out liberating structures, following an excellent session run by Open Change.

Liberating structures is a set of workshop tools designed to include everyone and generate innovative ideas. These are ideally carried out with people who are physically together, so it was a little awkward when I wanted to try them out just at the moment everyone was required to be physically apart.

But some liberating structures are possible to run remotely, so I decided to introduce a large number of colleagues to a foundational liberating structure — 1-2-4-all.

Through this session, we collaboratively sifted through ideas generated by over 40 participants, before coming to a consensus on the one strongest idea.

Read the blog post for the full details of how it worked — and what went wrong.

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