Data as institutional memory

Adam Locker – Medium

There’s more to this deceptively self-deprecating piece than meets the eye. Fragmented data cannot support integrated services, still less integrated organisations. Deep understanding and effective management of data are therefore not a minor issue for techie obsessives, but are fundamental to organisational success.

As so often, the diagnosis is simple (which of course doesn’t stop it being hard), acting on that diagnosis is complicated, and even harder. This post brings the two together through an account of making it work on one part of government.

MoJ digital and technology strategy

Tom Read – MOJ Digital & Technology

The Ministry of Justice digital team has long exemplified many of the best characteristics of digital in government, getting on with doing good things without making a song and dance about it.

So it’s no surprise that their approach to creating a strategy embodies those same characteristics. In about a thousand words, this post makes clear what is to be done, why it matters, and how they will make it happen. Your strategy is probably longer, but it’s worth asking whether it’s better.

In which I am a bit over this digital transformation business.

Catherine Howe

It’s a pretty safe rule of thumb that whatever Catherine Howe is thinking about now, the rest of us will stumble onto at some point in the indefinite future. So if she is over the digital transformation business, we need to wonder where the zeitgeist will manifest next.

One of the more provocative definitions of technology is ‘everything which doesn’t work yet’. Similarly, we will know that mapping as a technique and transformation as a goal have become normal when we hardly need to talk about them, any more than we talk about the mature technology which is around us and so hardly needs to be spoken about. But that, as this post starts to explore, merely clears the ground for deeper and harder questions. The search is on for a theory of change to shape the search for answers.

What is a Customer?

Bob Marshall – Think Different

The question of what a customer is (if anything) in the context of public services is one to be approached with trepidation. The bigendian battle has been rumbling for decades, occasionally flaring up into active skirmishing, without ever quite being resolved. One of the main reasons for that is that all the relevant words – customer, user, client, and so on – have a range of connotations, with proponents tending to focus on one set and opponents on another.

Yet another definition won’t solve that, though this one might have a better chance in the fight than most. A customer, this short post suggests, is:

Anyone who receives or anticipates receiving something (e.g. a good or a service) from someone else.

Perhaps the time has come to turn the problem round. Instead of picking a word and arguing about its definition, perhaps we should pick a definition and argue about which word best encapsulates it.