Face down in a dark room

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A photo of a poster on a graffiti’d wall that reads “Ideas are Covid proof” it was shared by Problem Press on Instagram.

This week has felt really long and tough in places. A meeting I had on Tuesday really caused my productivity to dip as I was feeling quite distracted and it meant I ended up working until late to make up for it. Similarly, in order to make time for my coaching course on Wednesday I worked today (Friday) so it feels like a very long week.

The Community Engagement Playbook project has reached the point of synthesis from the user research done so far. So this week has been focussing on that, with a planning meeting, synthesis/research crit and a partner meeting. I’m appreciating the speed at which Snook are churning out insights and moving at pace, but I would have liked to have been more involved in the synthesis and research, so hope I can get along to a later research session. …

Happy new year, yeah?

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Gif: an ice cream van drives and bounces, a caption reads “Happy new year”

Bit unsure about continuing with this series (which includes Christmas and a 2020 review in the middle) but S11 would have only been 4 episodes otherwise which doesn’t feel quite right. Plus, I have an inkling that I might want to start a new series in February time, so this feels ok.

It was a short (3 day) week. I had Monday booked off because it was a school inset day and then in the evening the government changed policy and we went back into lockdown, which closed the primary schools. My little boy had three days with his nanny, so we were lucky that it meant we could still work with little disruption (aside from needing to finish a little early). …

A late foray into last year’s highs and lows

As I start to write this I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to revisit what has been a really strange and difficult year. I mean, I don’t have to tell you that, you were there too. So I’m going to just start writing and see where I get to.


One of the big things of the year has been tracking my reading with my Trello reading list — I actually started this at the end of December 2019. …

The last working week of 2020!

I’m sat here at home, my little one finishes school for the year in about an hour and that’s it for work now. No more for 2020, it’s nearly over! It’s been another bitty week of chasing things and doing small buts of tidying up and reading a week of more things on the list (like last week).

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A screenshot from my Trello board

What did you experiment with?

Thanks to a couple of great meetings this week, I got clearer on something that’s been bothering me but that I’ve been struggling to put my finger on. …


I didn’t weeknote last week, I’m not sure why. So I guess this is a double feature, weeks 30/11 to 11/12. Actually that first week was a short one which may be why, I had Monday off as leave and then Thursday was a Digital Directorate “away day” with show and tells from all the teams and some discussion in the afternoon. So only really 2 days work, which perhaps didn’t feel like enough to write home about.

One thing I’ve noticed this week is how I’ve got much more small bitty pieces of work to complete. Maybe it’s that it’s the run up to Christmas, maybe it’s the big pivot I mentioned last weeknote leading to more work, or something else, I’m not sure. …

A fresh piece of blu-tack

Welcome to episode 2. And I guess, first up, thank you to anyone who got in contact after my weeknotes last week. It’s comforting, I suppose, that so many people were in touch and understood what I’d been going through. Thank you.

But also, mates — its worrying how many of you are also feeling this too — look after yourselves, ok?

Paul shared the tweet above and its been really interesting to see how everyone is feeling. Its also a good reference point for judging just how bad things are and then pulling back if you need to. …

Oh, hi

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Oh, hi

I stole the above from Dan’s weeknotes purely because every time I see it I read it in his voice and it feels like a lovely weeknotes comfort. A return home where the people are nice, friendly, and drink lots of tea.

So, oh hi to you, take a little of this spare comfort, wrap it around you like a warm scarf. You’re very welcome here, you know? Rest your bum on a squashy cushion. Do you have a hot drink nearby?

I hope you are comfy because I’m trying to maintain an upbeat tone despite not having the best couple of weeks. I’ve had a bit of a break from writing, which I think I needed. …

Longest series ever

Hi welcome to my week(notes). I wasn’t really happy with last week and I didn’t have the energy to write anything particularly interesting, but I think that’s maybe a reflection of this series going on for rather longer than I thought. I need a break really. So this will be the last weeknote for a little bit while I recalibrate.

This week has seemed busy, I felt like I’ve had to cram things in rather than have the space to actually do them properly. …

A reference guide to different children’s books that can help you tell stories of your work.

Since January 2020 I’ve been developing a workshop that I first delivered at #UKGovCamp about telling stories using the well known children’s book The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

You can find out all about it here, as well as how to run the workshop yourself:

I’ve been in the very lucky position that something about this resonated with people, travelled further than I could have imagined, and that I’ve been given several opportunities to extend my thinking at other conferences: #SDinGov, UX Bristol, and Dorset Council’s Festival of the Future (and if you’d like to see how to run the workshop I’d recommend watching the latter; the link will take you to YouTube). …


Hi hi! It’s been a busy week with a lot going on so I’m going to list out some of the things by days and then see if any insights fall out.


I wasn’t feeling well which meant I WFB (worked from bed) for most of the day. But actually the W in that is probably a bit of a stretch. I LACFB — looked at the computer from bed. I also bailed on the retrospective for our Children’s Social Care Demand project, but it was being expertly run by Michael so all went on swimmingly without me.

I had a good call with the inimitable Lisa J Jeffery though which was lovely. …


Sam Villis

Local Gov collaboration at MHCLG. Prev: Head of Digital at National Leadership Centre, Cabinet Office. Standards at GDS. Proud to be @OneTeamGov.

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