Where my brain thinks I am

This week has been markedly quieter for me after all the activity of the workshops last week. I say for me because I know that this is not the case for much of the rest of the team who are working on what we need to move into the final phase, that’s the bit where it will all — hopefully — come together. Its been quieter but I’ve been able to interject here and there and offer what I hope has been useful value and perspective — but it’s sometimes hard to know.

What I’ve found as well is that…


Text me when you get home xx

I’m writing this on Friday, post-migraine so please excuse any typos or spelling mistakes on that basis — though I doubt you’ll really notice anything too different to normal.

I’ve been thinking about what a strange and difficult week it’s been for a whole range of people and for a whole number of reasons but especially for women, and black women and women of colour, people with mental health issues and much more.

And when I say women, I mean all women including queer and trans women too. …


Shifting sand and broken records.

It’s been a long and busy week. My current project team have been simultaneously finalising one phase of our work (synthesising and discussing research) while also prepping for the next phase.

I spent the first half of the week trying to second guess the outcomes of research in order to get ahead on the work I needed to deliver, but I see now that I was probably attempting to build on sand. Decisions wouldn’t ultimately be made until Wednesday that would effect the approach I needed to take. …


“A problem is an abstraction of reality extracted from reality by analysis”

An image of some notebook notes which include the quote in the subhead.

Well Friday has come around really quickly and I’m in a bit of a whirl as I type this. The project I’m working on has reached a really busy point and my week has been spent conducting something like 11 research interviews. It’s been really interesting and has required a lot of focus and concentration. I’m really glad that I have those coaching skills to fall back to feel confident in holding the space and letting people speak.

I’ve also been working again on co-creation workshop designs but only in and around other work, which has meant I haven’t been…


“We must be ready to question and transcend both the problem and the perspective or worldview from which we approach the problem” Werner Ulrich.

Thinking about this week I think I tried to write these weeknotes too early — with not enough distance between me and the activities — but now on reflection I see a lot of progress and some really lovely and nourishing conversations that have helped me develop my thinking, so I guess I’ll write about those things!

Work stuff

It’s been a busy week but I’m coming out of the end of it feeling ok. There was one point where I felt like I was getting a bit overwhelmed, I think it was around Wednesday when I felt like I’d been staring…


Probably best to split this week up into sections so I can cover it all. It is Friday and I am tired.

Gantt gantt gantt gantt gantt gantt.

Work stuff

I started the week with doing some thinking about workshop structures and doing some researching and pulling ideas together, it meant I finally got around to reading Beyond Sticky Notes by Kelly Ann McKercher (at least reading some of) and spent some time playing with Liberating Structures and flicking through Gamestorming, which I haven’t picked up in a while. (As an aside I really wish Gamestorming was laid out according to the outcome you hope to see — it would make it much easier to use).

It was really good to just sit down with my thoughts and start designing…


Highs and lows and energy and exhaustion.

Uggghghghhgh what a week, highs and lows and energy and exhaustion. There’s been a lot going on so I’m going to try and distil it into a couple of key areas:

  • New project at work
  • Other work
  • Systems Thinking
  • Coaching
  • #CorridorCamp

New Project

Monday was my first day working in a new project team and getting to grips with that. I set out to “radiate intent” so last week I sent an email saying what I thought I would do on my first day and then I did those things.

No, not “radiator intent” *facepalm* Gif: a radiator lights up and then turns off again.

I decided when I chose to do this new piece of work…


As part of the coaching accreditation I am currently undertaking with MOE Foundation, I needed to provide a Case History, a reflection on my coaching practice and experience. In order to help others who may be thinking of taking a similar course, I decided to publish it here.

A picture of some of my notes from coaching

In preparation for this essay I went back through some of my notes from coaching sessions. While I haven’t been keeping significant notes I have been using colour coding to highlight things that particularly resonated with me, so that I can go back over some of the insights or feelings I’ve had over the past few weeks.

I have also been taking some time each week to reflect on the previous week and understand more about my practice. I’ve shared some of my coaching journal in the open in the following blogs:

Weeknotes S11 Ep5 / Coaching journal Week 1


Practice / Feedback / Reflection

It’s been a long week and as I write this I am in bed watching Drag Race on iPlayer, it’s about 8pm *facepalm*. Part of what might have made it feel long is the amount of extracurricular activities I packed in, plus I had a few later working nights this week.

On Monday I had a coaching session in the evening, then on Tuesday I had a coaching session immediately followed by the first meetup of the Systems Thinking for Service Designers course (that kicks off next week). On Wednesday night I spent a couple of hours writing my coaching…


Adjourn for a break if necessary

It has been a long week, not least because yesterday was GovCamp. GovCamp Saturday. A year since being in the same room as some of my favourite government, public sector (and beyond) heroes #SadFace

Anyway, before we launch into that.

Another longer week, with half a day of coaching training smack bang in the middle, a working Friday (with some added GovCamp) and then more on Saturday. I’ve also been having to isolate, which might have been making the week feel even longer. I’m officially over being stuck indoors — only two days to go… [1]

Cartoon by Super Freak, it reads “Another day, at home!” https://www.instagram.com/super___freak/?hl=en

So what happened…

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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