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Monday, 30 July 2018

Back to a Monday, and I have made it to 10 issues, which is a milestone of sorts. You are one of 218 subscribers, which I'd like to think isn't bad going. Just so you know, next week I will be on my holidays, and thus Digital Digest will be taking a break too. All being well, you'll next receive one of these on 13th August - or at least sometime during that week.

Remember - if you enjoy this newsletter, others might too! Please forward it on to anybody you think might like it, or encourage folk to sign themselves up! Got something I ought to include? Mail me!

Show the thing, show it early

Showing the thing is really important when getting started on a new digital transformation initiative. It wins people's confidence and gets buy in from people across your organisation.

What I mean by this is, as your first project, try and pick something under your direct control, that's relatively low risk, and which benefits a lot of people in your organisation. I think an internal service like an intranet is perfect for this. Why?

  • In most organisations, everyone hates the current intranet
  • More or less everyone uses it at some point or another, so it affects lots of people
  • If it breaks completely, nobody will die as a result
  • You can easily release iteratively, as the old intranet can usually stick around in the background until everything is done
  • It's a relatively simple service, without too much back office integrating going on (although some can be fiendishly complicated, I admit)
  • You might pick up some savings on licensing costs, especially if you move from a paid-for proprietary system to a free open source one
It might seem a little counter-intuitive to choose an internal service first. Wouldn't it be better to pick something external customer facing, that would save serious wedge? Well, possibly. But best first to test out your transformation approach, your agile delivery, your user centred design process and all that on something before getting others to engage with you without a practical example of what you're talking about.

Much easier to have a successful project in the bag, that everyone knows about, that you can point to as an example of what you mean when you are talking about digital. By showing the thing, you might even have people approaching you, asking "Can we have some of that?".


  • Ben Thompson on Facebook's recent woes. "Facebook was down dramatically after its last earnings; to decide if it is justified it is worth looking at the company through many different lenses, both financial and strategic." Link
  • The UN e-government survey results are out. The UK are fourth, so we are about as good at this stuff as England are at men's football. Link

Tools and techniques

  • Co-op digital have published their 'design system - basically a toolkit and guidebook on building good digital services. Link
  • DWP Digital share their ways of working during an alpha phase of a project. Link
  • A good read on the need for people to have technical intuition - a new frame to think about digital skills and capability. Link.


  • Stephen O'Grady ruminates on what the future holds for Google's cloud platform. Link
  • Tim Anderson writes about Gartner's recent roundup of low code-ish mobile development platforms. At least two of those mentioned, Mendix and OutSystems, are in use in local government to my knowledge. Link
  • Slack asserts greater control of the team messaging space by forming an alliance with Atlassian, and presumably shutting down their offerings in due course. Link


  • It's summer and events seem light on the ground. If you have one you'd like promoted, just let me know.


  • Senior ICT Delivery Manager, Hackney Council. Link
  • Digital Policy Advisor, States of Jersey. Link.
If you're on the lookout for a new public service digital job, then you'd do a lot worse than signing up for Matt Jukes' entirely job-focused newsletter.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading and please feel free to forward this onto friends and colleagues - and maybe even encourage them to sign up!

If you have any feedback, or an idea for something to be included, please just hit reply and send me an email.

Until next time,

~ Dave
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