Weeknote 9th December 2022 – Amsterdam, Analysis and Work Experience

Started the week with a long weekend visiting Amsterdam. Discovered and enjoyed some great spots. In addition to the famous spots, I’d recommend the forward looking NXT Museum of interactive digital art, which was itself recommended to me by Doug Belshaw.

We also had a great evening at the ‘Pesca – Theatre of Fish’ restaurant. You initially enter a market where you choose your fish from the day’s catch, it’s cooked to order while you choose a wine from a similar market style stall. It sounds a bit ‘concepty’, but the staff were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, which resulted in the market section being an enjoyable conversation about food and drink with experts. Then the food that arrived was delicious, the chefs are fantastic.

Back to work on Tuesday, and I’ve had a week of analysing and presenting back findings, as well as planning for what more research we can get done before we finish for the holidays. I shared some early work with two partner departments understanding their current process before we work with them to create a form. No case neatly fits the model, as every process is different. In these cases we have an existing form that is online already but being retired, and a process that is currently an email conversation that needs to be structured into a form as volumes of enquiries have been increasing. Good to get to an understanding and map the existing processes, and now we’re ready to move into some usability testing of the form builder with these partners.

I spent some time planning how to get some feedback from form processors in these cases. Not straightforward given the above, but it’s planned out now and the first session is next week. Hopefully we can get the second session in so it’s all done before the holidays.

In something completely different, I met up with someone in relation to a 14-15 year old work experience student who will be joining us in February. I don’t think it’s appropriate to share any details relating to this placement, not least because their rules set by their school stipulate they shouldn’t share about their placement on social media. However, it got me thinking more generally about work experience these days. When I did my placement you could reasonably expect all staff would be in for the entirety of their working hours and working from home or flexibly just wasn’t a thing. You might be using a computer for some tasks, but if you did you’d be sat in front of a desktop someone didn’t need while they did something that didn’t involve a computer. It’s a different world these days, and many people hosting students these days must have to put considerable thought into how to get them meaningfully involved in work when it’s online and flexible.

I spent the two weeks of my own work experience working in a restaurant and almost never touching a computer at all. We did have one of those Amstrad desktop email based phones… but I only used it to phone in orders to suppliers and leave as very long voice mails at the end of each day! I did end up working for the restaurant and building their website though, and the website for the owners Spanish holiday lets. You never know what opportunities these things lead to.

Next week I’m running these sessions about form processing, and we have another kick off session with a new partner department. The number of partners we’re working with is growing fast at the moment. I’ll also be doing some tidying up and prioritising before the end of the year, and I also hope to take some time to write some blog posts on a few things I’ve been learning recently.


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