What have I been doing

I chaired the product development strategy show and tell where an audience of a few hundred people heard and got to ask questions about the UCD maturity model work that I have been leading. The maturity model is central to the product development strategy and is work that I started a while ago. The purpose of it is to give teams a practical tool to understand what user centred maturity looks like, how mature their team is and actionable feedback on how to improve. A maturity model is much more than an articulation of a ladder. It needs to be invested in to meet the needs of those that will use it. I started with just a spreadsheet to articulate what a team at each level looked like in practice. Having invested in bringing a team from our service design partner we now have an iterated model to use with teams as well as a support package to enable them to action the next steps that come out of their self review workshops. The next step is to embed it into our product development governance. I also have conversations with cross system colleagues about how the model could be used in governance and assurance processes more widely.

I’ve been working to support our capacity and capability programme across the organisation. We are expanding our user centred design capability both in well-established areas and also in places where we haven’t had user researchers, designers and content people before. As part of it I have been working with HR colleague to redevelop our assessment process and also spending a day in assessor training.

I’ve been working with Kathryn to look at how we can collaborate across NHSx and NHS Digital to support user researchers across the system. I have also been supporting colleagues across the system with recruitment to some key roles. I also attended the UCD as a profession steering group.

I had a catch up with Imogen about UCD in health and also met with one of my new direct reports Laura, Head of Product for Screening. We also welcomed Rachel to our user research community, our first permanent user research hire to work on NHS Digital staff facing services.

I have committed time to the Shuri Network time bank and this month I have been meeting and providing shadowing opportunities for one of their members. Its something that I also learn a lot from too and would thoroughly recommend others committing time to it. https://hexitime.com/campaign/shuri-network-shadowing-programme

I also welcomed some new patient representatives to the can-gene can-var patient reference group that I am a member of outside of work.

What have I been thinking about

Not to open a can of worms but the word design and the term designer. As people working in human/user centred design we often use the word design as a shorthand for it. If we really want everyone to understand what we do, we need to make sure that we use language that doesn’t exclude or misrepresent what we do. Often when we talk about design, although we know we mean interaction, service, content design and user research, people new to this area of work don’t. For me using one word to describe all these roles does their individual craft a disservice.

Planning to do next

Kicking off inclusive design strategy work

Kicking of research operations knowledge management

Power and privilege training

Attending the content profession huddle

Recruitment, recruitment and more recruitment

Head of User Research @NHS Digital. Views my own.