Things this week that helped to make a difference
This week has mainly been about figuring out how we can make a difference through the urgent ask work I was pulled into last week. Not only is the work urgent, it spans many products and services and a huge complex problem space. I have spent much of the week in meetings digesting the vast knowledge being imparted by colleagues, juggling my other work commitments and trying to carve out space to reflect on what is being shared.
It was all pretty fuzzy at the start of the week, but by the end it felt like we had some clarity of where we could make a difference and could plan for action to take next week. I also made a difference by connecting colleagues collating information on the same issue, bringing people together to collaborate around similar problems, meeting colleagues across the business to develop mutual understanding collaborate and clarify and supporting colleagues struggling with the lack of clarity they felt about this work.
This week I also met with the team I am working with to start delivering the next phase of inclusive design work. The focus of this is definition and principles and understanding how we support colleagues to implement and work to those principles. The team are bringing together colleagues from both UCD and non-UCD specialisms and people who maybe don’t know much about inclusive design as this is where we can learn the most. I’ve made a difference by creating the space for this work to happen and also connecting in our design justice group and colleagues in our wider organisation who work in the health inequalities area.
I also made a difference to myself. I held fast onto ensuring time for my need to get outdoor exercise on a daily basis, particularly when working intensively on complex high pressure work. I have also held fast onto time for me and time with my family. This complex high pressure urgent ask work is not a one off in my role. These are things that regularly happen and this is one of a series of pressing intensive periods of work. Whilst I will always work my hardest to make sure we deliver, using every last bit of me to do so isn’t going to be productive in the long run for the organisation or me. Recognising my privilege in being able to hold to these boundaries, life is far too short for work to be your only focus, to let it burn you out or keep you from the things that keep you physically and mentally well. There has to be something left of you after work for the part of your day, week and life where you actually perfom the act of living rather than just existing.
What do I need to do to make more of a difference
I’m conscious that the urgent ask and the inclusive design work has kicked off at the same time. Inclusive design is no less of a priority than the urgent ask and I need to make sure that my time spent on that isn’t detrimental to it. Too often work on inclusion is gazumped in attention, focus and priority when urgent demands or need to deliver occur. There is no point in delivering anything if it excludes people or repeats the same mistakes that leads to barriers to services. We just aren’t delivering if we do. This work is about building and embedding foundations so that inclusive design is just how we do our work whether we have to deliver urgently or not. It has to be a priority and it will continue to be mine.
In all of this, I need to continue to make sure that I keep doing the things that make a difference to me. I need to make sure I get outside for a walk in daylight everyday, do outdoor cardio exercise at least twice and spend time with family and friends.
- Inclusive design check in
- Work on the urgent ask
- Assurance in the new future organisation
- User research leadership community
- Holding to my boundaries and continuing to do the things that make a difference to me