Being the change we want to see

Atika Mohammed / 13 February 2019

When I first got the role of Change Delivery Manager a few months ago, I had no idea of the scale and pace of change I was about to be delivering. But my then manager Matthew Wallbridge (who has now left the Council) gave me “The Little Black Book of Change”. It’s a great read and simplifies delivering transformational change into 7 fundamental shifts: 

  1. Letting go of the past 
  2. Developing breakthrough ambition 
  3. Creating a bold new vision of the future 
  4. Engaging the players in the bold new vision 
  5. Cutting through the DNA 
  6. Keeping the organisation future-focused 
  7. Gaining energy from setbacks 

In our transition to becoming the Croydon Digital Service (CDS), we’ve been racing through these shifts at pace. We ran retros to help let go of the past and Neil Williams and Dave Briggs have come in with their breakthrough ambition. At our away day, a bold new vision of the future was created which we all got behind. Our post away day survey shows we are building on great foundations, with over 90% of staff feeling confident about the vision and changes. So now we’re engaging the players to deliver this vision.. 

There is a LOT of change happening in a short space of time, and since the away day, we now understand where we want to get to, so we’re getting on with making it happen. Our Digital Ambassadors are core to this and made up of staff from the various CDS teams who bring their strengths and fears together to find the answers and deliver the results. We’ve made a commitment to each other to try new things, be bold and learn together. How better to figure out the new way than to just give it a go?  

We kicked off our existence as Croydon’s Digital Ambassadors with lunch at a local favourite. We’re a group of pretty excited, albeit slightly nervous, CDS staff but we’ve decided to be the change we want to see. So as a team of ambassadors, we’ll be working in sprints, using Microsoft Teams to collaborate, working in the open and holding stand-ups and retros. This is all new stuff to some of us, and definitely new to Croydon! We’ve also pledged to join Twitter and start blogging (this is my first ever post!).  

So what are we going to do? We’ve started by introducing the whole Council to our new Chief Digital Officer (Neil) by way of an interview, and shared what we are doing and when by publishing a timeline of milestones to all staff. In the next four weeks, we will have created an alpha playbook that will enable novices like me to find the information we need and learn together – and what’s more, we’ll be aiming to create it using the Local Digital Declaration (LDD) principles we’ve signed up to. We will have tweaked our business case template to incorporate user needs as well as the Technology Code of Practice 

This week we’re running a “Focus Fortnight” on Digital and Agile practices. What’s a focus fortnight? It’s where we focus on a particular element of change and run a series of activities to upskill our staff around it. We will have figured out exactly what learning and development we need in the short-term and identified how it will be delivered. We will have published our first iteration of the LDD action plan and carried out a pilot service assessment. The floor where we’ll sit will look and feel different too – with cultural artefacts such as posters and the results of user research on the walls and whiteboards full of post-its! Some of us might even start wearing jeans to the office… 

During this time we’ll also start working on the next lot of deliverables. This includes making all staff aware of the new service desk for technical issues, starting our first multi-disciplinary team, running a focus fortnight on user research and user centred design, carrying out more user research and continuing to develop our playbook and service assessment process. 

That’s pretty ambitious as it’s on top of our day to day work – as well as our transition from a single supplier of a managed service to several specialist companies – but we’re confident we’ll get there. And if not, we’ll try again until we do. After all, our CDO says “no-one gets sacked for trying!”

Atika Mohammed is the Change Delivery Manager at the Croydon Digital Service. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

4 thoughts on “Being the change we want to see”

    1. Thanks for the feedback (and apologies for the delay in replying). We’re currently working on the next iteration of the blog (this is just an alpha), and accessibility is a key user need we want to get better at meeting.

      If you would be up for it, we’d like to involve you in testing the new design once it’s in a fit state. Let me know if so, on here or dave.briggs@croydon.gov.uk – thanks again.

  1. Thanks Atika. What a useful blog. Good links, might have to borrow the book off you to save my pennies 🙂

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