Weeknotes #3 – pulling it all together


Well, hello again avid weeknotes reader – yes, I am back for my 3rd week. You seemed to like weeknotes #2; it created some lovely comments on Linked In and some learnings on Twitter around storytelling.

As this subject is clearly close to your heart as well as mine, I’m sure you won’t mind exploring it a bit further with me this week.

Ahh, but I see you are a bit confused; wondering about the relevance of the picture of the rose? Last week it was all King Arthur and round tables, and now a rose. Most odd…?! Well, variety is the spice of life. I’ve been working from home most of the week, and forgot to get any good pictures when I was out and about. So I hunted the garden for inspiration. The first photo of the rose was a portrait, which wouldn’t work as well for this. So I went back for a landscape shot, and was delighted to find an insect flying around, which I captured. I’m not what I would describe as a photographer, so I’m pretty chuffed with it!

I can see how it does have a deeper meaning; my explorations into storytelling and the topic of resilience and climate change, in the context of infrastructure management are starting to blossom into a more coherent and exciting plan for our Local Authorities Hub at Highways UK. Let’s see how….

Monday, at home mostly wrapped up in business admin again. Before starting these weeknotes, I wouldn’t have spotted this pattern. I’m not sure its a permanent one; the summer is a nice opportunity to have a more flexible schedule around everyone else’s leave. Maybe that’s why eh?!

Later in the afternoon I did jump in with some comments on the draft report in the findings from the CIHT Digitalisation Survey results, through the CIHT Technology and Innovation Panel. I felt a bit of a bore trying to hold back a little of the technology enthusiasm, and help to see a more balanced approach to the possibilities of digital / data / technology in the sector. I feel it is important to help manage the integration of new with existing, in ways people can cope with.

Tuesday, at home again, following through the storytelling thread. I was hopping about between tips and tools on longform storytelling from Paul Bradshaw, weeknotes #2 comments in Linked In from Paula Claytonsmith at Gaist and a lovely learning from John Bull (@garius) of London Reconnections, on tools and tips for longform storytelling.

It’s great to hear John’s perspective, speaking from experience; we know it is often challenging for engineers to write compelling stories:

Wednesday, now this was one of those magical days! It was up early for an 7:45 brekkie and 8am start at Pinsent Masons (very swish offices) for the ICE Midlands event on Embedding Resilience to Climate Change.

A fascinating morning with excellent speakers:

  • John Dora shared his insights on climate adaptation, including helping create the just published ISO 14090 Adaptation to Climate Change
  • Matthew Fox from Pinsent Masons shared his experience of the policy impacts of the rapidly changing scene around climate change/crises, and the uncertainty it creates for planning of large schemes
  • Lydia Burgess-Gamble from the Environment Agency on the forthcoming Flood and Coastal Risk Management Strategy, and the fabulous resources from the Flood and Coastal Risk Management R+D projects
  • Colin Holm from the Sustainable Development and Climate Change team in Highways England, who amongst other things have just updated DMRB guidance on sustainability.

It was a fascinating session, tying nicely into my ICE learnings last week, as well as the core theme for the Local Authorities Hub at Highways UK.

The rest of the day was spent following up conversations from here, and jumping back to the Local Authority Hub plans, inspired and refreshed from the learnings of last week and this week, ready to put them into action.

Thursday, the morning was spent developing collaborative plans for the West Midlands Open Data Forum. It’s great to start to pull threads together on this, from a helpful and inspiring conference call first thing.

The afternoon was a bit of a washout, with a horrid headache and stiffness. I get it now and again. The best thing is to relax, and hide under the duvet until I recalibrate 🙂

Friday was a mix of business admin, catching up on calls, delving into storytelling and journalism circles, and preparing for the weekend, which comprised two days of camping in my kitchen. I use the wall as a massive misson central whiteboard, to plot the next stage evolution of the Highways UK Local Authority Hub programme.

This was very cathartic, as I was able to free my mind, get down on post it notes what was important, gathered from lots of different experiences in the last few weeks, and then figure out a fresh structure for how they can fit, and make sense. [I find this whole mission plotting thing very enjoyable – is this common or a weird Teresa trait?!]

One of the key challenges is connecting what matters to local authorities, to individuals who are good at storytelling, and are prepared to collaborate with us to get some of these stories out. This is work in progress.

I feel relieved and happy to have got to a good point on this. It feels important to get this right. And to do so takes care, consideration and planning. Plus a great support team.

Before I sign off, I have a couple of surveys you might be interested in taking part in:

1. Have your say on British Standards for Data in organisations. There are two draft standards out for review and comment – BS 10102-1 Guidelines on data-driven organisations and BS 10102-2 Guidelines on data-intensive projects. Register to comment here before 31 October 2019.

The standards were triggered by a desire to meet the needs of ‘big data’ although it rapidly became clear that ‘big’ is very misleading and most of what is included in the guidelines relates to all data. Thanks to Julian Schwarzenbach at Data and Process Advantage for sharing this.

2. How should the UK be responding to the UN Sustainable Development Goals? The UK’s Voluntary National Review on progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals was published in June, and presented to the High Level Political Forum in July 1019. There’s a survey open until 1st September inviting people and organisations to share their views on the UK’s Voluntary National Review process and gather ideas on future stakeholder engagement.

In the context of infrastructure, its best to read this alongside / through the lens of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Sustainability Route Map, which builds on the findings of the Global Engineering Congress in October 2018, to set the vision and roadmap for how infrastructure can align and deliver against the UN Sustainable Development Goals.