Weeknotes 35.2016 – A weeknotes about weeknotes and mobile content

On September 2nd, 2016, posted in: weeknotes by

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As I take over the reins of Weeknotes, I’ve been reflecting on what we do with this weekly update. This, along with the fact that we’ve had a big lift recently in new subscribers, means that I thought I would take a moment to reflect why we share our Weeknotes whilst trying to encourage more of you to do the same.

If you haven’t heard about Weeknotes before – there’s an interesting post from Amplab where they talk about the rhythm, the process and benefits.

Giving up a couple of hours a week to write about what we are doing, learning, seeing seems totally indulgent during busy times. In fact, we’ve recently had an internal discussion about whether weeknotes is for you or us. I think both. One of our main motivations for FG+W was to continue to learn and grow whilst improving and adding to the sector we work in. Weeknotes delivers on that in several ways:

  • Reflective practice – We learn a lot through doing, and in order to learn we have to reflect on what we’ve done and evaluate the impact our actions have had. At its best, Weeknotes gives us a chance to look back and say what we learned this week, what we saw, heard, noticed and how we would change it the next time. We do this via a weekly check-in meeting using Slack and that reflection process serves as the basis for Weeknotes.
  • Responsive sharing – As a small team, we can be responsive to the needs of projects AND how organisations are changing and responding to digital products and services. Therefore, we can pilot, test, and iterate processes and tools quickly. There’s value in that. However, I would love to see more people in the sector sharing.
  • Transparency – We work in a sector that has lots of people working on similar problems. There is a value in knowing who is working on what, what they have seen and learnt. We can learn quicker if we share notes.
  • It attracts like for like – we like working with all sorts of different clients, associates and employees but not surprisingly we work at our best when people trust us, share our values and believe in our processes. Weeknotes helps us find those people and encourages them to get in touch.

That’s all very sharing and caring – I imagine you are firing up a new WordPress site as I type. However…

In the interest of balance there are challenges – such as:

  • Keeping up the value – this is not easy when we’re flat out on project work. Martha’s steadfast commitment to getting them out week after week helped me to see the value in the rhythm of Weeknotes. The downside is that we don’t always have time to reflect and sometimes we are left with a “What we did on our holidays” type of reporting rather than valuable insights.
  • Musings over articles – there is a danger you capture half thoughts and musing that never really add up to enough to help anyone. The “research” post we released a couple of weeks ago was very popular. All of that info is buried in weeknotes somewhere – but it’s not easy to consume. My reflection on this is that every so often something has to become an article to consolidate what we know.
  • Oversharing – We have to be careful that we don’t put clients in a difficult situation. So we have a rule – we share what we own – our processes and what we learn from those. We won’t share what we don’t own – our clients’ organizational context and certain outcomes. We have been thinking about anonymizing the clients we work with so we can talk more freely about the projects but it doesn’t feel right.

So, have I tempted you to write and publish your own Weeknotes? If so, let us know – we’ll add you to our weekly reading list. Or if you still have some questions, drop me a line.

As part of my review, it would be great to get your feedback on Weeknotes. Let us know what you would like to read more of, or less of. Why you read Weeknotes or what you hope to get out of it. You can pop them in the comments below or email us.

Anyway with that – a bit of reflection on the last week.

Laura took some time this week to visit SFMOMA and use their new app, developed in collaboration with Detour. One of the distinguishing features of the app is the guided audio walks around the Museum. The app uses location-aware technology to deliver the right audio content to you in the right place, adjusting to your pace as you walk through the Museum and picking up where you left off if you choose to look at something that’s not on the tour. One of the challenges of “random access” mobile tours, that allow you to choose what to see, is what you gain in freedom you lose in strong overarching narrative and it’s easy to lose the power of a good story well told. So seeing a use of technology that gives visitors the freedom to walk around and yet still delivers a strong narrative is very interesting.

Alyson meanwhile is dipping in and out of reports on audiences and dance – whilst simultaneously trying to deal with our financial year end. The joys of a small business.

Finally, I was preparing for delivering a journey mapping workshop at the GEM conference while taking the chance to catch up with some Edinburgh colleagues. My reflection this week –  you can’t run an “Introduction to visitor journey mapping” session in one hour but you probably can in two!

This weeks reading:

  1. A new book that was recommended to Laura by Kate Haley Goldman that she’s looking forward to reading: Out on the Wire.  It’s a graphic nonfiction about storytelling and the new generation of radio. http://jessicaabel.com/out-on-the-wire/
  2.  The Digital Museum tumblr edited by John Stack – came onto Laura’s radar – so it’s a good time to share. It collects presentations and interviews about digital and museums
  3. For those interested in how we interview there is a great overview of the empathy interview
  4. The Project Director, Pietr spoke about the Our Museum Intiative at the GEM conference. In their words “As part Our Museum Intitative, several museums and galleries experimented in deeper partnerships and different aspects of organisational change. The website is a collection of the learning and thinking from our initiative and beyond.”
  5.  I enjoyed this post on designing content for services not channels by Melanie Cannon, Lead Content Designer at Department of Work and Pensions. Including this line “This service design approach to communicating with users can lead to questions about who “owns” a particular bit of content. There’s a simple answer: the user. Their need dictates the message and their preference dictates the channel.”

One Response to “Weeknotes 35.2016 – A weeknotes about weeknotes and mobile content”

  • Mark Macleod says:

    Lindsey, Loving the Weeknotes and just catching up on a binge read of them. Having pointers to articles is great, there are so many articles out there it’s super to hear recommendations for these. Thank you for being honest and transparent in the content, I agree with the idea of all benefitting from keeping up to date, and looking outside the sector for ideas too.
    Keep it up.

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