It’s been a while - but that’s okay. The last couple of weeks have kept me busy with various things and I did not feel like they were worth writing about them. We juggled onboarding, support, vision, and stakeholder-related tasks - made some progress, but it didn’t feel like anything that would fill a whole weeknote or follow a clear narrative.

This changed this week with a talk from Giles Turnball about working in the open (Slides are here) that happened as part of the international design in government community event. It left me inspired and motivated and looking back at my notes I found the missing narrative. So follow along, as in this weeknote I want to add some examples of why working in the open helps to:

  • Builds trust
  • Lift the lid
  • Feed conversation
  • Attract talent

These are four reasons “stolen” from Giles edutaining presentation. Which I could do because, you guessed it, he works in the open 🙃.

Working in the open to build trust

A couple of weeks back, Estonias’ CEO Luukas Ilves presented the country’s ideas to build on top of the Ukranian Diia “Super app” to offer an Estonian mRiik app to complement the country’s e-government offer. Luukas did so super early in the process, watch the presentation given at the World Economic Forum 2023 here. What you will witness is:

  • A presentation of the Estonian mobile government application based on Ukraine’s Diia code & UX/UI design.
  • Short run down on E-stonias success and a glimpse into the strategy of E-stonia.
  • Showing that even as a leader in e-gov you can reuse technology from other countries and can be proud in sharing that they are copying.

What you will also witness is Luukas talking about problems and sharing what approach the country will attempt to address these. Note that he does this in an early phase, even before the app is launching or has the needed policy support. By being transparent, showing the app, its intended use, and the way to sign up to test it, he is building trust. Trust in the app itself but more importantly in the way of approaching this topic / working on it.

Working in the open to lift the lid and feed the conversation

If you have been reading my notes for a while, you might know that I am a strong advocate for working in the open and showing the thing you are working on (Working in the open = ground layer of (good) communication (October 2022), First weeknote on this blog (September 2022)). I strongly believe that it makes our work better as it gives room for reflection, reasoning and taking a breath.

Furthermore, it helps by offering a starting point for feedback - in the case of the Digitalcheck(🇩🇪) we start seeing an effect. After publishing our second blog post about why we came up with five principles for digital-ready policy (🇩🇪) similar to Denmarks’ approach to the topic - copy proudly but always credit!). The Tagesspiegel Background, one of the leading “newspapers” covering the state of digitalization of the german government, picked up on the narrative. They wrote a great article about how the different federal states approach digital-ready policy themselves (🇩🇪&💰). This is amazing for two reasons:

  • Lifting the lid on our work pays back vastly by providing a perfect overview of the state of the federal states of Germany concerning digital-ready policy (something we had in our backlog for a while). So thank you Tagesspigel Background for helping along - as Giles said “There are more experts outside your company than insight”.
  • By publishing our thoughts we started and continuously feed the conversation about the topic on the federal level. Something we could not do proactively so far as we only have limited resources at hand. Working in the open - easily making things better.

Working in the open attracts talent

I was fortunate to help with some interviews for open positions at the DigitalService. The candidates were all amazing and it was so cool to see that on a couple of occasions articles from the blog were mentioned during the interviews. Often during part of the interview where we talked about motivation and future learning endeavors, the blog posts often as the starting point of some curious and in-depth questions of the candidates.

That’s it - a different weeknote as I talked little about what I am up to, but it feels like an important one to myself - motivation to keep going the extra mile to work in the open even if it seems sometimes hard to do. See ya!