Embiggen!

A week ago it was announced that the new Doctor in Doctor Who would be played by a woman for the first time – Jodie Whitaker – and it felt long overdue – even to me, as a relatively recent convert to the show. (Current era mainly, though I dabbled just before it was cancelled in the eighties.)

But it met with some resistance in some quarters, including the less-than-progressive corners of the media and social media, and even one former Doctor.

I thought this was a great riposte, which I found via Stella Duffy on Twitter.

The gender-switch story, followed by a week in which the BBC was revealed to massively underpay its biggest female stars compared with the male ones, felt like a focal point for lots of things I have been thinking about and reading over the past few years about feminism, gender equality and female heroes and role models.

Lean In Together

Following her book about women at work, Lean In, and expanding on the movement it started, Sheryl Sandberg teamed up with Adam Grant for Lean In Together, looking at how both genders could work together and change their mindsets and approaches to push for gender equality. This began with a series of four articles a couple of years ago in the New York Times:

When talking about bias backfires

(Interestingly, this one starts with the old ‘riddle’ about a man and his son being in a car accident and then a surgeon refusing to operate – “I cannot operate, because this boy is my son.” – which is only a riddle if it doesn’t occur to you that the surgeon could be his mother… but then if you think ‘how could a surgeon be a woman?’ you probably think the same thing about a Doctor!)

Speaking while female

Madame CEO, get me a coffee

How men can succeed in the boardroom and the bedroom

All of which I was introduced to by a LinkedIn blog post from Adam Grant:

Why I failed to advocate for women: confessions of an ignorant man.

This struck a chord with me, as a father of daughters, as although I was a feminist before they were born I feel a new sense of urgency now that I also want the world to be as fair for them as possible too.

Role models and heroes

So here are some of the people I admire and respect, their writing and sometimes the characters they’ve created, all pushing for that fairer, equal world.

Integrated PR Campaigns – CharityComms event, 3 July 2017

Last week I attended a CharityComms PR Network event hosted by the British Heart Foundation – you can view the slides on their event page.

It was interesting to see not only the great range of PR and digital and experiential marketing they employed across the three example campaigns but also the approach that the PR team, and by extension the whole charity, took – monthly campaigns, each centred on specific CVD conditions, all initiated and led by the PR team.

This was born from an idea the PR team had one evening in a local Camden Town pub, to generate their own campaign concepts and move away from the more reactive ‘agency’ role that internal PR teams often play to their ‘client’ teams. In fact, their new Director banned the use of the term ‘client’ as part of the new, more proactive and research-led approach to integrated campaigns.

Agile – an update

Following my presentation on agile working and service delivery at Diabetes UK for the Third Sector Digital Leaders programme last year, Zoe and Dave kindly invited me back to present to the latest cohort a couple of weeks ago; coincidentally during Diabetes Week.

I focused again on our use of Agile methodology to develop our digital Know Your Risk tool, but took the opportunity to update it with new things I’ve learned, as well as more on how we as a charity have adapted to a new (small ‘a’) agile approach to working since we moved to our new central office in Whitechapel in September 2016.

One of the many good things about our new base, apart from it being less expensive than our previous office, is that we have a big ‘town hall’ space with a kitchen, where it’s easier for the whole charity to gather, as well as making it easier to bump into colleagues and have an interesting chat while getting a cup of coffee.

The wider world of Agile

Just before my latest presentation I bumped into my colleague Richard from the database team who had just been to a useful presentation from Tom Gilb – his key takeaway was to take an approach to requirements definition that kept refining to remove any ambiguity – to really hone each one down to a basic, clear, universally understood definition.

I also followed on Twitter an excellent workshop session on Agile from Econsultancy, serendipitously the day before my own session. One highlight was the use of the term ‘Wagile’ to refer to organisations who end up with a kind of hybrid of Waterfall and Agile project management, which might sound bad to purists but could just reflect the fact that not every organisation can take a textbook Agile approach.

I was interested to see a new JustGiving blog post from Zoe about Agile, sparked by a report into money wasted by ineffective Agile projects possibly turning the tide of opinion against the methodology. Zoe and her contributors really got to the heart of the new and more nuanced approach needed to get the best from Agile, especially if you can’t take a textbook approach – you might never expect to get your whole organisation working in a ‘pure’ Agile way but you can, as I’ve mentioned before, at least cherrypick the best elements and underpin it with a more ‘agile’ mindset.

Zoe also wrote a nice summary of some of the highlights of the latest cohort on her own blog – it was good to see that the people on the programme felt that my experience of introducing ‘agile by stealth’ could be something that could work for them too. As long as everyone appreciates it’s in the ‘subtle’ rather than ‘sneaky’ sense of the word! 🙂

 

 

IoF & Facebook Social Good Summit – London, 2 June 2017

This free one-day conference at Facebook’s office in London last Friday, run in association with the Institute of Fundraising, was a chance for charities to learn more about how to make the most of both Facebook and Instagram for their charities and communities – I was especially keen to hear about Instagram, as I have long been a fan and feel that charities could make more of this social network, while realising that it comes with some limitations.

I’ve Storified the event highlights here.

Of course, the past few months, and especially the past few days, have been overshadowed by horrific terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. While there are different schools of thought on how much the big tech and social media companies can or should do in the fight to prevent these atrocities, the defiant response, including bravery, hope, love, generosity and even humour, has been woven together and strengthened with the help of social media and digital tools such as JustGiving.

Social network users were able to alert people to what was happening, often faster than official breaking news sources (but obviously with the occasional confusion or misinformation that can come from that) – and social media, especially Facebook’s Safety Check tool, could help in the aftermath of the attacks, allowing users to announce if they’re safe and reassure friends and family… as well as allowing everyone to remember and honour the victims, fundraise to support people affected, and be part of defiantly carrying on with their own lives.

Safety Alert was originally developed as a response to natural disasters but in recent years has been used in response to terrorist attacks.

Early on in Friday’s event there was an unexpected moment of levity around this serious feature, when an automated safety announcement at Facebook’s London HQ interrupted the speaker just as he was talking about Safety Check… and as the announcements continued, despite them being introduced as a drill, there was a mounting communal sense of “Should we evacuate…?” – and with almost comic timing there was a pause before a final recording announcing the end of the drill, when the collective sigh of relief was as audible as the nervous laughter at what had just happened.

Of course, we couldn’t have known just how soon the feature would tragically be needed again, with the horrendous attack in London the following night, bringing it all the more close to home.

Here’s an interesting piece on what Facebook does with Safety Check data, and some more background info on the tool and how it has (and hasn’t) been deployed.

The Charity Digital Toolkit

Despite great progress made in the past 10 years or more, digital skills and strategy are still in short supply in the voluntary sector. To help to address this (and following her report on the state and implications of this shortfall last month), Zoe Amar and the Skills Platform have put together the Charity Digital Toolkit:

Building on the success of The Charity Social Media Toolkit, we decided to take a similar approach in giving charities a grounding in fundamentals by sharing expert advice, inspirational case studies and tips and tricks, but we wanted to tackle weighty topics, going in-depth where needed and asking big, challenging questions about what it takes to make digital work. We encourage you to use this toolkit to help your charity take the next step in its journey with digital.”

– from the Introduction, Charity Digital Toolkit

Each chapter provides insight from a range of contributors into different areas of digital trends and know-how, and I was happy to contribute a case study about how my charity, Diabetes UK, introduced Agile working in a very pragmatic way, through development projects such as our main website and – the featured case study – our online Know Your Risk test for the risk of Type 2 diabetes:

  • Foreword – from Martha Lane Fox
  • Chapter 1: What is digital? – from Zoe Amar
  • Chapter 2: Digital leadership – from Louise Macdonald and Simon Hopkins
  • Chapter 3: Digital audience and strategy – from Katie Taylor and Zoe Amar
  • Chapter 4: Digital channels – from Mandy Johnson, Donna Moore, Dave Evans and Jarrah Hemmant
  • Chapter 5: Measuring success – from Clare Bamberger and Matt Collins
  • Chapter 6: Digital fundraising – from Steve Armstrong
  • Chapter 7: Digital governance and risk – from Brian Shortern and Sarah Atkinson
  • Chapter 8: Digital service delivery – from me
  • Chapter 9: Digital behaviour and the future – from Beth Kanter and Paul de Gregorio
  • Chapter 10: Digital skills development – from Jo Wolfe.

The more I reflect on our online Know Your Risk project and our Agile approach to delivering this service through digital, the more I can see that the best way to achieve the digital skills that lead to digital transformation or maturity, and a more effective voluntary sector, is through doing – taking a hands-on approach and involving people across teams throughout your projects and activities.

I would love to hear any thoughts you have on this, or what you’ve tried that has or hasn’t worked, in any area of digital skills for non-profits.

Digital transformation for the charity sector; Manifesto event, 9 March 2017

One of the many good things about the charity digital world is how open people are to sharing their thoughts and experiences, often in the form of free events and presentations. One of the agencies we at Diabetes UK work with, Manifesto, runs events like these from time to time and their most recent one a couple of weeks ago was especially good.

The theme was ‘digital transformation for the charity sector’ and we heard from: Jo Wolfe, Assistant Director, Digital at Breast Cancer Care; Pat Shone, Technology Director at Manifesto; and Julie Dodd, Director of Digital Transformation & Communication at Parkinson’s UK, and author of The New Reality. Here are some of my key takeaways from what they told us.

Jo Wolfe

Maturity index
Have to measure and benchmark in the different areas. RAG not enough. Then set targets in those areas to help set strategy and plans and resources.
MSF blew her away. Team really mature. Poss because same stable team for six years

Pat Shone

Radar
– model, four phases of devt
– could look at for review and retirement too
– stat eval, weighting important
Try before you buy?

Julie Dodd

New reality
100+ days of putting theory into practice
Scale of dying out -> embracing
P not halfway to e yet but made big steps by creating her role and directorate
SMT have a WhatsApp group
Good to make people excited and a little uncomfortable
6 areas of focus – tech funding culture?? And…??
Very much both internal and external transformation – not sure I’ve seen as much/equal focus on ext in my own or other charities
Came up with a statement on what DT is for P
Longer and shorter versions
Talk about it over and over
Make it more interesting for diff audiences – diff formats, e.g. Video for trustees.
Bring in external speakers, lunch and learn etc
Digital competencies – 3? Levels – everyone has to be up to level 1 by end of this year.
Make it visible by making visual, e.g. Screen in reception, simple hack to show sessions graph, top search terms and pages visited
Things still move slowly – budget cycles
Less need to focus on digital comms, most have got a grip on that. Look more at supporting new tech, e.g. New apps devices sites – open but with critical eye, need a framework before recommending any
Digital strategy/electricity strategy
Umbrella room – again visual, prompts questions just by being there – really need to get our digital testing room in shape, whiteboard paint? Proper screens, camera and lighting.
ICO clampdown and new regs – see as an opportunity and a good thing. If we can weather the dip then it will force us to think more about our comms with supporters – more based on what they want, where we ask for data because we’ll make good use of it, promise to keep it safe. Better retention strategy. Before, we just lost people to churn.