This isn't working. Can we talk about that?

    Thankfully, there’s no-one calling me back into the office. But this post is about people who are being recalled — as well as those working in sub-optimal remote settings.

    This post suggests that the phrase “this isn’t working” should be viewed as an invitation for dialogue rather than a threat, arguing that open communication is crucial for things inadequate in the workplace.

    The Future of Work conversation is full of rejected gifts. We've seen bosses throw "this isn't working" back in employees' faces as "entitlement." As "millennials." As "no one wants to work anymore." We've seen employees throw it back in their CEO's face, too, as "outdated." Or "boomers." Or "something something commercial real estate." As far as we can tell, that point-scoring hasn't gotten us any closer to the future we're all trying to build.

    We know that everyone’s sick of constantly redesigning the rules of work. There’s this revisionist nostalgia for, in some quarters, 2019. And in others, 2021. We know that some of you have built systems here in 2023 that are working for you, and you would like them to please just stay put for a goddamned minute. We get that. But when someone tells you that those systems aren’t working for them, shouting them down won’t give you the peace and quiet you want.


    By all means, read what other orgs are doing. Maybe there are things you can learn from what Apple does, or Google, or Smuckers. But there’s no shortcut around the conversation. Every sales person, fundraiser, marketer, product leader, and designer will tell you the same thing. You have to talk to people to know if you’re actually reaching them. To know if any of your solutions actually solve the problem.

    Source: Sorry I’m getting kicked out of this room | Raw Signal Group

    Moral needs and user needs

    That products should be ‘user-focused’ goes without queustion these days. At least by everyone apart from Cassie Robinson, who writes:

    This has been sitting uncomfortably with me for a while now. In part that’s because when anything becomes a bit of a dogma I question it, but it’s also because I couldn’t quite marry the mantra to my own personal experiences.

    Sometimes, there's more than user stories and 'jobs to be done':
    For example, if we are designing the new digital justice system using success measures based on how efficiently the user can complete the thing they are trying to do rather than on whether they actually receive justice, what’s at risk there? And if we prioritise that over time, are we in some way eroding the collective awareness of what “good” justice as an outcome looks like?
    She makes a good point. Robinson suggests that we consider 'moral needs' as well as 'user needs':

    Designing and iterating services based on current user needs and behaviours means that they are never being designed for who isn’t there. Whose voice isn’t in the data? And how will the new institutions that are needed be created unless we focus more on collective agency and collective needs?

    As I continue my thinking around Project MoodleNet this is definitely something to bear in mind.

    Source: Cassie Robinson