Co-design day, @LandRegGov and wise Muppets

I enjoyed another well organised Local-Central co-design day on Friday. It always strikes me that there are lots of talented, passionate folk in local and central government with different priorities. Some of these were displayed in the ‘product in a box ‘ tasks which were worked on by four groups. I’ll summarise these with some commentary:

 ‘Pub Hub’- pitched as a for local government workers to find  skills, knowledge etc.– which may or may not be the actual name.  Simultaneously seems to provide a solution to a problem we all recognise- the need to share good practice, research and skills more effectively without really hitting home the key problem- how do you get the best audience you can? How do you make this an essential website? Is there another industry which has solved this particular issue?

Localo, perhaps not Binfo (a name not just taken but trademarked by South Oxford) has been in progress since LocalGovCamp in June. Technically it is very good with Trello boards, its own snapchat account and a Pipeline log. I’m sceptical of the idea of an app just for bin issues but the wider exercise is gathering standards so that work can be reused and recycled (Ben, you can use that line :)

My project was with the Land Registry, and we proposed ‘Search Lite’- a product that aims to reduce the £1m a year local authorities spend for access to land registry data by making key information such as the land owner and the edition of the register cheaper. I enjoyed working with the land registry’s refreshing approach to a product that will essentially reduce their income but benefit UKplc. The key task for this project is defining what the demand is and how big it is.

The last project was a health API aggregator which looked to make headway into the potential savings within the health system. As I tweeted, health is going to be a huge issue in the foreseeable future and at the moment it is wearable device-lead or 20th century NHS-lead. Somewhere personalised, data-driven health projects will emerge.


When I got home I enjoyed an episode of Muppet-based kids show The Furchester Hotel . In this week's episode, tortoises stay at the hotel and say that the service is slow. Hearing criticism Elmo and pals get roller skates for them and all the guests to speed up the place. The tortoises want to check out: now the hotel is too fast.

 “But you said it was slow, slow, slow?” “Yes, that’s how we like it.”

The moral of the story is that time is taken to solve problems that aren’t really understood can result in a worse outcome for all involved. Wise muppets. Research and data is vital.

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