How we’re getting better at sharing knowledge within the team

We’ve got a great mix of experience and skills within the digital team. There’s pockets of expertise, from user research and accessibility through to design and content which we can draw on as we work towards building digital services so good, people prefer to use them.

A few weeks ago, we realised we needed to get better at sharing these ‘nuggets’ of expertise with other members of the team. So we put our heads together to work out the best format.

As we all sit in front of screens far too much, it had to be away from our desks. It also had bring us all together, in real life, not just on a slack channel. Finally, we’re all super busy at the moment, so it had to be quick.

Last Monday, we had our inaugural ‘Ten minutes of top tips and a tipple’.

The rules we simple:

  • 3 topics from 3 members of the team
  • 10 minutes per topic
  • 1 pub

Organising the session was simple as well. Three members of the team put forward a topic they wanted to share which I then turned into buzzfeed worthy headlines (too much coffee that afternoon). Booked a date in everyone’s diary and chose a pub*.

*Tip – Check the Wifi or mobile signal in the pub first. I picked one of the oldest public houses in England, which in hindsight, wasn’t the best idea.

Here’s a roundup of the session.

The topics

Facilitating – Helen Gracie

Helen recently went on a 2-day facilitation course (for humans, not cats) and shared with us some of the best tips:

  • Get your group to do the writing, it makes them feel like they own their ideas
  • Encourage your group without asking biased question like ‘was the experience bad?’
  • A good facilitator should get involved as little as possible

Firmstep forms and processes – Becki Boraston

Our very own forms guru Becki guided us through a letter template wizard that she built. Something even Firmstep said couldn’t be done!

Why letters? It’s part of the work we’re doing for the complaints team. If a member of the public writes to use, we’ll write back and the solution Becki has built makes it (look) easy.

You select a header, which is dependent on the department, write the body of the letter, then select who it’s from, along with a signature. This is then automatically generated into a PDF that can be printed off and posted out.

Prototyping – Liam Hawkes

Prototyping is a great way to show users or a service the thing. Something visual they can see or even use, that doesn’t take too much effort on our part.

I gave the team a brief overview of the prototyping tool I use, Invision. This included how to setup a new project, added different screens to a prototype and adding interactions, like making something a button.

Preparation is key

One thing I learnt is, no matter how much you know about a topic, you still need to prepare. Teaching a topic in 10 minutes is harder than it sounds.

Everyone found the session really useful and couldn’t wait to get one, or even two in the diary before Christmas.

We’re always up for a challenge, and the next one is to share these skills and expertise with the rest of the organisation. It’s a much bigger job, but one we’ll start by making the next ‘Ten minutes of top tips and a tipple’ an open invitation to all colleagues.

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