Weeknotes #7

This week, I returned to work having had 3 weeks’ annual leave (lovely). My working week started on Wednesday, which certainly helped to ease me back in… that wasn’t the primary reason though. Our children’s school had an inset day on Monday and on Tuesday, it was our daughter’s first day of school! So we had to be there for that! A big, big day. I was so proud of her. She took everything in her stride and at the end of the day, she came out bouncing saying that she couldn’t wait to go back tomorrow!

It’s really important for children and young people to have supportive and enabling environments. Environments that enable them to thrive. This is a personal passion of mine. Being a Parent Governor at our children’s school and a Non-Executive Director at the EAS are a couple of the actions that I have taken to help with this. This week, I also completed my Mentor training as part of UpRising’s One Million Mentors programme.

One Million Mentors’ mission is to transform the process of mentoring for all in the UK. They want to train, recruit and connect a million mentors to a million young people in order to increase youth employability, support social action, and help break down social barriers. One Million Mentors is taking place in different locations across the UK, including Cardiff. In Cardiff, the programme is part of the Cardiff Commitment – a pledge to enable all young people in the city to reach their full potential. And I am really pleased to be able to offer my support.

If you’re interested in being involved, please get in touch with Richard Jones.

This week, I also dropped in on another excellent Good Practice Exchange webinar – Future proofing public services. It explored how we can recalibrate and think outside of our sector boundaries to achieve collective long-term change. If we continue to make decisions in the same way we always have, we will never see the change we need. Of course, balancing the short-term, immediate needs of individuals and communities with long-term goals is not easy. It was really interesting to hear (and be part of) the debate.

It was really good to hear Louisa Petchey from Public Health Wales and the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner reiterate the point that long-term is a way of working in the Well-being of Future Generations Act. It’s not just about how you think about the long-term, it’s about what you’re doing about it. This, of course, leads on to the issue of behaviours and culture. It was good to hear reference to Rachel Lilley and Mark Whitehead’s work on behaviour change. Their book, Neuroliberalism: behavioural government in the twenty-first century, just happens to be at the top of my current pile of books!

Long-term planning, and I don’t mean 5 years, I mean 25-30 years, is hard and so few of us have yet to do it. So it’s great that Daniel Davies from Dwr Cymru was on the panel to showcase Welsh Water 2050 – Dwr Cymru’s long-term vision. In it, they explain the eight key challenges and opportunities (trends) that they need to respond to in their long-term planning and set out eighteen strategic responses that they will need to pursue over the coming decades to meet these challenges and take advantage of these opportunities.

I’m particularly interested in how they went about this. Working with Arup and Cardiff University they undertook horizon-scanning to identify significant future trends for their customers and their business, and developed a Resilience Wheel. In this context, resilience encompasses all aspects of their business, including assets, systems, people and governance. The Resilience Wheel forms the basis of the strategic responses identified in Welsh Water 2050 (to find out more, please refer to page 7 of Welsh Water 2050).

It’s great that we have examples like Dwr Cymru’s that we can learn from. Examples that show that we shouldn’t just be making incremental improvements, we should be starting with the long-term, taking account of long-term trends, and thinking and working in a preventative and proactive way. Is anyone aware of any other examples of an organisation who successfully thinks and acts long-term?

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Podcasts that I have listened to:

RSA Events. Lily Cole at Wilderness

RSA Events. How to change your life by changing the world

Reasons to be Cheerful with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd. Empire State of Mind: overhauling the history we teach

Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee. #61 Talking mental health with Matt Haig

Eat Sleep Work Repeat. Mental Health & Emotions – practical ways of fixing work

Eat Sleep Work Repeat. Inside the Liverpool culture of Jurgen Klopp


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