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Digital Mulling, Marketing & Projects

Seeking health information on Google

Unless your settings are a little off and you are currently making use of Google.com, then this change will have passed you by.

When you do a Google search on Google.com for health related queries, you will likely be presented a unique knowledge graph result right there on the page.

Search for breast cancer on Google.com

Giving you information on symptoms, treatments and commonality - it really is everything you would expect from a quick introduction to a condition.

The mobile design sees the information presented above the results, whereas tablet / desktop is on the right.

Where does this come from? Surely it cannot be a pure algorithmic approach to discovering, understanding and presenting information on health back to users?

We use a combination of algorithms and medical professionals to create this medical information. First, our algorithms find and analyze health-related information from high-quality sites across the web. Then, teams of doctors carefully review and refine the information and licensed medical illustrators create the visuals.

Interesting. Depending upon whether you are in the public or private sector, your view on this might differ massively.

Find out more about health results on Google.

Starting a journey towards better collaboration

Changing the way you work is tough, as is changing Government.

We began back in 2013 with an ambitious aim of changing the way Government works, but I gave little regard to the I worked prior to arrival and what this would mean. Coming from a waterfall background and having a passion for all things ‘agile’ - I found adopting a new you isn’t easy. It’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it.

We have been through various efforts to reshape how we deliver and collaborate with each other over the last year. There have been highs and lows but one thing is clear - without passionate, motivated people the possible becomes impossible.

Responsive.org is a community of people with a mission and a passion to do things differently.

Reading their manifesto is a refreshing experience.

“..most organizations still rely on a way of working designed over 100 years ago for the challenges and opportunities of the industrial age”

I chose to put pen to paper in a personal capacity to begin to move towards their manifesto principles. I feel this has the potential to benefit me and the people around me.

Principles

  • People over profit
  • Empowering over controlling
  • Emergence over planning
  • Networks over hierarchies
  • Adaptivity over efficiency
  • Transparency over privacy

Interested? Read the manifesto over on the responsive.org website. Recommended reading includes The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age (my copy is on the way).

I’ll let you know how it goes.

What next for digital transformation

I was delighted to be asked by DigitasLBi to present on digital transformation within Scottish Government.

Given three busy weeks, I quickly put together some slides about the efforts to create a passionate digital team in Government. A team is tasked with helping organisations transform the way public services are delivered in Scotland.

Talk: The needs of users, their journeys and transforming public services

This dual served as the perfect opportunity to listen to some great speakers. Topics included digital trends (Digitas LBi), organisational transformation and change (Standard Life), innovation in media (STV) and tips on optimising app store games for maximum downloads (Channel 4).

Speakers included:

  • John Monks, Head of Digital Business Design, DigitasLBi
  • Mary Harper, Head of Customer and Digital Marketing, Standard Life
  • David Milne, Head of Digital Publishing, STV
  • Colin Macdonald, Commissioning Editor for Games, Channel 4

Given three busy weeks, I rushed together a couple of slides about our efforts over the last eight months to introduce a passionate digital team to Government. This team, as a collective, tasked with helping organisations transform the way public services are delivered in Scotland.

There is also a summary of the talks available via the Eden Scott blog - definitely worth a look

Saying hello to Jekyll

Goodbye WordPress. It's been great working with you! Hello Jekyll. Jekyll is a static site generator, an open-source tool for creating simple yet powerful websites of all shapes and sizes. To quote the project's readme:

Jekyll is a simple, blog aware, static site generator. It takes a template directory [...] and spits out a complete, static website suitable for serving with Apache or your favorite web server. This is also the engine behind GitHub Pages, which you can use to host your project’s page or blog right here from GitHub.

GitHub you say? Sounds good to me.

So, we're now up and running on GitHub, with Poole as the template of choice for Jekyll.

Migrating from WordPress is a breeze when you make use of some of the useful apps out there for doing exactly that. Interested? There is a great post from leon Paternoster that explains all.

However, if you are less code savvy - there is a great windows app that does it in a flash wpXml2Jekyll - pick it up on GitHub.

Revisiting an old favourite called URLs

When we embarked on our most recent public sector project, there was a big focus on shifting mindsets towards agile practices and away from traditional approaches to product and software development. I blogged briefly about this personal switch to agile back in February.

So, where are we now? We are approaching our first alpha release, we have begun sharing some early thoughts over on inside.mygov.scot we are on twitter and continue to code like crazy.

As part of our hub and spoke model to content contribution within the team, I went back to an old favourite - URLs.

You can read more over on the mygov.scot blog.

The blog is filling out nicely with content from a wide range of people within our teams - including a post on user research by Paul.

I'm also leading on the release of material supporting people in the delivery of digital public services. You can find this under standards and guidelines.