Postbureaucrat

Personal blogging by Steph Gray, founder of Helpful Digital and erstwhile bureaucrat

Featured posts

Day 1

January 21, 2015

I was sorry to see the Science & Innovation minister get the chop. Over the previous few months, we’d done some remarkably creative things: one of the early commentable policy documents, and a properly digital consultation on a White Paper. I’ll admit to being somewhat starstruck by ministers on the whole, so it felt like we’d built up…

Simpler, clearer, fairer

November 25, 2014

I attended the launch of Labour’s Digital Government Review tonight: the culmination of a few days’ fiddling and some heroic web publishing by my colleague Al, helping the Review team get the report online in commentable form. I didn’t have anything to do with the content, but I think there’s some interesting ideas contained within…

The great offices of State

October 6, 2014

I’m something of a closet nerd when it comes to Government buildings. I’ve been in and out of dozens of them for over a decade now: agency-side, at the late-lamented COI and as an assiduous, networking civil servant. I once set up a Flickr group of Creative Commons-licensed images of Whitehall HQs. Above all, I love the fact of the Tudor…

The digital comms planner

September 3, 2014

At Helpful HQ we’re a big fan of tools like the Lean Canvas or our friends Comms2Point0’s Comms Planning tool (PDF). A simple plan on a page or two that sets out what you’re trying to achieve, how you’ll know if you’ll achieve it, and what you’ll do to get there is more useful than a fistful…

Small umbrellas

September 2, 2014

Here’s a conversation that I have quite frequently during training courses when we play Dave Briggs’ evergreen Digital Engagement Game: Me: So, tell me how you’ll implement your plan… Team: Well, we’ll [do creative stuff with social media] and work with our stakeholder group to get the message out to the audience. Me: So, are your…

Doing the right thing right

May 29, 2014

Our office partners, Claremont, have a new motto: Do the right thing right. It’s annoying, because it’s probably what I’d choose if I were choosing a motto for what we do. More than kudos, more than money, more than publicity, the sense of craft in building a really good website or delivering some really useful training for…

Four more years

May 18, 2014

Four years ago, I left the Civil Service and started trading, rather than simply blogging, as Helpful Technology. This time last year, we’d become a team of three, and by this July, we’ll be six strong. A business that started out as some optimistic freelancing has become something that pays people’s mortgages. It’s all got…

On freelancing

April 1, 2014

The giant of local government social media at the coalface, Dan Slee, has gone freelance. I’m not sure why I’ve not written up Dan as one of my digital heroes here before, because he certainly is one. He’s the kind of innovator it’s hard to dismiss – someone with deep journalism and government experience, Zen-like…

What holds people back?

March 6, 2014

What holds people back from using digital tools and techniques at work? Is it that they need someone to tell them what Twitter is for? Or is it that they couldn’t tweet if they wanted to: the system would block it and their boss would look disapproving. Maybe the Press Office runs a tight ship…