January 27, 2023


In the spirit of transparency and candour, Kevin and Kelsey publish weeknotes reflecting on the what and why for their team.

Kelsey’s notes

This week was spent in many meetings and briefings. A few highlights and snippets:

Presenting with Kevin on digital leadership at the Natural Resource Sector Leadership Cohort. We shortened the talk down to 2 hours, which felt manageable and something we can tweak and build on for future presentations.

Slide that says ‘Digital is the note same technology or IT,” with pictures of presenting beside it.
Straight talk from Kevin on digital leadership.
A list of highlights and key takeaways from the training.
Feedback from session participants — people seem to like the digital ecosystem map.

Sharing ideas on the role and model of the Service Transformation Branch with Ministry leadership. It was great to put some time into thinking about how our team engages with teams and drives digital leadership within the ministry. Always a work in progress…

Slide of role and model focusing on the spectrum of service from doers to advisors.
Our model is a spectrum of service — the branch often starts as doers and eventually graduate to cheerleaders, advisors and supporters (best case scenario!).
Slide of team structure showing various layers. Three lines stacked on each other with text of discipline leadership at the top, then division leadership and last, staff capacity.
We support service transformation across all levels of the organization.
Slide of team structure, with details on discipline leadership for design.
Key roles on our team help to define what ‘good’ looks like in various disciplines and support ministry staff to achieve that standard.

Kevin’s notes

It was an encouraging week for feeling like we’re building a design practice of substance and influence here at ENV. A few key datapoints for that reflection:

As Kelsey mentioned above, delivering a new two hour format of the digital era leadership curriculum to the Natural Resource Sector’s current leadership cohort (of which I’m part). With folks joining from different ministries, with varying levels of experience with digital era ways of thinking and doing, it can be challenging to situate the content in a place that resonates. Good response, good engagement, I’ll deem it a success. Now to do a slight repackaging for a forthcoming day of divisional team building later this spring.

On Friday I dipped my toes back into academia on the other side of the lectern, speaking about design in the public sector to students in the Corporate Social Innovation program at Royal Roads. I appreciated the opportunity to apply a more critical lens to practice than I normally do within the Overton window of design discourse in the BCPS. For example, on issues of power, invisible superstructures, and the reproduction of hierarchies of subordination.

That said: there is incredible stuff happening in the BCPS design community these days. It’s quite the collection of bright and motivated people openly discussing the big issues we’re confronting through our work, such structuralizing reconciliation practices, trauma-informed approaches, and how to scale design in thoughtful and sustainable ways across the organization. As Martha Edwards said during our recording of the DigitalBC podcast last week, it feels like there’s wind in our sails right now as designers in the BC government.

Sarah, myself, and Ari in the studio. 📷 Martha.

Following the recording session I walked over to to the first meetup of the Design Justice Co-Lab, a Royal BC Museum and University of Victoria Partnership led by Dr. Sarah Wiebe. Aligned with my desire to keep a link into academic conversations about design theory and practice, big thanks to Chris O’Connor at the RBCM for holding this space. Great conversations with a diverse group of attendees, hopefully the first of many to come! I’m keen to keep exploring ideas around epistemic justice, a philosophical framework which approaches epistemology as having both intellectual and ethical dimensions and its implications for transforming research to be more equitable and inclusive through increasingly intentional integration of justice, knowledge, and scholarship [citation]. As well, to further delve into Sasha Costanza-Chock’s theories regarding Design Justice (starting by reading the book — which is available for free online).

It was sound trite, but it’s nice to end a week feeling inspired by your career and that the work you do matters, even when some days you might feel lost inside the machine. In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer — Camus.

The opinions and views expressed in this post are solely the author’s and do not represent those of the Province of British Columbia or any other parties.



Service Transformation @ ENV (BC Gov)

Reflections on process and practice from the Service Transformation team at ENV. Formerly weeknotes (2021-23). ENV.ServiceTransformation@gov.bc.ca