Sometimes having a week off gives you the break you need. Sometimes it gives you a pile of work to catch up with. Sometimes it does both.

Innovation in Democracy

My week started with the Advisory Group for the Innovation in Democracy programme that we’re evaluating for DCMS. It can be challenging to work with an advisory group when you’re a consultant. The members are often individuals who are academic experts, but they’re not your client and they don’t have much context for your brief and remit. So you both respect them but slightly resent the whole experience when they tell you what you should be doing, but you know that the scope of the project means that you can’t. Thankfully, that hasn’t been my experience with this group, who are genuinely engaged and supportive of this project.


What’s dominated the week though, has been governance. That’s been finishing papers and talking to my board in advance of our AGM and meeting next week. It’s been doing planning with the Our Parklife board on future business strategy and some commercial modelling. And it’s been a trustee away day with Young Women’s Trust. It always seems to be the way that trustee or director meetings fall at the same time for me.

There’s not a lot to say about it all, but it’s emotionally and intellectually exhausting to focus on all of the different decisions and business models and strategies. It’s made it a tough week.

Evaluation strategy with Crisis

A really enjoyable part of the week was working with the evaluation team from Crisis on thinking through their role and work. We didn’t talk about evaluation methods all afternoon but instead talked about how an evaluation team fitted into a wider organisational strategy and purpose, how it could complement and influence decision making, how it could serve different audiences (both internal and external), and how it could shift the debates and drive change.

It’s the kind of work that I love. Working with great professionals, talking about the ideas that really interest me, and helping people to think differently.

Reading, listening and watching

I must admit that I haven’t done much of this, this week. But my best friend sent me the Dylan Thomas poem, Notes on the Art of Poetry, and so I’ve been going back to his work this week. He could write a bit, could Dylan.