Today I’ve been hearing about the power of stories and thinking about the validation of hearing your story told, or telling someone’s story, especially if it is likely to have a positive impact on someone’s life.
So I’m going to quickly tell my story for this week and like all good stories there’s a twist (well request) at the end!
This week I am the Director of research in practice for adults – we’re a partnership organisation, a charity, local authorities are members in our network for a (very) small annual fee and we support them to use evidence (which we class as research, service user views, practitioner wisdom) in their practice to improve outcomes for people who need support. You can learn more about ripfa on our new blog or our website. This is of course my professional role – my job, not my life – we’ll come back to that.
This week I am also a granddaughter to my fantastically impressive grandparents, who live independently still, getting up in the morning, cooking their own meals and keeping each other company, at the grand old age of 90 and 92. They live next door to my parents and get far more support than they probably realise from them, but it enables them to stay independent, saves the taxpayer a fortune and means that they are a very central part of our family life.
This week I am also a daughter to my parents, Bobby and Sylv. Today while I was at #box10 my mum was at the Stroke Clinic (following a TIA she had just over two years ago) – they’ve signed her off now, fit as a fiddle, so that was great news to come home to. I’m really hopeful things will be as easy on Thursday when my dad gets the results of the PET Scan he had last week to see if his cancer has returned.
This week I am also a friend to my mate Anna and her three year old daughter, Liv. This time last year instead of baking ginger cake for #box10 I was baking wedding cake for Anna and her husband Dan. Sunday would have been their first wedding anniversary, except Dan died in February, so instead on Saturday night Anna, her sister Tracy, Dan’s mum Mary, Anna’s friend Katy and myself will be walking 15k around Swindon to raise funds for Prospect Hospice who cared for Dan in his final weeks.
So this week, as most weeks, my life is a mix of work, family and friends – all competing demands on my time and energy, all things I care very deeply about. I’m guessing it’s the same for lots of the people I come across, I don’t really separate out my work-other life, it’s all intertwined, if I’m honest its probably all the better for it. So this is me, a difficult and emotional week, but also an inspiring and uplifting week.
Here comes the twist though – I could really do with your help. I need just over £100 to reach the target we set ourselves to raise £500 in memory of Dan for the hospice who supported him. I was thinking at #box10 today what a fantastic difference they made to Dan’s life, he fought that tumour for years, with a dignity and stubbornness that defied the odds. His is both a heroic and a tragic story, but one that was eased considerably by the wonderful individuals at Prospect and the care and support they provided for him, his family and us his friends. Please, please, please donate a pound if you can afford to – if my blog stats are half way reliable, if half of you did that this week I’d smash the target. I’d really, really appreciate it. Thank you.
Dan and Libby- May 2009
Thank you for your support. Big thanks to @markbigsw @dalekdoctor @fergusbisset@amcunningham @rufflemuffin @irishandrew @soundgirl64 (x2) @alpew @sarknight @juniorc0@jeanetteleech @hen4 @segelstrom @tomarse99, @juniorc0 @jeanetteleech @redjotter @katiekatetweets @rich_w @niccombe @laurenivory …you too could join this esteemed list of fabulously generous people
So the @FutureGov crew in the shape of @carriebish @dominiccampbell and @laurenivory are over in New York for the Personal Democracy Forum #pdf10. Given the recent streamlining of my twitter stream so that I only follow 109 people, and given how many @futuregov fans there are in my twitterstream, and given everyone’s increased tendency to hit the retweet button, I’ve seen quite a lot of traffic about #pdf10 (and no I’m not complaining – that’s a good thing).
Last night I was observing the conversation and got sucked into a discussion with Carrie, Dom and @AnnePBowers re the language of co-production, co-design, co-operation, co-creation….we tried them all. In a nutshell my argument is that co-production feels to me too mechanical and too top down. I’ve never once suggested to my mates that we co-produce dinner, or co-design a barbecue – they’d just laugh at me and that language alone (besides being vague and a little aloof) to me would just indicate that I needed to take control….a far different co to co-ordinate or co-operate. Anyway I’ll do a fuller blog on language, especially co-production and co-design another time.
For now I wanted to respond to Carrie, who very kindly put together a blog post detailing her first day at #pdf10. There was obviously lots of food for thought coming out of the day but there was one thing in particular I wanted to respond about - Carrie’s thoughts on Eli Pariser‘s talk about personalisation.
(For those of you who are adult social care types this is personalisation in the IT sense, not personalisation as we know it…I’ll comment on that when I do the blogpost on language promised above).
It seems that Eli was talking about how google personalise the data and results that you see when you use their service and just when Carrie was warming up in full agreement, as she expected him to say he wanted to see more of it, he dropped the bombshell, as Carrie puts it “His bonkers argument was that it’s bad that different points of view are filtered out of my web experience and that this ultimately leads to me becoming closed-minded”.
So Carrie doesn’t agree with Eli…I’m not even going to try and paraphrase what she said, it’s here “Then it all went awry. Eli concluded that this means ‘people get more of what they want’ but it’s bad for citizens as it doesn’t challenge us or tell us what we need to know. Bleurgh! So his suggestion is that we should have a less personalised experience so we are forced to see stuff ‘for our own good’. What a ridiculously totalitarian position”.
So let’s place Eli at one end of this continuum and Carrie at the other – he thinks we should see stuff for our own good; Carrie makes an excellent argument that its simply control freakery of the highest order.
I’m really stuck on this….hence the decision to blog about it. It reminds me of my mum who (dependent on her mood admittedly) has a tendency if something too gruesome or sad or shocking comes onto the news to just change channel. If I’m watching with her I’ll challenge that on two levels – 1) because it’s irritating and I’ll no doubt want to hear about it and 2) because I think it’s lulling her into a false sense of security about life! Mean and bad things happen and a lot of the time I feel that we have a sort of moral responsibility to acknowledge these. (Don’t worry I’m well aware that I’m sat firmly in my own cloud cuckoo land here). A different but similar example that also springs to mind was that of Bush’s administration banning the American media from showing photographs of the coffins of service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. When this was overturned it was broadly seen as a win for transparency.
Now I appreciate that Carrie (and Eli) are talking about the search results returned by google and Carrie’s solution is to just give people their own data and let them decide their own experience. You can’t really disagree with Carrie at all on that regard but I guess I’m making a wider call for us to try and remain balanced and not personalise too far – or at least to be aware that you have personalised and to be explicitly transparent about that – so that you know what you are missing; and I guess that is where Eli has a point. If people aren’t aware that they are getting a limited result then how do they know what else is out there? Am thinking that a balance is what is needed….or maybe I just wanted an excuse to use the see-saw photo!!
Photo by tyger_lyllie
I suspect this links to another blog post that is lurking in the depths of the mind around how balanced our experiences of life in the online world really are – but that is definitely for another day. Thanks Carrie, looking forward to reading about day two.