A weeknote, starting Monday 20 March 2023

Paul Moran
3 min readMar 24


| Surprised by a spontaneous conversation about culture

Lots of hands holding up lego figures together in a group circle
Photo by Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

Having written last time about the challenges of context switching I finally bought a copy of Cal Newport’s book ‘Deep Work’ which has been on my list for a long time. I’ve read a big chunk of it and now processing how I can use some of it to help me manage focus.

The absolute highlight of my week only happened this morning during our weekly team meeting. We were talking about work we’ve got underway to develop our attraction strategy as we look to grow the team further. We touched on some of the different things people value in working in the Civil Service but the conversation then took a strong turn into how positively everyone felt about working for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Given the team is a mix of long standing civil servants and some of us who’ve joined recently from the private sector it was just wonderful to hear how much they all valued the mission we have, as well as the way we work. Hearing them talk about this in contrast to other places they’ve worked and recognising the care we try to take of our people and the professional freedom they’ve got to do great work was unexpected because it all came out so spontaneously. It’s made me feel good all day. The challenge is how to make all of that positivity visible to people who might be thinking about a career move and applying for some of our upcoming Service Designer and User Researcher roles.

It was really great to spend time with other Heads of Design from across government on Tuesday. It’s been a while since we had a longer session and we covered some good ground as we reconnected, welcomed some new faces and explored some common challenges. Looking forward to following up on some of the themes we discussed and joining some dots with some of the interesting work going on with User Centred Policy Design.

Really enjoyed spending some time working with someone on design of a workshop session and then supporting them to deliver it. I love the challenge of figuring out how to help guide a group towards a session outcome and choosing the exercises that will neatly flow from one to another and land us where we want to be.

Spent more time working with the group exploring how to join the dots between teams as we aim to enhance our organisational capability for making evidence based decisions. It’s exciting to making progress in this space.

I found the quote I’d been looking for about Service design is 10% design…90% creating the conditions for design to happen I’d been looking for. Thanks Lou Downe :-)

A few interesting things I read this week:

Exploring Service Design – Collections of books to inspire thinking and action in how services are designed and run



Paul Moran

Head of Service Design & User Research @ Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, UK https://linktr.ee/pauljosephmoran