A weeknote, starting Monday 24 April 2023

Paul Moran
3 min readApr 28


A cutting from a basil plant in a small glass of water. Infinite Basil?

It was great to start the week by hosting a call with some of the design leaders across government and talking about a shared intent for driving public design forward. I’m looking forward to exploring this space some more and making a useful contribution.

We held a quarterly planning event for one of our major services. It was great to see the progress we’ve made and plan to make in coming weeks in ways which I could articulate using the Evidence Based Management framework I learned about earlier in the year. I could see how some of our technical delivery will help our ability to innovate and improve our time to market; and I could see where we are exploring areas of unrealised value. It’s possible to see how the language in the framework helps articulate our work in ways that can make technical activity more accessible to people in different decision making forums and other teams. Talking about ability to innovate, time to market and unrealised value can all be related to risk, which is an important factor when discussing business cases and investments.

I’ve also had a second round of covid this week, so in my locked down state I’ve been doing a bit of exploring around behavioural science after seeing the publication of the Manifesto for applying behavioural change by The Behavioural Insights Team. It’s a lengthy read which I’ve started but my addled brain isn’t quite up to fully digesting it.

So I also had a play with the Barrier Identification Tool which uses the COM-B model to help identify barriers to a behaviour you’re trying to change.

Here’s the output from my example looking at the challenge of how much consideration someone entering data into a system gives to accuracy. It’s easy to see some immediate ways that the opportunities identified could be explored.

I then listened to the latest episode of the Inside the Nudge Unit podcast which focused on thinking about systems in the context of behavioural science.

I’m already getting excited about the SDinGOV conference later this year. After the unexpected privilege of being asked to be on the programme review panel I’ve now seen the first reference on LinkedIn from someone who’s had a talk accepted. Can anyone help Martha Edwards with good examples of co-design in government?

A couple of things on product v service thinking as I explored this as a result of ongoing conversations about how services are managed in my organisation:

Another Jesse James Garrett post on navigating design quality in conversation, with Tim Allen — I like the idea of being low-friction for his team to deal with, something I attempt to be for my team — available to get into the messy details when needed. I‘m looking forward to listening to the full podcast episode.

Also on the watch list: How to use service design in government with Lou Downe and Martin Jordan

And finally, Infinite Basil

Watched an instagram video on how to take a cutting from supermarket basil plant, put it in water so it grows roots which you can then plant. Did it with my 11 year old son and now we have an infinite supply of basil*

*assuming it works every time. Wonder how many generations we’ll get from one plant…

PS: I’m now expecting a weeknote Nikola Coleman :-D

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