Safe to Fail

I’ve been following Chris Bolton’s What’s the PONT blog since before I started working at the Wales Audit Office’s Good Practice Exchange. Chris has a gift for titles, so when he blogs about Trojan Mice I tend to pay attention.

Trojan Mice are essentially small projects that are safe to fail. One of the main principles of the Good Practice Exchange is that we don’t reinvent the wheel, so there’s no sense in me outlining the whole theory again when Chris’ blogs do a great job here and here.

Last week I looked after the Weekly Blog Club, and with one of Chris’ latest blogs in mind I decided to try and collate the week’s posts a little differently. It struck me that looking after Weekly Blog Club is a great way to try something a little different to what I normally might do.

During the week I went to the Geek Speak event on useful apps. While I was there I got talking to Russell Todd, who works with the Communities First Advice and Support team at Wales Council for Voluntary Action and we talked about Pinterest.

Russell mentioned how he found Andrew Coulson’s boards great, and in turn I suggested following Marilyn Booth on Pinterest, as she pins some great stuff on community engagement.

I’d never used Pinterest before, but I thought that even if I never used it again, I would at least have a better understanding of the platform when I speak to public service organisations about the relevance of social media to their work.

So then this truly was a safe to fail project. It was a success (at least in terms of feedback and time saved, although it took me a bit of time to find how to embed boards, which it turns out is ridiculously easy). The next step is for me to think about how this fits into what we do, and how it can be taken forward. There’s no sense in just adding another social media tool to our arsenal without thinking further about how we’d use it – we need to be strategic and ensure that the tail is not wagging the dog.

We also need to think about how we can add value to the world of Pinterest – there’s no sense in us duplicating what people like Andrew and Marilyn are already doing, especially as I don’t think we could improve on their great work.

I’ve put together a board based on our Energy Management Seminar that shows how it could be useful in collating information from our work. But as a social tool, we also need to think clearly about how we use it to engage and learn from others.

This brings me back to the importance of pushing the boat out whenever we can. A clear message from the Wales Audit Office’s External Stakeholders Seminar was the importance of innovation within public services. There were some great exchanges taking place on Twitter, including below where the Auditor General for Wales outlines how the Wales Audit Office will support that in our work.

Twitter conversation / Trafodaeth ar Twitter


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