Ben Holliday

The roundup. June/July 2018

Everything is busy (again).

I’m surviving on something like 20-30% less sleep at the moment thanks to Zac’s arrival (conservative estimate/and I get to catch up with sleep a bit when traveling for work).

This is a quick update to cover the last couple of months. It’s July now – the great UK weather seems to have broken in the North of England and England are out of the world cup having restored our collective sense of national pride – despite Brexit, and Donald Trump’s UK visit.


I’ve published a few new things since returning to work after paternity leave at the end of May:

  • Teaching the world to sing in harmony (or, why your transformation programme will fail): This blog post came from a talk I gave at a Homes England away day in York shortly after coming back from paternity leave. Thinking about how we deal with change and/or transformation fatigue in teams and organisations.
  • Service mapping and different types of maps: This was new on the leading service design blog (based around work with Kirsty Sinclair at FutureGov) – explaining some of the different types of maps we use in service design and when, and where, to use them.
  • It’s not a redesign: Why we should talk about design rather than framing things as a ‘redesign’. I pick this point up a lot with people at the moment. One of those posts I had to write so I can regularly point back to it.
  • All design is strategic: This post caused a bit more debate. I think it’s an important conversation. Matt Edger summed up the argument very well when he tweeted: “We should resist any one strand of design work taking the name “strategic design”. Partly because the converse is also true: all good design also needs to be tactically aware. Iterative zooming in and out is one thing that sets design apart from other professional approaches”


It’s an incredibly busy time with projects and the continual growth of the company in both size and its ambition to impact the public sector. I’m really pleased to be part of it, but it feels like a time to (as I’ve said before) hold your nerve.

Hopefully good things are always ahead when you work hard on things you care about and with people who feel the same way.

That’s it for now. We’re heading into the school summer holidays and I’m looking forward to our annual family trip away to north Cornwall.

UPDATE: No reading update this time, but I’ve now published my summer 2018 reading list.

This is my blog where I’ve been writing for 18 years. You can follow all of my posts by subscribing to this RSS feed. You can also find me on Bluesky, less frequently now on X (formally Twitter), and on LinkedIn.