Saturday Night Takeaway is on and, my God, is that Steps? Before my brain seeps out of my ear, a quick post about something I am involved with planning.

When I came back to work in Leeds, at the NHS, last summer I was keen to see if the the NHS’s design community was talking, both within itself and to the wider world. It was sort of was and it wasn’t. Getting the NHS design community talking was pretty easy. Book a room and a time and tell as many designers as possible. And we get to update the cross-government designers on how we’re getting on at every cross-gov design meetings. Thumbs up emoji here.

In and around Leeds there’s also some great public design work going on. Off the top of my head, Ben Holliday leads a great design team at DWP, and they have a strong presence in Leeds. There’s some good work at Leeds council and Bradford council. (I have written about the work at Bradford council before.) HMRC are doing stuff down the road from where I live in Shipley. There’s a lotta good stuff coming out of ODI Leeds. There is a lot more than those examples. I could go on, easily.

Since I have been back in Leeds setting up an “intra city” design meet has been on my to do list. There have even been tentative emails to see if something was possible. I just haven’t got round to that.

So two things have happened in the past month or so:

Firstly, in London the Gov Design meets have been kicking off. Their wider takes on design and “gov” is the sort of mix we have in Leeds, and should shine the light on more.

And over the past few weeks this meet-up idea has popped up in chats with people.

So, we’re going to get a “Public Design WY” thing going. We’re going to start small to test the idea and see where we go for the first couple.

Like a lot of the stuff I’ve helped run in the past it’ll be more DIY than professional.

It’ll be free to get in. We won’t go looking for sponsorship. You’ll probably have to pay for or bring your own drinks. But we’ll sort the space and make sure there’s a good programme for you to get stuck into. Content first, yeah? It’ll definitely be after work. It won’t finish too late either. And there are already a couple of talkers in mind.

In a week’s time we’ll have sorted somewhere to have this and who’ll be “leading from the front”. (We’re open to talks as much as workshops, so whatever – just no pitching, please.)

It – a get-together about design in the public sector in West Yorkshire – will hopefully be happening around Wednesday 29 March (we are aiming for that day - there might be a little wiggle room due to availability of people and places). That is it for now.

Update: Due to all sorts of reasons we will be doing this around the end of April/early May now. Sorry.

If you’re interested in leading from the front or just coming along, there is a Meetup page set up for you to follow already and a holding event page. And feel free to get in touch. My details are here. I’ll be updating with more info within the next week.


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