We launched the Summer in Hackney map this week. Here’s an ode to why it might already be my summer highlight.
1. It came from nowhere
I first heard of the Summer in Hackney project in its first weeknote. I was surprised and delighted: it’s not often we do something that I haven’t heard of beforehand. So it was liberating to read a weeknote and then see a Show & Tell. That’s why we ask the team to ‘fail in a fortnight’.
2. There was more vision than definition
The project began with a vision for what we could achieve for users, rather than a clear definition of how we’d do this. We need to start more projects with a goal in mind rather than a thing we want to do.
3. It was a team
The GIS team worked with user research, our designer and front-end developer to prototype and build a product. The team worked together, testing and re-using components (including our front-end patterns as well as things like the research pop-up banner).
4. We did our user research
It would be easy to have done the Summer in Hackney map because we thought it was a good idea. We didn’t. The team did user research, together, to find out what users need.
5. It blends tactical and strategic
The team described Summer in Hackney as a side-hustle, which sounds cool but is a bit unfair. It helped us learn about new ways of working and experiment with a different approach to delivering GIS data to users.
6. The team delivered
We shouldn’t take for granted that a piece of work that began in July, delivered whilst it was still summer – and before the peak of summer. But we’ve also delivered a tangible improvement to residents.
7. We’ve created components for re-use
The team did the work in a way that means we’ve learn about a pattern for how to provide maps and developed re-usable components for future maps – reinforcing how this project is a nice tactical intervention providing a strategic opportunity for change.