Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2015
What have you been doing these past few months, Claire?
I have been very focussed on my secondment with Martha Lane Fox at Doteveryone, a new public organisation to make Britain brilliant in the network age. I have been working with her on her recommendations for the National Information Board on people’s take up in digital health and new technologies. It is a fantastic learning experience as it is a new start-up led by a visionary and inspiring woman. At times, it has taken me out of my comfort zone, which has been good for me. Big learning points are:
- Be bold – As an introvert, something I am having some training around shortly, I don’t think boldness, or certainly overt boldness comes naturally. I have seen boldness in action – used to really convey a vision for how things can be different, and truly transformative, in a passionate and engaging way. Great.
- Be crisp – Having worked in policy for a number of years, I think I was well accustomed to writing documents on lots of pages. It has been a real learning curve to try and condense language into something that is crisp and clear, and brief. A work in progress!
- Be emotive – Amazing. Brilliant. Massive. Huge. Transformative. So many people, particularly in policy environments, completely avoid these words. It is really refreshing to work in an environment where these emotive and positive words are not only valued but are also seen as critical to conveying a sense of vision and purpose. I love it!
- Just do it! – I’ve learned a lot about agile project management and the need to get on and do things, iteratively. In the past I have worked in environments where I and others have become paralysed due to over analysis, over thinking and bureaucracy. To notice this, and call it, is key to addressing it and making things actually happen. Know what you want to do and why, and then do it.
- Don’t be afraid to fail – I never realised how afraid of failure I was until I started this secondment and it has taken me a while to verbalise it. But coming into an environment where the numbers of failures you have had in the past is almost a mark of success is very refreshing. You can’t learn without sometimes failing, and you can’t fail, or succeed, without trying new things and being bold.
- Don’t ignore things that feel difficult, face them head on – It has amazed me how little I had ever thought about the transformative potential of digital health and new technologies, and how easy it is to shut down possibilities by labelling something or yourself in a certain way. For example, ’I’m a technophobe’, or ‘I’m an introvert’, or ‘it is too hard’. I am hoping that I will be a bit more conscious in the future of not shutting down possibilities that could generate amazing returns.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Balancing my life - I know this is what everyone says, but it is true. Being a parent is great for many reasons, aside from the love and laughter, it really develops skills like multi-tasking. But it also brings a greater imperative to be better at balancing your life than ever before. Clore Social has given me some of the space I needed for reflection but that takes time too.
In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
I think this is still a work in progress but I feel more confident internally, and less childlike, so that is a start – and good progress as I inch towards the big 40! I think I am much clearer about what I am good at, and what I am not good at and how I, ultimately, can contribute to have more impact. I have learned huge amounts about the value of coaching, action learning and training generally – which to be frank – I don’t think I understood before. They are hugely powerful tools which I hope to employ in the future to support others better when I return to the workplace after the Fellowship.
Tell us about an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship programme.
Sometimes it is not only OK to say no but a very good thing, for everyone.
Current principal role: Advisor (Full-time Fellow)
Research: If there were to be dedicated provision of end of life care for homeless or insecurely housed people, what would it need to be?
Secondment host: Dot Everyone