reading

The formidable Glenda Jackson

I've not read many biographies but when I finished this one I wanted to start reading it all over again immediately. Reading is something I'm giving priority right now - after years of talking about it I'm finally doing it. This book shares Glenda Jackson's astonishing journey from Boots shop assistant to double-Oscar-winning actress with a triumphant stage career, and her re-invention of herself as a politician.

"Professionals and public alike find it difficult to agree on Glenda Jackson the woman, but about one thing there is no doubt: she is an extraordinary actress of extraordinary talent and versatility, one of the greatest living stars of stage and screen. The portrait that emerges is one of a woman who, against all the odds, remains uniquely and irrepressibly herself."

I took so much from Glenda's views on work, love, sex, feminism, motherhood and democracy. Something that came up time and time again was her work ethic, notorious bull-shit detector and her aversion of pretension. Amen to that. Despite her success she was always driven to be useful to society and use her acting skills to do good, she talks about always feeling there is more to be done and more she could do. I find her transition from acting to politics fascinating. Glenda says theatre is about telling the truth and what it is to be a human being and this is the direct link she sees with politics.

"If she'd gone into politics she'd have been Prime Minister, if she'd gone into crime she'd be Jack the Ripper"

1403325737-1545426771

Glenda-Jackson

 

"In 1964 she became a star of the theatre playing the insane, sexually tormented Charlotte Corday in Peter Brook's The Marat/Sade. She went on to portray sexually aggressive women for Ken Russell, and gained a reputation for taking her clothes off -- an image deeply at odds with her puritanical private life. With Oscars for Women in Love and A Touch of Class, her biggest box-office hit, Glenda Jackson established herself as the darling of the film industry -- she is reputedly one of Britain's top 200 richest women. Subsequently, she worked in films of intermittent quality, and became increasingly difficult to work with. By the 1980s she appeared almost exclusively on the stage, reinforcing her reputation as a supremely intelligent actress. But she became unhappy with the ephemeral nature of acting, and increasingly involved in left-wing politics. It took precision engineering to convince the Hampstead and Highgate Labour Party that she was more than a celebrity actress. She won through, and rose to become Junior Minister for Transport under Tony Blair. As actress or MP, Glenda Jackson continues to intrigue the public, and in her appearances there shines through a contradictory, sultry and evasive woman."

She is extraordinary yet so ordinary at the same time. Inspiring. Thank you David.

"If I'm too strong for some people that's their problem"

The formidable Glenda Jackson

I've not read many biographies but when I finished this one I wanted to start reading it all over again immediately. Reading is something I'm giving priority right now - after years of talking about it I'm finally doing it. This book shares Glenda Jackson's astonishing journey from Boots shop assistant to double-Oscar-winning actress with a triumphant stage career, and her re-invention of herself as a politician.

"Professionals and public alike find it difficult to agree on Glenda Jackson the woman, but about one thing there is no doubt: she is an extraordinary actress of extraordinary talent and versatility, one of the greatest living stars of stage and screen. The portrait that emerges is one of a woman who, against all the odds, remains uniquely and irrepressibly herself."

I took so much from Glenda's views on work, love, sex, feminism, motherhood and democracy. Something that came up time and time again was her work ethic, notorious bull-shit detector and her aversion of pretension. Amen to that. Despite her success she was always driven to be useful to society and use her acting skills to do good, she talks about always feeling there is more to be done and more she could do. I find her transition from acting to politics fascinating. Glenda says theatre is about telling the truth and what it is to be a human being and this is the direct link she sees with politics.

"If she'd gone into politics she'd have been Prime Minister, if she'd gone into crime she'd be Jack the Ripper"

1403325737-1545426771

Glenda-Jackson

 

"In 1964 she became a star of the theatre playing the insane, sexually tormented Charlotte Corday in Peter Brook's The Marat/Sade. She went on to portray sexually aggressive women for Ken Russell, and gained a reputation for taking her clothes off -- an image deeply at odds with her puritanical private life. With Oscars for Women in Love and A Touch of Class, her biggest box-office hit, Glenda Jackson established herself as the darling of the film industry -- she is reputedly one of Britain's top 200 richest women. Subsequently, she worked in films of intermittent quality, and became increasingly difficult to work with. By the 1980s she appeared almost exclusively on the stage, reinforcing her reputation as a supremely intelligent actress. But she became unhappy with the ephemeral nature of acting, and increasingly involved in left-wing politics. It took precision engineering to convince the Hampstead and Highgate Labour Party that she was more than a celebrity actress. She won through, and rose to become Junior Minister for Transport under Tony Blair. As actress or MP, Glenda Jackson continues to intrigue the public, and in her appearances there shines through a contradictory, sultry and evasive woman."

She is extraordinary yet so ordinary at the same time. Inspiring. Thank you David.

"If I'm too strong for some people that's their problem"

Delivering Public Services That work

A little bird told me there has been a interesting follow up to John Seddon's book 'Systems Thining in the Public Sector' which is being described as 'proof of the pudding' Delivering Public Services that Work is a book of Case Studies showing how Systems Thinking has been applied to a particular public service in six local authorities. Each case study – written by the manager or project leader responsible – describes what was done, how it was done and the results achieved.

'Someone rang me just to thank me this morning. They didn't want anything. They just wanted to thank me. I've worked here for 8 years and that's never happened before. I was so surprised I didn't know what to say.' Team member, Stroud District Council, quoted in Delivering Public Services that Work

Seddon's prescription then and now (for the UK and for any other country using the quasi free market model for public services) is this:

  • scrap the myth of 'choice' (because the public don't want a choice of hospitals, they want a good hospital)
  • scrap targets (because they don't work and people spend their time trying to massage the statistics)
  • scrap specifications (because they're wrong and they don't work)
  • scrap inspections (because they're expensive to do and to prepare for and they only serve to ensure that people are doing the wrong thing correctly – meeting bad specifications)
  • scrap 'deliverology' (because it's nonsense)
  • scrap the obsession with sharing administrative and back-office services in huge call centres and 'data warehouses' (because they don't work half as well as front offices where people talk to the public)
  • scrap the Audit Commission (because it's a white elephant)
  • scrap the centralised regime that oversees the disastrous public sector (because it is the problem)

Then use systems thinking to understand and fix problems and deliver joined-up public services that ...

  • work better
  • work faster
  • save money
  • delight the public and
  • delight the people who deliver those services.

This book offers practical examples of how 'systems thinking' can both save money and transform services.

"There is currently a lot of talk of 'designing services around customers', of 'better community engagement', and of 'innovation in the front line'; all laudable ideas but with little more than hope that they will produce improvements in services.  This book showcases exactly how to go about realising those hopes; it lays out clearly the method to be adopted and demonstrates the results that can be achieved. It should be the first thing anyone aspiring to improve our public services should read." Andy Nutter, Director of Governance and Transformation, Islington Council

joe heapy puts pen to paper

A new service design publication is on it's way next summer... Service Design: A design for new challenges written by Joe Heapy, co-founder and director of Engine. I met Joe at  Service Design Drinks in February, he recently collaborated with Demos to research and publish, The Journey to the Interface, a pamphlet setting out the role of user-centred approaches to service design in the public sector. Picture 22

"In Service Design, Joe Heapy looks at the ways people use services, the ways innovative organisations across sectors are now looking to develop the services we use; and the new needs that they've created for us. The author identifies the reasons why organisations need to adopt new methods to develop their understanding of how services work and how to go about designing really good ones; and the importance of designing services with and not just for people.

Service Design outlines Engine's approach to innovating and designing services and that of other design and non-design organisations. The author identifies trends in the design of services and the big issues and opportunities that are shaping the services that we use."

Thank you to Jeff for discovery!

Graham just reminded me - why is it hundreds of dollars? Very inaccessible...