Crazy Ideas

I’m a big fan of the Simpsons, and recently Sky in the UK have been showing them in order from the first series. It makes you appreciate how long it’s been on but also how good some of the early stuff is. The more recent series have been a little unmeroable, although there is one that sticks out.

This is the episode where Elon Musk visits Springfield and automates the Nuclear Power plant. However my favourite part of this episode is that Homer becomes his Muse and his ramblings or homerisms in a car journey trigger inspiration.

This got me thinking what crazy ideas I could come up with that could be real products.

Window wipers that refill from rain water, why do they always run out of water at the wrong time.

Artificial intelligence that knows I don’t want to hear Christmas songs when shuffle is on music in the middle of summer, or in fact any time other than December!!

A toaster that can charge your tablet or phone via wireless charging, must pop when charged. Imagine placing your device in that slot. (This probably would t be that hard with a wireless charger and the heating ripped out of a toaster)

Pac Man Design

I was Listening to a podcast recently (App Stories) and the topic was game design and the different approaches. One game they were discussing was Pac-Man.

The point being that Pac-Man is so simple it doesn’t tell you how to play the game, you learn this as you play. You may choose to eat all the pills or not. You may choose to eat a ghost but will learn you can’t do this h TIL you have eaten a giant pill.

The point being that the game is designed so simply that you learn as you play. There is no need for manuals, documents, or tour guides. It is what it is!

It’s struck a chord with me and has made me think we all should consider this when creating systems and processes and take the Pac-Man approach.

Data Accuracy

One of the big challenges that we have faced with the Service Now project has been the data within the system. Due to the way that it has been setup there is no accurate single source of information.

Normally you would pull the data in from somewhere like Active Directoy, however while this has been done it’s not the only data within the system.

We had a situation where due to data errors we had 6 variations of one site address, where no one had tides up the data. Initially the thought was to do a data cleanse post project but it became apparent this couldn’t wait as it was going to affect the quality of the product we would deliver.

So a day was spent correcting typing mistakes, removing sites and correcting issues in AD. It’s not perfect as there is some further tidying up but this will require effort from other business areas.

What I am working on currently

So the idea of starting this site as well as to be a stream of consciousness, is also to share some of the projects I am involved in, things I create either myself or through the day job.

It occurred to me today that I am currently leading on a major relaunch of our ITSM toolset (ServiceNow) and it would be an interesting thing to talk about on here.

When I joined my current employer in October 2017 there was already a project underway to relaunch Service Now internally. For what is a powerful but expensive toolset it was under used internally. It was outdated and badly maintained, but also not just used by IT with HR, Facilities and Finance also using it. This brings some complexity and increases the difficulty of moving to a new toolset.

When I joined my employer I was tasked with looking at how we could improve the onboard processor new starters. When a new person joined they would have to wait for equipment, multiple requests would be made for access to systems and all of this took time and affected engagement. A new starter raised around 13 requests when they joined. By looking at the requests and the process we found we could reduce this and control the requests through workflow design in Service Now. It was at this point that I started to become more involved in the design process and the project.