Smithing

Not at all sure when/why it began, but at GDS people keep referring to what Russell and I do as ‘wordsmithing’. I’d always assumed it was a sort of knowing put-down, playing on our work-coat wearing, “guvnor” spouting tendencies, but today a new starter did it too and I was left utterly bewildered.

What hole in culture am I missing? Is there some Girls-style show that I don’t watch where it’s a label for one of the characters?

Google Ngram is, as ever, no help, but it does mean I can put a graph here and pretend I’ve done even the most basic of research, while also breaking up all this copy.

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 18.48.17

The reason I’m noticing it is that I’m dissatisfied with the smithing/polishing/process talk about ‘the creative industries’.

I believe, more and more, that the product is the evidence of work. A workshop is not the work. The aesthetics of graft are attractive (I like my work-coat, and I like our crazy-walls), but adopting it without making stuff is just wasteful.

That’s particularly pertinent at GDS as we start showing teams elsewhere how GOV.UK was built. The process has been critical to the speed and success of the team… but for some people the process is so glittery and different that it masks the point of it all, which is delivering things.

(This rant nakedly motivated by anxiety that I’m not making enough things, and by the extra coffee I had this afternoon)

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