For the last four years GDS has put on Sprint, a gathering of digital transformation folk from across government. Sprint 16 was yesterday.

The first one, in 2013, was a semi-improvised scramble to make the best of a snowy QE2 centre; excellent fun and really exhausting.

This year was slicker and more professional than pretty much any conference I’ve ever been to. We gave the demos and show and tells space to breathe, and helped people who know how to transform government share what they’ve learned.

Sprint demands the best of everyone in the creative team. For me, that means helping people tell stories. Helping write and delete and rehearse and improve talks every day for the last couple of weeks. Helping people decide what they want to say – occasionally deciding for them – and making it all as clear as possible. I really like that work. I’m very good at it.


Here’s a thing though…

When I see someone give a talk I’ve helped write, I get the same flood of adrenaline and performance anxiety that I get when I give talks myself. The difference is I don’t get the resolution that comes from actually performing the thing.

Yesterday I felt like my guts were in knots for about five hours, and I didn’t really sleep after. It’s exhausting. Also, worth it; when you help someone find their voice and watch them carry the note it’s an incredible feeling.


Mostly though I’m typing this so that, in public, I can say ‘Thanks GDS Creative – you’re the best team I’ve ever worked with’.

First image nicked from Giles. Second one nicked from Daz.