A Ticket Too Far – Good Things Foundation Conference 2018

Today has been another fantastic day at the Good Things Foundation conference. Year on year I love it more as a day of inspiration and learning.

I have a lot to reflect on both from the day but also, interestingly, on how I got here in the first place.

My journey to London was on Virgin trains. I bought my ticket on trainline, mainly because the virgin app kept telling me I had my password wrong. I selected an E ticket (I think) and was emailed my tickets and downloaded it to Wallet on my iPhone. It was a simple and cost-effective process.

BUT, when I got to the station I went to activate my ticket as I have done previously. There was no activation option, so I reverted to old school talking to someone. A virgin staff member told me that I had bought an E ticket not a M ticket. An M ticket is a ticket that appears in your Virgin app that required activating. At this point, I am more lost than being a northern navigating the tube network.

Today we have spoken lots about the importance of user journeys and basic levels off understanding of people using technology. And, I couldn’t help but think aboutmy train ticket that requires training. If I can’t get it, who do we expect those new or cautious to technology to embrace all that online has to offer?

In contrast, last Sunday I applied to renew my passport. For a few weeks I had been dreading having to queue up in post office, getting a photo, finding my police officer neighbour to sign them etc… I was staggered when I finally went onto gov.uk and was able to apply with an uploaded photo in less than ten minutes. The new passport arrived by the Friday, but what was most impressive was that the whole beginning to end process worked. It was more than the form, it was the follow up emails that my old passport had being received and the texts to say my new one was on the way.Technology is so enabling when it works with the user and not against them.

So, bringing this back to today, we have demonstrated that we have a huge level of understanding. In this room we are a cohort of experts, on and off the stage. How can this talent and knowledge be used to influence future progress?

My comments wouldn’t be complete with a reference to money and with a social enterprise hat on, what is the value of being a user expert, or having access to people?

I think I leave today with lots of points, but the main one is how can everyone in this room who are doing fabulous things, influence large tech developers to create fabulous and enabling tools? And, how can those who benefit from our knowledge invest in the communities we spend our lives investing in?

Now that is just the ticket.

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