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Hello everyone, here are some of the things I’ve been reading this month. 

Nicki 

Managing Director ustwo London, Lisbon & Tokyo

👋   Be human

I was on Charles Day’s Fearless podcast and thoroughly enjoyed his very direct questions. Here’s a bit: “I try to bring a level of empathy where I start from a position of knowing that we don't know what anyone's story is in the room. We don't know what pain they're going through or what their journey might have been. [...] That’s relevant to one of ustwo's, where I work, one of the biggest values, which is be human”.
 

🖤   Hope is a discipline

I’ve come to understand that hope is a discipline [...] I started to fight for Black Lives Matter because I am Black and that makes sense. I now fight for the Black Lives Matter movement for Black lives, because I understand that Black liberation is integral to the liberation of all people.”

That’s activist Janaya Future Khan has guest-edited Dazed magazine, an issue dedicated to highlighting the role of conversation, language, and words in the global racial reckoning we're currently experiencing.
 

🚛  🌿   Pandemic boomers

One early feature of lockdown for lots of people - fortunate enough for grocery deliveries at all - was the new online game of slot-booking. In spite of the lockdown boom, grocery deliveries still appear to be loss-leading for supermarkets, but one familiar winner - unbound by supermarket business models - is emerging. In a statement at the beginning of the month, Amazon said grocery delivery continues to be one of its fastest-growing businesses, noting that it’s hired hundreds of new employees to aid in its operations: “We’re thrilled to increase access to grocery delivery.”

Patch Plants have been one of the major success stories of this year, seeing a sales growth of 500% during lockdown as people furnished their indoor jungles. It’s fascinating to see a new digital business manage its corporate and communications strategy so well under these conditions (and no surprise plants and gardening is one of the coping mechanisms that seem to provide real sustenance). 
 

📈 👩‍⚕️   Self-care in the new abnormal

As new measures this week are announced in the UK, the hard truth is there's no return to 'normal'. Lockdowns are temporary but unsustainable long term, because they put everything else on pause along with virus transmission. The most realistic measures until a vaccine materialises all point to better and faster testing and tracing - supported nationally and devolved locally. 

In the meantime, many of us are noticing we’re hitting a 6 month wall - described so well here by Dr Aisha Ahmad. Certain coping strategies, such as wearing masks, and self-care efforts, have been found to offset the pandemic's mental health hits.
 

👩🏾‍💻 🤔   Who we bring to work

The divide between parents and non-parents in the workplace might be growing in some respects and it is certainly being covered widely right now. The challenge for leaders is how to give everyone the support that they need while also making sure there is fairness. There’s some interesting space opening up for thinking about the potential for radical redesign of our cities and our offices

This conversation about bringing your “whole self” to work, or as I prefer to approach it - being authentic - addresses so much of the current merging of self-help and self-care ideology with workplace ethics, in a very thought-provoking way.

And I thought this by Phil Adams, itself a kind of pandemic ballad - was rather beautiful.
 

🎰   Quick bites

An interesting theme to develop about new possibilities in remote user research.

Some hugely inspiring reactions to the heartbreaking news of the deaths of Chadwick Boseman and Ruth Bader Ginsburg: a beautifully written ode by Lupita Nyongo, and this timely and rousing response from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

And if you find yourself roused, now’s the time to register for the (free) Women in Digital - The Power of Profile event - 1 October 2020.
 

🦸   ustwo news 

What’s next for shopping? - ustwo’s new report is our practical take on how to thrive in retail in the new now.

“Make, Learn, Change” is our guide to Agile working and how to do it both at an organisational and a personal level.


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