Photo by Mark Braggins.
It’s probably about time we sorted LocalGovCamp out again!
For various reasons it’s going to be running after the summer rather than before, as has previously been the case.
So, the two potential dates are 21st or 28th September. Let me know if you feel strongly one way or another in the comments.
Location will be Birmingham as usual, although I am on the lookout for another (cheaper) venue than Maple House, which rather busted the budget last year and made the vein on the side of my forehead swell to an unpleasant degree.
It will be an interesting time to run the event, as cuts bite deeper into local authority budgets. I’m hoping there will be some discussion about how digital can help councils deliver better services for less, and also how we can tackle some of the digital inclusion issues that will emerge around welfare reform.
As always, I’ll be on the lookout for sponsors once I have an idea around costs – the usual benefactors will get an email soon, but if anyone new wants to chip in, just let me know. An Eventbrite page will be up once the details are all confirmed.
LocalGovCamp passed without a hitch, and indeed it went pretty well. I’m sure it’s the best one so far. In the style pioneered by Dan Slee, here’s my list of takeaways:
- New people! Every time we run the event, there’s a churn in attendees. New people means new ideas and perspectives. It’s great.
- For some reason running this year’s event was the most stressful yet. Even on Saturday morning I was panicking that something disastrous would happen. Maybe nobody would turn up! But they did, and it was fine, like it always is.
- I still believe strongly in LocalGovCamp’s lack of objectives. People need an opportunity to get in a room and talk without the burden of some predefined higher cause. Outcomes do come, of course, but the fact this isn’t a requirement frees people up I think.
- The conversation has definitely moved on now. Nobody talked about how great Instragram is, for instance. It was all about delivery, and transformation, not tools.
- As well as new people attending, newer people are coming to the fore too. Some of those leading sessions this year were hanging around at the back last time. Again, this is good.
- Haggerty, Griggs, Mabbett, Beeman, Popham, O’Dea, Campbell-Wright, Kidney and co were much missed. But it’s a strength of the movement that this wasn’t terminal.
- Nobody makes me laugh as much as Nick Hill does
- Dan Slee purchases terrible post it notes, but he is a great facilitator of group conversations. Asks the right questions, prods the right people at the right time. Excellent!
- I still think more could be made of the fact that we have (often small) suppliers and local government types together in a room talking about problems and solutions. Space for some creative collaboration? I should think so.
- I can’t think of anyone better than Jon Foster to be your taxi driver around Birmingham. Book him now. Dom’s got himself a star there, I think.
- All councils should be making more use of open space and networky conversations in their processes. Dom Chessum started it the other week with the #digitalday at Breckland Council. Serious meetings don’t need to be boring.
- We need to find a free venue for next year, or at least a significantly cheaper one.
- One day, I’d really like to work in local government again.
You can see what content others have been producing about the day here on the coverage page of the LocalGovCamp site.
Photo credit: Pete McClymont
I find this stuff so you don’t have to:
Next Saturday (14th July) sees LocalGovCamp coming back to Birmingham!
It’s a great opportunity for innovators across local government to get together, share problems and come up with solutions. It’s also an honour (and occasional inducer of panic) to be able to put the event together.
I was ably assisted this year by those titans of the local government web world, Si Whitehouse and Dan Slee, who were my eyes and ears in the West Midlands – thanks guys.
With over 100 people signed up, we’re up to capacity now, but there’s a waiting list on the Eventbrite page if you fancy sneaking in last minute if others have to drop out.
Also props to Vicky Sargent at Boilerhouse for designing and organising the printing of the t-shirts.
Many thanks to the excellent sponsors who are helping to make this event happen:
…and of course, Kind of Digital have chucked a few quid into the pot as well.
Am looking forward to seeing everyone next Saturday (and Friday night too – news of curry to come soon…) and those that cannot make it can follow the action on the hashtag #localgovcamp.