Reflecting on #UKGC12

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I sit here on Sunday, my voice gone, I actually do feel properly ill as well and my head full of things to move forward…

I’ve caught up on the UKGC12 flickr images and hashtag stream today (counting the number of hashtag violations and hashtag security risks – nods and smiles to Dave Briggs) and thought that i should capture my early thoughts…Dan Slee suggested 20 thoughts, so I’ll give that a try, although can’t promise on 20.

Fortunately for me the solo session (Reflective Practice aka the hangover quiet space) I pitched last minute on Saturday when hearing that room 12 would be empty all day provided me with much needed head space and good conversation with the likes of Dave, Jeremy Gould, Sarah Lay and a few others who dipped in and out throughout the day to share in our peacefulness and our snacks (carefully borrowed from the main snack table). I can’t remember them all but they included Martin Howitt, Harry Harold, Mary McKenna, Lloyd Davis…

So my first main reflections on UKGC12

1) I think local government loses out too often and as a sector we should replicate the process that the Government Digital Service is doing across local government in a way that makes sense and maintains local accountability.

2) Spending nearly 5 hours or more in a dark room at Microsoft HQ in London, with snacks, drinks and plenty of interesting and funny conversation reinforces my view that UKGC12 has provided me with not just connections but great friends who I adore and respect.

3) It is a pleasure to participate in an event which has contributed to so much across local and central government that I wish in some way we could provide a benefits map on UKGC across the years as I don’t believe anyone would have progressed as much without these events existing and breaking barriers around digital

4) You never get enough time to simply chat with folk about anything – the reflective practice session should be a standing item at all govcamps.

5) Never go out straight out after a govcamp without at least a backup plan to get food as you will suffer the next day for it.

6) Regardless of what some people may think public service people are great fun, innovative and most of all passionate

7) You don’t need to be in every session to gain value from the event – the time away from work and the space to reflect and be challenged is worth every second.

8) London is very noisy at night…if you are from a quieter part of the country take ear plugs for a better nights sleep.

9) I don’t really think a continental breakfast can be classed as a proper breakfast

10) I’m not sure we provide enough support for noobies who may not be confident to start conversations….maybe we should consider a buddy system simply for the first few sessions with the aim of helping these people meet new people.

11) Everyone praises Dave and Steph and rightly so, but what is more important is that they have ensured that the event doesn’t and can’t be taken over by a government department. The freedom and independence is a major strength.

12) I’m not sure if 2 days works but I did think the making stuff sessions did…so we should allow more flexibility in future events for people to pitch up in a room all day to build something amazing.

13) Attending on a Friday made UKGC12 feel different but I still can’t quite put my finger on how…something to do with the expectation on people to justify the time out of the office…also different people attend on Saturdays for different reasons…one to ponder more!!

14) Paying extra (all from my own pocket) to travel first class on the train is well worth it after a very tiring few days.

15) Finally, people are not aware of the dangers and challenges around hashtag vulnerability, hashtag penetration and hashtag optimisation…if you want to know more contact Dave ASAP.

More thoughts and reflections to come as well as a proper write up of my thoughts and views.

11 thoughts on “Reflecting on #UKGC12

  1. Matt

    I think 14) is the key takeaway here and one I entirely endorse (I did the same!)

    Support for noobs is an interesting idea – I did find my first couple of barcamps very intimidating places and even a few years and many unconferences later it takes me a while to find my voice in sessions.

  2. Hope the illness isn’t a direct result of close proximity to me ;)

    Still, good to see you all on Friday. I only wish I’d been able to stay for the Saturday as, in hindsight, I think this would have benefited me more. It felt odd being there with no real agenda, nothing to fix back at basecamp.

    I’m sure feeling bloody rotten didn’t help either ;)

  3. Many great points above…

    I too have found many good friends through events such as these and it is always a pleasure for me to attend (even though my mind is screaming at me to run to the hills – phobia of crowds!)

    Your point in relation to never enough time to do everything strikes a chord also – either attend brilliant sessions or step out and talk to friends – a hard choice.

    Thoroughly endorse your point in relation to keeping these events independent – as for me this is the reason they work… people offer realism rather than propaganda from their orgs, in the drive to make their orgs better.

  4. This was my fourth Govcamp and I’ve enjoyed them all; there’s always a sense of latent energy waiting for the chance to explode into innovative ideas. If there’s one thing missing from your list, it’s the ‘what we did as a result of things we learnt or people we met at last year’s Govcamp’. In other words, rather than these events being snapshots in time, 12 months apart, it would be good to see how a previous event has influenced the people and activities at the next event. Maybe something a bit more engaging than Case Studies, e.g. a session using storytelling techniques to join-up the learning journey.

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