Reflecting on LocalGovCamp 2014 – Did that really just happen…

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I wanted to post a set of reflections after attending this years LocalGovCamp and fringe events which happened last week (20/21 June).

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Firstly I want to acknowledge the effort and hard work of Sarah Lay – given all of her work in the day job and outside I’m in total admiration for how she managed to make this happen.

Other folk who need acknowledging for there hard work, skills and all round goodness are:
Jon Foster
Phil Rumens
Sarah Jennings
Nick Hill

So back to the event and my reflections and in no particular order

Surprisingly a two day event actually worked, having the practical makers day and leaders summit on the Friday created a focus and energy which carried over to the Saturday even though the people were different

A major realisation that LocalGovDigital has always existed ever since the first LocalGovCamp – the continued support network, the peer to peer sharing, help, advice and collaboration has always been there since 2009, but not as formalised as we are now – we simply made it visible and opened it up.

It never ceases to amaze me how inspired I get from going to these events, there was a time when I felt like the sessions didn’t offer value to me personally so I often just floated around talking (reflecting) I essentially continued attending for the people and conversations – And this year it recaptured the energy, newness and enthusiasm of the very first event back in 2009 – I found the sessions were more stimulating and focused on what can happen now, not what might at some point in the future (in an ideal world) which shows that there is a shift towards a greater clarity of focus…however this was not always the case but you have to let conversations flow

There were more people who hadn’t attended than had previously attended which was one of the things we wanted to achieve. So I’m not sure exactly how we managed to do that but it certainly contributed to the energy and excitement. We also had councillors attending which was also a great success. We need more but we have found a way in which it worked and it feels like we can build on this momentum quickly as well

LocalGov Digital really came to life at this event, it felt like the network was active, present and greater than the sum of its parts. However we still need to effectively harness that and provide stronger leadership as a collective group of people. As Glen Ocsko stated in the open steering group meeting – “we need to grow some digital balls” – that to me means we have to find the confidence to really demand a new relationship, to state our expectations, to share our values and principles and state loudly that “We want, demand and can build something better”. I’m under no illusion that we will need help, but at least we can be honest about that.

Localgovcamp is really about people and places and it just so happens that there is an overt leaning towards technology and some even stated that they felt it was a technology event…we need to address this before we lose people…
For me though I see localgovdigital as being the change makers who can support and help enable a transformation around people and places to create value:

Our focus should be the whole person, whole system and whole place…

By.

- focusing on need
– being open by default
– adopting digital by design
– being networked and collaborative
– by doing and showing
– being evidence and data driven

All of this is underpinned by the democratic accountability which is one of our strengths.

Finally I had one of the best pork pies I think I have ever eaten in the old manor pub – Dave Briggs also had one and can testify to it’s incredible taste, it could only have been improved by adding a good strong cheddar and a quality pickle.

Game Theory and Engines

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As i continue my reading of clay shirky, it got me thinking about how groups/communities can now get together and are using social tools for mutual benefit. It mentioned that in groups providing peopel don’t act selfish and continue towards the greater good, the group can continue. It gave an example of shepherds sharing a field, providing no one shepherd lets there sheep overgraze the field remains balanced. However the individual motivation is to get fat sheep as cheap as possible. So you have a decision to make, stay true to the ideal or cheat and take what you can for free. Now this is also the same choice that all the shepherds face……

This got me thinking about game theory, the psychology aspect of what is mainly an economic theory focuses on social situations, which i feel is a more accurate description of what game theory is about. Although game theory is relevant to games such as poker, most research in game theory focuses on how groups of people interact. I have also started to hear about game theory in John Seddon’s book about Systems Thinking in the public sector…

The rise of social tools to foster mass collaboration has really taken me by surprise and i am now following like many others into a new era of communications and social interaction.

A colleague has expressed their concern over the real face to face interaction which gives you some real contact. However with the GPS capabilities and the link with social networking, it will only offer me more opportunities for face to face contact but with people who are friends of friends or who are recommended by friends as people with similar interests.

This on a sunday has made my mind boggle and i can only contemplate how the next few years will look in terms of the web considering facebook was only developed in 2005! Look how that has impacted our lives, whether we use it or not, it seems to play a major factor in how people information.

My hope is that we all continue to focus on the social and community benefits, which after all is driving these social tools and continuing the revolution of how groups and communities come together.

Tidgy\'s Engine - just waiting to start it up now

Everyone needs to realise that the technology can only play a part (the platform) and it is all of us who continue to make this stuff work, function and tick. That is the beauty of how things have changed in web2.0.

On a seperate and more personal note, we have finally finished the engine for the van and we are ready to start it up tomorrow (providing there is petrol in the local petrol stations)….

Anyway this signals a turning point in what feels like 4 years of hell really, but we are so close now to getting him on the road. Just the brakes to do after this…

Also i forgot to add a photo of the scarecrow we made over in the allotment. Not sure what the boys have called him but this is Ewan with our scarecrow.

Ewan and the Scarecrow