So that was #localgovcamp – now what?

There is apparently some small amount of evidence to show that I was in fact at LocalGovCamp on Saturday 🙂

I paid for the accommodation and train fare out of my own money, not because the council didn’t want to pay, but because I actually wanted to pay for it myself (maybe some people think this is sad)

It did re-energise me (although friday evening took some of my *spark*), it inspired me, not just by the conversations, but by the determination and passion people show, the fact that people give up their personal time to come together for a greater good and really are prepared to challenge your current thinking, there really is something special in that…

I also have to accept that if it weren’t for the friends and colleagues I’ve made on social networks and through events like LocalGovCamp and UKGovCamp, my life would be very different, I’m not sure what job I’d be in, or work I’d be doing, things have changed for me quite a bit over the last few years (for the better, I must add) and I’ll say this has a direct correlation to my involvement and participation with these networks and events. So before I carry on, I have to say Thank You to everyone who has attended a UKGovCamp, LocalGovCamp and to everyone who has challenged me via my blog, twitter and the Communities of Practice platform.

I didn’t tweet much into the stream on saturday and I personally don’t feel I contributed much in terms of discussion throughout the day but on the train home (this was one of the most peaceful moments of my weekend), I sat back at thought about what I need to do to transition from “all talk” into “practical action”. I created a mindmap with over 15 project ideas based on what I heard in sessions as well as stuff I picked up in general conversation, so something obviously went in…I also tweeted a few thoughts which I’d like to expand further on.

  • Thoughts on #localgovcamp – remains one of the few events that actually stimulates and inspires me, plus the people are bloody fantastic
  • Thoughts on #localgovcamp need to create a govcamp culture internally to stimulate innovation and change and involvement of wider audience
  • Thoughts on #localgovcamp – we are now shifting focus to behaviour change and away from the shiny tools – place for both of course 😉

I really want to start mainstreaming the outputs, conversations and the inspiration that all of this can provide to as many people as possible, this applies internally and externally across my region (Devon and the South West). One response to this is to push forward a South West LocalGovCamp Event for the Autumn. If you are interested then let me know.

However even though I value attending these events, even though I know the people who turn up will be bloody fantastic and even though I always come away with some plans – I believe that only a very small group of people would *ever* attend this kind of event…but more than happy to be proved wrong of course.

I had various conversations on Saturday with people about how we can get other people access to these kinds of conversations. It doesn’t have to be a localgovcamp event as such. Personally I think something more aligned to the CityCampBrighton Event (3 days) would attract more people from across the public sector here, but these are naturally focused on a geographic area. So would not be easy for something like Devon as a whole…However I think there is a middle ground…

I read with interest a post by Catherine Howe (@curiousc) this morning, where she talks about a similar challenge that is emerging within LocalGovCamp, she states:

  • We need to be mindful that we need to make these events work for both the first timers and for the people who have attended many.  I don’t think this is difficult – but perhaps a bit more prep / continuity from those of us that attend frequently would give us the sense of building something bigger rather than having the same, albeit valuable, conversations again and again
  • There is something to be said for reaffirming your energy and engaging with other innovators -but we also need to take responsibility for building the evidence base for our beliefs collectively if we are going to be anything other than positively disruptive outsiders
I don’t think it is a coincidence that Catherine attended the City Camp Brighton event and has expressed these points of view.
I’ve posted recently about one of the challenges I think as a collective group of people we have a duty to resolve and that is ensuring that people who are new to the conversation can enter at an appropriate level and those who need to be challenged more can do so.
I’d love to be able to be part of a South West Event which was held of two days. Day 1 being for inspiration and understanding and day 2 being about workshops and creating things.  I’m not an events person so would welcome any hints and tips on how this might be achievable and be offered for “free” to participants…So I guess sponsors would be required, welcome and encouraged 🙂
In terms of internal response, I want to reinvigorate, refocus and rename the Social Media Forum we had set up here. I’m now in a better position to do some good stuff with this internally, so watch this space on that over the coming weeks.
With regard to behaviour change, I’m really keen to involve our workforce development colleagues on how we can use the existing corporate training and development programmes to instil a new “thinking” around Digital. However we need to do this with regard to a Blended approach as per Tim Davies blog.
I plan to blog more on each of the project ideas in the coming weeks and months.
So again “THANK YOU” fellow localgovcampers, you are all amazing and quite frankly awesome.

5 thoughts on “So that was #localgovcamp – now what?

  1. Great post, Carl.

    You are one of several people I wanted to seek out and and speak to on Saturday, but never got the chance to do so, partly because there were just so many people there, and partly because I was rushing round sticking cameras under people’s noses.

    Like you, I think there is a place for events which blend different approaches, and I think there was some discussion about that in @kevupnorth’s session (video here One of the sessions I was going to pitch, but didn’t (because I’d already pitched one and there was a big queue of people wanting to pitch for the first time) was “Using Betta Kultcha for staff development”. Betta Kultcha is a quick-fire presentation event (see here, loosely based on the Pecha Kucha format. The point I wanted to make was that doing this kind of activity could be great for staff development, particularly in building confidence and presentation skills. I also think it could form part of the mix of a blended event, along with the unconference format, the odd keynote, and musicians, too.

    1. Thanks John,

      I have the video session saved for viewing as i’m keen to hear how it went and what the challenges are etc.

      I’ll check out the blog post and might start bringing that into the internal social media forum revision.

      We will have to catch up next time. maybe I should have pitched a session called “speed networking” to allow people to meet others easier.


  2. Carl,

    Really well thought out comments. Thanks for them. They chime well with some stuff Kate Hughes from Wolverhampton Housing has posted. Kate hasn’t necessarily commented directly about Saturday’s event, but she is struggling with the thought that her organisation seems to be getting good communications going through use of social media, yet not seeing it transform services.

    That’s a bit how I felt by Saturday evening. Great day of communication and exchanges of views, but could I really say that what I was seeing was transformational? Maybe it’s just too soon. Maybe these days we expect instant gratification, and this stuff is just bigger and longer-term? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting LocalGovCamp to transform anything itself, of course. We all need what used to be called “mountain-top experiences” to keep us gee-ed up through the working year. However, the trouble with mountain top experiences is that you really have to be there to know what it was like, and because you saw far into the distance, it’s hard to share with people what thay was really like, even with a photograph.

    For myself, it will be weeks before the effects of LocalGovCamp 2011 really dawn on me. That’s partly because of changes at work, and partly because I am about to disappear for the best part of a month on other things. The blogging and commenting is still pretty much at the “thanks for having me” stage. The syngergy of views and the growth of new stuff will inevitably follow.

    And I do agree totally with your comment about paying for it yourself. Felt exactly that way too.

  3. Carl

    I missed this #localgovcamp for a number of reasons. Interesting that you paid your own way. I’d intended to do the same, but funds are short at the moment.

    Will do what I can to support a #swgovcamp. Making a nuisance of myself here proselytising about unconferences. Hopefully I can persuade a few newbies from #NDevon.


  4. Would be up for a SWLocalGovCamp – but like you say it can’t be ‘all be talk and no do’ – it has to be about putting the good ideas into action and it has to go beyond the ‘workshops’ at the event.

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