The Civil Sector and Public Sector

On friday last week, I attended the Socitm South West Regional Meeting, where there were a number of presentations from various people from Orange (Event Sponsors) who are actually now part of a new organisation Everything Everywhere – A merger of Orange and T-Mobile. I personally didn’t really take note of this when this was announced back in May, but actually it is quite a big deal when you think about what this means to the mobile networks and coverage. They still need to sort our rural connectivity if they want to make a real difference. Maybe they should connect to Race Online 2012 and make a pledge…

One of the most interesting presentations on the day came from Julie Harris, CEO of Cosmic, a Social Enterprise based in East Devon. What was interesting for me was that Julie highlights some of the practical challenges facing the civil sector in progressing the Big Society – also a great observation that public sector and civil sector partnership working is the Big Society really…

Some really interesting insights in identifying local projects which Cosmic are involved in which could add real value to some high level strategies that the public sector has and are proactively progressing – such as “Channel Migration” – supporting these strategies through grass-roots support and mentoring  via the Digital Mentors programme.

Digital Mentors aim to provide technology training, support, workshops and advice to local sole traders and SME’s –  The support and guidance on offer will include use of standard ‘Office’ software, social media, simple website creation and promotion demonstrations, tips on online selling, computer maintenance and support.

Via Cosmic – Digital Mentors

Julie also make a very obvious point about aligning and working together more with regard to Analysis and Research around IT enabled change etc. An obvious link to Socitm naturally exists as Socitm have expanded into the 3rd Sector – perhaps a bit more to do on making local connections to add value to the widerSocitm membership.

Anyway Julie’s presentation is below, it is well worth checking out.


Likeminds 2010 – was it really for me?

In my previous post i shared my first thoughts and observations from attending the Likeminds 2010 conference. It was a great day and my thoughts have now started to settle down. If you wish to read other peoples views on the event, check out the likeminds site.

The question i am asking myself now is  – was the event for me?

I work in local government and i know that we can learn from other sectors and other professionals, but i’m starting to think that for a whole day event, i didn’t really come away with anything new  – that is not to say that the quality of presentations weren’t great because they were. I was very impressed with Jon Akwue, Joanne Jacobs and Chris Brogan who was one of the first 10 people i started to follow on twitter – Joanne’s Gartner style hype cycle for Augmented Reality was very interesting.

However it seems to me that we (public sector folk) are actually very advanced in our collective thinking on the potential of social software and social media. I include social software because i believe that we will gain huge advantages implementing this technology internally first before we embark externally on the road to radical transformation. This point was supported by an excellent presentation by Olivier Blanchard on “Operationalising Social Communications” – Ok so the title is a bit too “Communications” friendly for most public sector folk, but to be honest i don’t care what we call it, as long as we actually ALL understand what we are really talking about.

If you are in the public sector and you have heard Dave Briggs talk, or spoken to the following people in and around the public sector : Dominic Campbell, Jeremy Gould, Paul Clarke, Tim Davies, Mary McKenna, Steve Dale, Catherine Howe and Julie Harris to name but a few. All of these people i have heard talk about practical examples of change using social web technologies over the past 2 years. From the IDeA’s Knowledge Hub, eSafeguarding Projects, Youth Participation and Engagement, Learning Organisations, Reboot Britain, Digital Mentors and Virtual Civic Spaces. All of these in my opinion are great examples of the power and potential of social media.

Surely this is about FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE not just in businesses, public sector organisations but in society as a whole.

I appreciate that for many people Likeminds was a place where they learned about new stuff and new approaches, but for me, i have already been on that journey, but it was good to listen to great speakers.

I love likeminds and i love being part of it, but perhaps this time it was just a little to broad for me and not deep enough.

I suspect that the other likeminds offerings would meet my needs but being based in local government, funds are limited if not non existent to enable participation in some of the others.

I think that the main reason for me to feel this way was that it feels like the event was aimed at a more commercial group of people, it was no coincidence that a large number of people attending were agencies and people offering services in this space.

My thoughts continue.