Introducing South West LocalGovCamp #swlocalgc

Right, no date or venue confirmed yet but South West LocalGovCamp is on the cards and is now entering the planning stage for an Autumn date (likely to be early October).

There has been a little bit of talk about organising this on a Friday instead of a Saturday (which presents additional challenges and opportunities) but I have no preference as long as it works.

So can you let me know via the poll below which option works best for you.

Now there is plenty to get arranged and organised before then, so I’ve also created a group on the UKGovCamp network site, so please register and get involved where you can.

The hashtag for the event leading up to, during and after will be #swlocalgc, but people are also welcome to use the more traditional #localgovcamp if they wish to extend the reach of the conversation.

As a starting point we need to ensure we get a venue which is capable of holding 75+ people and provides excellent WiFi – here is a great blog post from Andy Mabbett on WiFi Checklist for Un-Conferences – The venue will then inform the date, so I’d like to hear people’s views on practical locations which are capable of meeting our needs…


These events obviously don’t happen by themselves so I’m keen to hear from people who are able to help organise things (on a practical basis) as well as from organisations local and from further afield who would be prepared to provide some level of financial sponsorship or even a venue which could hold around 75+ people…obviously don’t know the numbers yet but the more the merrier as they say 🙂

I think that is it for now…..



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.

Calling #localgov folk – It’s time for another #localgovcamp

Very brief, but as always conversations go into hyper drive  after #ukgc11 and it feels right in the current climate to bring back one of the best (for me) GovCamp experiences – #LocalGovCamp.

No details as of yet, but if you are interested and keen to get involved or know when and where it is happening then sign up to and join the BigLocalGovCamp Group

UPDATE: The provisional Date is Saturday 25th June in Birmingham This is Glastonbury Weekend

LocalGovCamp changed my life

As i mentioned in a previous post i attended LocalGovCamp and i believe it has changed my life, Why and how i hear you all cry?

Well here are my justifications for that statement.

Firstly – One of the first thing that Localgovcamp co-ordination man @Davebriggs said when it all kicked off was. People have arrived in Birmingham on a Saturday to talk about Local Government, we are all Sad Bast**ds. Well i had to agree with him, but was happy to be classified in that category as i actually wanted to be there and i really wanted to learn from others and share experiences.

What is bizarre about the whole thing (and it was much the same at the UKGovBarcamp in January) is that would you get the same level of commitment from a “traditional” conference set up. My experience is NO.

The general rule of thumb is “those who are there are the right people” and you have to accept that it could mean that you share more than you learn, but the more of these types of things you attend, it all balances out in the end.

I attended the UKGovBarcamp in January and didn’t feel like i contributed much, but felt i gained so much more. I felt this trend slightly reversed at LocalGovCamp and that made me feel better about the experience and more confident about the format.

Second – Now Why does this mean it changed my life. Well what it showed me and confirmed to me is that the more you participate the more you get back.  This i feel is the underlying theory of Social Networking and Social Media.

Third and final – It had a positive impact on me directly because of the session i gave on internal social networking and it made me realise that no matter where you work, there is likely to be something you are doing which others want to hear about regardless of how formal or informal it actually is. My advice to others is share your thoughts, ideas and failures so that we can all reach a better understanding quicker.

Ok, so it didn’t change my life as such, but it has changed my perspective on knowledge sharing and encouraging others to participate – either way – if you get a chance to attend a similar event DO.