Announcing Open Space South West #OpenSSW

For those of you who have seen the UKGovCamp Grants website, you may have noticed that there was an event called Open Space South West that I put a bid in for and luckily I was one of the many events to get some financial support – So right up front I’d like to thank Steph and Dave and those organisations who helped create the pot of money in the first place.

It was originally down as South West Local Gov Camp – but I wanted to do something a little different to try to reach a slightly different and more diverse audience.

So it will be different to the usual govcamp events, therefore it is called Open Space South West instead – simple as that ūüôā

I’ve put in some basic details below, whilst I get a website sorted in the next couple of weeks which will have links to the tickets and speaker details (yes some speakers).

Open Space South West – the hashtag = #OpenSSW

Date РFriday 14th September

How is it different to a GovCamp event?
Some of the key differences are:

  • It is a Friday (yes a work day) – the 14th September to be precise – 9.30am – 5pm
  • It will be at Coaver Conference Centre, County Hall, Exeter.
  • It will have some speakers who will be providing a 15 minute inspiration/challenge
  • It will have a delegate contract

Some more details on the delegate contract
As a delegate my commitment is to turn up, listen, challenge, participate and take responsibility for my own personal learning and development outcomes and to share my learning openly via the event or other linked website(s).

Partners / Supporters / Sponsors

If you would like to provide support then get in touch via the comments – Specifically I’d welcome contributions towards getting additional wifi sorted (¬£800) in return you get your logo on the wifi login screen and I’d also welcome some additional contributions towards lunch and refreshments.

There isn’t as of yet any informal “night before” or” after event” activities planned, but again if anyone wishes to make some contributions towards those that would be very welcome – again get in touch via comments or direct message me on twitter.

I’m not planning at this stage to have free gifts, ¬†t-shirts or goodie bags but I’m open to offers if someone wishes to help with this?

The following organisations are already providing support in various ways – so a BIG thank you to them.


Provider Engagement Network – a buddypress win

Just before christmas a colleague within our social care commissioning team approached me and asked about how we could help provide an online network to enable providers of health and social care services to raise issues for discussion between one another and with County Council and NHS Devon.

Initially I suggested he explore some free to use tools on the web to help him refine his requirements and better understand the types of features he feels would be of value. ¬†I think most people assume I’ll simply throw a tool at them…but I’m keen to ensure that people focus on the problems they are trying to solve and how these can be solved.

About 3-4 weeks ago we had a catch up call on the phone where we went through the features and how he would like the network to operate. Now as a stroke of luck perhaps, the requirements he listed exactly matched the forum i happened to be using that day which was the UKGovCamp buddypress site.

So I suggested we create a buddy press test site on my teams hosting and we explore it further with some of his other colleagues the following week.

So that is what we did, ¬†we sat down and went through the out of the box features and they loved it…we refined some of the features and created some additional privacy which took about 2-3 hours ¬†–¬†we didn’t even create any visual design aspects, as we said we could apply these at any time once they had them created. We then handed over a fully functioning online network platform last week and they launched it last Friday!

This rapid launch surprised me a bit but it wasn’t a problem…although on Monday this week we made some additional changes based on some very early feedback from users on Friday evening and Monday morning, but that didn’t take very long at all.

So far this week it has had a flurry of people signing up which has been great and we have had lots of great feedback from people.

We still need to work through some of the community management challenges and processes and help them facilitate the community and allow it to grow in a sustainable way…but we’d rather do that live then wait until we felt we were capable of doing this before launching.

Thanks go to Matt Down in the team who pulled all of this together in pretty much no time.

 

Remembering to reflect on your own journey

Last week I had a telephone conversation with Liz Azyan about the progress that Devon has made around social media etc since we spoke last on this topic late 2009.

One of the great things conversations like that do is make your reflect on how far you and your organisation has come in that time.

One thing I haven’t been doing very well lately is looking back through my own blog and seeing how my thinking has evolved, how ideas developed and changed as well as how my approach has changed…This is actually very empowering and liberating to see first hand that I have made progress individually, my thinking in some areas has come to light and made practical difference to people working for the council.

It also shows me where I have left behind some ideas in favour of news ones, but I haven’t clearly articulated to myself that I’ve changed direction and that is something I find important as my mind is full of “stuff” and I need to make practical steps to make sense of that in ways that not only I can understand but others.

I thought I’d take a look at my blogs footprint through a wordle and get a sense of the topics I blog about using my blogs RSS feed. (

20120116-140734.jpg

When I looked back at the content I posted on my blog during January of 2010 – a whole 2 years ago now – I was in a different mindset, a different world almost…I was in fact in a completely different job, one focused more on strategy first than practical application….whereas now I have to think about both of those in equal measure.

I blogged a total of five times and the majority were about risk and governance and of course there was the now compulsory UKGovCamp blog post (January is the UKGovCamp Rock Fest Month)

However one post, which was more of a link to previous thinking and external blogging content was the Facebookisation of the Enterprise post Рessentially suggesting and proposing what could happen if the IT department behaved more like facebook and created a platform for stuff to be built upon.

I’ve taken aspects of the thinking around that and have taken this into the Content Strategy I am writing. ¬†It is interesting to see how little ideas last and evolve into other aspects of my thinking.

So in looking at all of this, I’ve decided to be more reflective overall and to first look back at my own thinking before I write something on the blog, or use that challenge of my own thinking as the basis of a blog post itself.

Do you reflect on your own blog posts? How has your thinking evolved over the months and years you’ve been blogging?

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 ūüôā

I think that is it for now…..