Two strangely related things happened last week. The second one was Dominic Campbell‘s post, “Exciting times” in which he describes the progress he has made over the last few years, and how odd – and amazing – the whole thing is.
Suddenly I am attending Chief Executive only gigs to talk about how technology and the web can help local government both understand and deliver on the needs of the people it is there to support. Suddently I am invited to sit on the Practitioners Advisory Board of INLOGOV to help support their research and thinking around the future shape of local government (in the building next door to my old school in a weird twist of fate!). Suddenly we have the opportunity to put on CityCamp London (thanks to our amazing supporters) to bring together some amazing brains to consider the future of London and what role technology can play in reshaping both society and state in making it an ever better world class city to live and work in.
Dominic has done – and is doing – some amazing things. He’s built himself a huge reputation, not just here in the UK but also in the States, for innovative thinking about public services and where technology fits in.
I could never claim to have the same influence or impact that Dom has. But our careers over the last few years have some parallels – we both built reputations using online tools and by being committed to sharing what we know, as both a means to help practitioners get things done, and as a means of building business relationships.
This leads in nicely to the first thing I wanted to mention, which was at the beginning of last week, when Luke Harvey at the DWP invited me to talk to a bunch of technology in business fast streamers about my career, and some of my views on technology in government.
It must have been a weird careers talk. The profound oddness, just as Dominic describes in his post, of being pretty much nobody, but by writing a blog and slavishly updating Twitter, building a reputation and a career where people respect and act upon what you say. Sometimes they even give you money!
Here’s the slides from my talk. They are the usual mixture of well-worn jokes and ephemera. My honest advice for anyone working in and around government who wants to give their career a kick start would be to start blogging and to get networking on Twitter. Be helpful. Give stuff away. Always be positive. Make things happen. You never know where you’ll end up.