Northern Futures

There’s an interesting bit of open policy work going on at the moment with the Deputy Prime Minister’s office working with the Policy Lab and Open Policy Making team, who are both based at the Cabinet Office. I’m lucky enough to be involved in a small way, too.

It’s called Northern Futures, and is all about finding ways that the northern cities in England can work together to compete with cities around the world.

The elements of open policy making here are an online ideas generation site, and a series of policy jam sessions.

The ideas site, based on Delib’s excellent Dialogue App tool, allows anyone to submit their own suggestions for answers to three questions:

The best answers to these questions will be taken forward to the policy jams. There will be eight jams taking place at the same time across eight cities in the north, each looking at their own ideas and producing iterations on those ideas, and potentially prototypes too.

I’m delighted to be helping out with the process and will be facilitating the policy jam that will be taking place in Hull. It will be the first time I have been back to the city since my graduation!

The Hull event will be taking place at the city’s History Centre, which looks like a cracking venue. I’m hoping we will get a whole range of people attending – strategists, policy experts, technologists and so on.

The other cities involved will be Manchester, Leeds, York, Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool and Lancaster. You can express an interest in being involved by signing up on the Eventbrite page. Note – signing up here doesn’t guarantee a place, it’s more an expression of interest.

If you’re up for a challenge and would like to get involved in a pretty meaty policy initiative, then this is a great opportunity. Get on the ideas site and share your inspiration, and come along to one of the policy jam sessions – especially the one in Hull, which will be brilliant and almost certainly the best of the lot.

2 thoughts on “Northern Futures”

  1. That’s an interesting one Dave.

    8 cities at the same time! I’d be interested in how you’ll be linking up between the sites. It’s this balance of asynchronous and synchronous (F2F and virtual) which seems to be leading into a “Eurovision” approach to growing/including an audience.

    Re: your latest “what will a virtual govcamp look like?” I did attend something like this, linking 6 sites, in Canberra. This is what it looked like.

    Didn’t really work because it was a one off, and the agenda wasn’t set until people arrived at each site. So we spent most of the morning just getting a list of topics together, separately. It obviously needs a series of events to really grow some legs here, and the video conferencing/streaming needs some professionalization.

    You can also see the use of hackpad to take notes, which threw most people because it was new to them. But all in all, it was a nice step into the future way of sharing a learning.

    The great pity in all of this, is that you seem to have some very good teams in the UK, all running their own approach to the same audience, without any collaboration between them. e.g. Love this central/local approach.

    I guess i have a different approach than your team. The idea of “finding ways that the northern cities in England can work together to compete with cities around the world” is just weird to me. Maybe one day governments will think like private industry and work through ways “northern cities can collaborate with other cities around the world”.

    Or at least collaborate with people, in teams, in cities around the world who are doing the same thing. There seem to be a whole bunch of (digital) media industries just waiting to be born.

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