Change for the better

It’s pretty obvious that local government, like all areas of public service, is facing a challenging time.

Most of Learning Pool’s customers work within Organisational Development, or Learning and Development roles, and when budgets get cut, it’s often training that suffers.

However, as I pointed out in a talk at our ‘Hit the North’ event a couple of weeks ago in Sheffield, this could be a really good opportunity for folk working in these roles.

After all, during times of change, getting staff on board is a really tricky thing, and L&D people often have access to channels and tools that are already trusted by, and engaged with, by a lot of staff.

This is especially true of Learning Pool customers who have our learning management system – the DLE – which provides web 2.0 functionality including blogs, wikis, forums, live chats and all sorts of other interactive goodness.

Here’s my slides, which cover a whole load of ground. Not sure what happened to the font…

As an extra help, we’ve produced a free e-book to point out some of the ways that collaborative, social and learning technology can help organisations in the midst of significant change.

You can download it, and access a bunch of other cool resources, by clicking on the graphic below.

Change for the Better

Social processes

The following presentation was linked to by Dennis Howlett, who said:

The…slideshow from Mark Masterson makes the point that when dealing with exceptions, the best tools available to us are the knowledge that resides in people’s heads. Ergo – the argument goes: implement social software as a way of capturing that information for current/later use. I don’t have a problem with this except that as currently iterated, most of the tools represent yet another IT silo outside the process flow. Even so, I’d encourage folk like Mark to keep refining their thinking so that critics like myself stand a chance of being persuaded.

Technology is not the thing

Last week I spoke at the Online Information conference. It was a session about Twitter, where Karen Blakeman did a great job explaining the whole thing, and how organisations can make use of it. Then I stepped up and told a few jokes about government is – and should be – using Twitter.

Here’s the slides, for what they’re worth. Try and imagine a pillock gurning at you while you read them, it’ll provide some context.

Now, there is a thing here, and this is what it is: I don’t like doing tool-focused talks. One reason is that people get the impression that I am saying that everyone should be on Twitter, say.

To be swearily honest, I really couldn’t give a shit whether you use Twitter or not. I might write things that make it easier for you, but I would hate to feel like I’m making promises that it will change your life, or transform your organisation. It probably won’t. Things don’t tend to work that way.

I’m not trying to distance myself from Twitter, here. I still use it a hell of a lot, and my life would be poorer without it. The point I am making is true of any single technology, and goes back to the idea that, actually, the interesting things about the internet and its effect on society – and government – has nothing to do with computers.

Instead of encouraging people and organisations to use Twitter, or whatever, I want to encourage them to listen, to collaborate, to be transparent and open, to take notice of the things their employees say, to be flexible and agile and able to react quickly to changing circumstances.

Technology makes this easier. It provides a platform where it can all happen. In some cases it might be the key that unlocks the door to all this activity. But technology is not the thing.

Policing 2.0: The Citizen and Social Media

While Andrew was so marvelously blogging Government 2010 last Thursday, I was at an event organised by the National Police Improvement Agency, giving a presentation which was an overview of web 2.0 and what it means for public sector services like the Police.

Here are my slides:

Also talking at the event were Will from Talk About Local, Sarah and Lauren from the excellent MyPolice (Sarah wrote a guest post here on DavePress about the project a while ago) and Nick from COI; along with several great representatives from the Policing world who talked about the stuff they are doing in the real world, with blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and even running virtual local meetings with CoverItLive. Inspiring stuff.

Check out all the tweets from the event here.

Massive props to Nick Keane for getting this going. With any first events of a type, the main thing to do is to whip up enthusiasm, and get people talking. Nick achieved that today, and I’m excited about whatever comes next.

Blogging and podcasting for local government

I had an enjoyable morning today with a bunch of local government communicators, at an LGC organised conference. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with my buddies Carl, Dominic and Simon.

Here are my slides, where I discuss briefly what blogging and podcasting are about, and what some of the key success factors are:

Evaluating online engagement

I’ve mentioned before that we all really need to start evaluating the online engagement stuff we’re all doing. Alice Casey‘s presentation provides some great pointers for where to start and what to consider:

My main argument was that a good evaluation tells a compelling story through combining qualitative and quantitative information in a clear format to key decision makers and practitioners.