Over the past few years, a number of events have happened which could loosely be described as ‘GovCamps’ – taking the barcamp idea of open space style ‘unconferences’ and governmentising it a bit.
Starting with Jeremy’s efforts in 2008, we have since seen two subsequent national level govcamps, and several local versions, in Birmingham, Lincoln, London and Cheltenham.
The next one takes place in York on 12th June – find out more here.
It’s always occurred to me that the GovCamps are something that public sector folk in the UK could really be proud of – proof that a decent number of people are interested in improving things, and that they aren’t afraid to give up their Saturday to do it.
So how to best shout about this activity? Best thing to do is build a website. We had a Ning network – but that was very much dominated by the national, January event, and had a stupid domain name (ukgovweb.org – will be closing at the end of the week) which didn’t come close to describing what it was all about.
So, I had a quick play with WordPress and BuddyPress and produced UKGovCamp.com – a simple social site where people can find out about the GovCamps, see which ones are happening and which are being plotted.
Go and take a look, and get involved! I’ve even written up a 10 point plan for running your own event.
Thanks to David Wilcox for being there with the camera!
Thanks to Graham for putting together this Wordle produced from the text of all the tweets at Saturday’s govcamp. I like that ‘people’ is the second biggest word, and that ‘good’ is nicely central.
He has also made this spreadsheet available so you can follow all the tweets from the day – it’s like you’re there all over again. you’ll need access to Google Docs to be able to see it.
A quick reminder that content from the various sessions is being put together at http://ukgc.wikispaces.com/ – check to see if sessions you ran or attended have notes – if not, add them!
Where next with all this? Anthony at the Democratic Society has some ideas.
Update: great post from Pubstrat.
Flickr photo credit: Paul Clarke
The third annual unconference, or GovCamp, for government types went pretty well. Two main factors, marvellous and generous hosting by Google, and a terrific level of participation from pretty much everyone who attended. What’s more, nearly everyone stayed til the end!
Massive thanks to the other sponsors, including Huddle, Opportunity Links, Learning Pool, Boilerhouse, IDeA, Polywonk, Timetric, the Dextrous Web and probably others.
Huge props too to Tim Davies and Lloyd Davis for organising the agenda setting bit of the day – it really helped everything go smoothly.
Highlights for me were the sessions of getting internal communication and collaboration right – which resulted in the prospect of a spinoff event dedicated to these issues – and a session on discussing innovation in public services.
As always, how do we follow up on all this goodwill and enthusiasm? Let’s try by:
- sticking around the online community set up mainly for the event, but which has pretty much everyone signed up to it.
- Don’t forget that there is also the Teacamps – afternoon meetups in central london for government types. The next one is on the 3rd February in the cafe at the top of the House of Fraser on Victoria Street.
- A simple wiki is available for people to add content from the sessions they ran and attended, so those that missed them (or indeed the whole event) can still find out what went on
- Finally – the growing movement of ‘camps in and around government just goes to show that organising events that are useful, interesting and fun doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult. There’s nothing at all stopping you from organising your own, and there are plenty of people willing to help.
There’s lots of coverage online already, and will be more, I’m sure. I’ll keep the following list as up to date as I can:
David Wilcox grabbed Jeremy Gould and I before we left. It was Jeremy who kicked off this whole thing two years ago, and it’s been a privilege – as well as a pain in the arse – to have picked things up this year. Had Jeremy not stuck his neck out back then, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Anyway, enough brown nosing, here’s David’s video:
Blogging has been very light here just recently – GovCamp is basically taking over my life. Will be back on track next week, hopefully.
Here’s the text of an email I sent round to members of the network last night – it’s important reading.
Govcamp is this Saturday, 23rd January. I wanted to get in touch with you all to clarify the entrance arrangements. You must have a ticket via the Eventbrite system to gain entry to the event – Google are pretty tight on security, and if your name isn’t down on the list, you really won’t be allowed in.
You can check to see if your name is down at http://ukgc10.eventbrite.com/ – if you are not listed there and you really think you should be, please get in touch with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you can.
For those that are coming, please arrive in time for us to kick things off at 10am. Oh, and bring a printout of your Eventbrite ticket, just in case.
The UK govcamp event is happening on the 23rd January. Everyone should have had an email who has a ticket to come – if you think you ought to have had something, but haven’t, please let me know!
It’s an unconference, so if you are coming, please do come prepared to talk about something. Discussions are taking place on the event network, so dip in there if you are feeling low on inspiration.
For those that can’t make it, we’re hoping to have a bunch of active social reporters there on the day, recording words, pictures, sounds and videos. We’ll find a way of pulling them all together for your multimedia pleasure – probably again on the network site.
After just one day, interest is already starting to build up for January’s barcamp. We have had a tonne of responses to the register of interest form, which is awesome, and have made significant headway in getting the venue arranged.
More on that as soon as I know it.
In the meantime, I’ve been doing some gardening on the community site we have set up on Ning. Deleting spammers, starting new conversations and creating some new groups.
We now have specific groups to discuss government data sharing and cloud computing – both hot topics. Make sure you sign up and jump into the conversations about these two topics.
The previous two UK government barcamps have been wonderful events – bringing people together to start and continue conversations about how web developments affect the public sector in this country.
If we are going to run the event in January 2010, we probably need to start organising it now. So I have kicked things off a bit by tidying up the online community, adding a blog post ‘announcing’ January’s event and setting up a form for people to register their interest in the event.
So do head over to the community and start sharing some ideas, stories and experiences. And make sure you tag your stuff with ukgc10!
LocalGovCamb is the latest regional LocalGovCamp to be arranged. I’m helping put this together with Michele Ide-Smith.
There are hardly any details, really. December this year or January 2010. Somewhere in Cambridge. Theme will be local government innovation.
While the event is obviously targetted at authorities close by to Cambridge, there is no resason why folk from further afar shouldn’t attend.
Visit and bookmark http://localgovcamb.com and keep abreast of the latest information. You can also submit your interest in the event.