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

Bookmarks for March 30th through April 5th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • The Collapse of Complex Business Models « Clay Shirky – Awesome stuff from Shirky.
  •   Reflecting on my MSc research by Michele Ide-Smith – "By researching the attitudes and perceptions of authorities and citizens I hope to gain a better understanding of perceived barriers, threats and opportunities of using social media for community engagement"
  • Cinch – "Cinch is a free and easy way to create and share audio, text and photo updates using your phone or computer. Cinch enables you to capture and report on your experiences in a way that simple text just can't do. Using a simple interface, you can make and broadcast your content creations through Facebook, Twitter, CinchCast.com and more."
  • The State of the Internet Operating System – O’Reilly Radar – "Ask yourself for a moment, what is the operating system of a Google or Bing search? What is the operating system of a mobile phone call? What is the operating system of maps and directions on your phone? What is the operating system of a tweet?"
  • Penval’s Digital Inclusion Manifesto – Well done Paul Nash. This is what the digital inclusion debate needs – proper, thought through ideas. Genuinely constructive contributions. Not just people bleating about the problems.
  • tecosystems » Forking, The Future of Open Source, and Github – Is the future of open source going to be based on communities such as Apache and Eclipse or will it be based on companies that sell open source? Neither.
  • Dr Dennis Kimbro & his views on recruitment – Really interesting and thought provoking piece on talent management, and attitudes to it, in local government.
  • In quest of simplicty – "We expect IT to be complex and costly, but the lesson of the past 5 years in IT – where we’ve seen the consumerization of enterprise IT (“enterprise” is often a coy way of saying “this has to be complex and expensive – no questions!”) – is that IT can be both simple and cheap."
  • Law and social media – dull but important – "Social media throws up issues of privacy and identity which are far more complex when you have a complete record of someone’s time online and a also a need to balance the personal with the professional roles of an individual. "
  • Powerful petitions with real teeth set to bite – "Local people can now demand their councils take action on underperforming schools and hospitals, drink disorder, anti-social behaviour and other concerns under new rules giving real power to local petitions, announced Communities Secretary John Denham today."

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for March 18th through March 20th

[Something is going wrong with this again. For some reason this hadn’t been posted before now.]

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for March 16th through March 18th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

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.

An open transition

Another Saturday evening post about how the internet can have a positive effect on the way democracy and government operates. This one is straight from the US.

An Open Transition is a site set up by a coalition of folk including Lawrence Lessig, Mozilla and the Participatory Culture Foundation. It states:

President-elect Obama has made a very clear commitment to changing the way government works with its citizens. To this end, we offer these three principles to guide the transition in its objective to build upon the very best of the Internet to produce the very best for government.

Those three principles are:

  1. No Legal Barrier to Sharing
  2. No Technological Barrier to Sharing
  3. Free Competition

There’s also a video explaining things a bit more:

It will be interesting to follow this one, and see what influence it might have.