Local Gov Camp Yorkshire & the Humber

Just a brief contribution to the many words written (and yet to be written) about yesterday’s Local Gov Camp Yorkshire & Humber. Many, many thanks to Ken Eastwood, Kevin Campbell-Wright, Melanie Reed, and eveyone else involved in making it happen.

The National Railway Museum in York made a really interesting venue, and, if my broken big toe hadn’t been limiting my mobility, I would have loved to do something social media-wise which involved some of the exhibits. Remind me, if it happens again next year, that I really want to do that. Instead, I had to content myself with running a session on Social Media Surgeries, complete with “surprise” guest appearance from Nick Booth, beamed in via Skype. This seemed to be well received, and it looks like new Surgeries in Barnsley, Doncaster and Leyland could well be launched as a result. One of the most interesting parts of the session, from my point of view, was the exploration of how Social Media Surgeries could form an important part of wider community development strategies. I think this topic can go a long way, particularly in the era of the “Big Society”.

I also attended morning sessions led by Martin Cantor of Barnsley Council, on the Digital Community Vision which we have been helping to develop as part of the regional Digital 20/20 strategy, and one on Enterprise 2.o, led by Ken Eastwood and Dave Briggs, which focused on the case study of the development of “Barnsley Buzz”, a social media platform for internal use by Barnsley Council staff. ┬áThese were both really interesting sessions, the discussion on the Digital Community Vision will be continued, and we all look forward to seeing what comes from Barnsley Buzz.

Of course, as always with these kinds of events, the best thing about it was meeting up with people you see rarely, meeting new people for the first time (particularly those previously known virtually through Twitter), and continuing conversations started elsewhere. And this raised another point, i.e. why do we have to do these things on Saturdays? I have twice recently had to break my rule of never doing events on Saturdays, because I thought they were too important to miss. I don’t do Saturday events because I have teenage kids who expect to be taxied around, and I see precious little of them during the week as it is. I’ve had this conversation in the past, and people have told me it’s because people at the cutting edge in social media use in local government are not really allowed to do this sort of stuff during the week. I raised this with a number of people who were there on Saturday, and it seemed that this might no longer be the case in many instances.

So, if Local Gov Camp Y & H happens again on a Saturday next year, I will endeavour to be there, because it’s an event too good, and too important, to miss. But you might have to explain to my kids why their taxi is not available.

Sheffield’s Gist Lab and the Art of Collaboration

It seems the idea of establishing semi-open spaces where people can come together and collaborate in interesting ideas is spreading. A few weeks ago, I dropped in on the Centre for Creative Collaboration in London (#thatlondon) and heard Brain Condon and Lloyd Davies talk about the exciting plans they have for that Centre, and some of the interesting collaborations which have already begun there.

And, this week, I called in at the brand new Gist Lab, a centre starting from scratch in Sheffield which is taking a similar approach to fostering collaboration between the city’s tech community, and others who want to join in.

Here, I talked to Jag Gill, one of the founders about his hopes for the centre and the kinds of collaboration it is seeking to foster.

I think this is a really interesting approach and I look forward to seeing what comes out of it. I’d also love to hear about other centres doing similar things.