#UKGC15 reflections

This is my quick capture of initial thoughts and impressions – I have been writing it over the course of the week.  I will be writing up my session on the golden thread of democracy properly though this may not happen until next weekend.

The header picture is from the sky garden in the walkietalkie where I went after Govcamp – wonderful venue but quite a departure from a room full of public sector self-confessed geeks….

HT to @danslee as I use the 10 point format

  1. I took a break from UKGC last year but I am really glad I came back – its always interesting to see how the participants have shifted in terms of skills and interests. There was a greater diversity (though possibly not backgrounds) of views and a sense that various bits of leadership were starting to ‘get it’.
  2. I think this needs to drive the fact that we need to take a more robust view of evidence and results. We can’t just dazzle people anymore and we can’t be lazy by just evangelising. Experimentation needs to be backed up with data collection and reflection – we have to learn when we fail otherwise we are simply failing.
  3. I think we are all now struggling in various ways with the challenges of system change but I am not sure that people are yet aware of what this means – have a look at systems changers for more on this.
  4. This was reflected in the digital leadership session where the thinking in the room has moved on from the days when it was very much a rather sad cry of ’they just don’t understand me’. As Jonathan said you could see people really wrestling with how to best influence the people above them but I am not sure that there was a strong enough link back to the point about evidence. Link to the stuff that I raised in this session on the 7 tribes of digital can be found here (PDF) and here (blog).
  5. I really wish I had gone to the session on the use of blockchains!! More on that on Martin’s blog.
  6. I really like the unconference format but I agree with Jonathan that as UKGC gains in maturity it might be time to bring in some theming – you could for example suggest themes in advance and then pitch within these.
  7. The pitching can feel very gladiatorial – now I am wildly competitive and horribly confident so I like it – but I know from our work on NHS Citizen that it doesn’t work for everyone and we may want to think about how we make this part a bit more accessible. This links to point 6
  8. Janet Hughes’ session on Verify was excellent – and I am a fan of what they are doing – but we have to make sure that identity works for democracy as well as transactional stuff. I think this is there is the model but will need some pulling out to to ensure that its used.
  9. Really excited to see the start of the Parliamentary Digital Service but what a huge challenge in terms of combining organisational, process and cultural change – good luck Tracy and please let us all know if we can help!
  10. There is a lot of great stuff going on but we are still struggling with how to scale and amplify it. I wonder if we need to start having events that are all about connecting stuff – Connectioncamp – where the point is to align stuff that is already happening rather than everyone talking about there own thing. I have been doing work with the a leadership team for a County Council – the whole thrust of it has been uncovering the projects they already have and nudging them towards alignment rather than starting something new – and its a hugely powerful approach.
  11. The session at the end with Mike Bracken Addressing The Multitude just didn’t work for me. The power felt wrong – after such a collaborative event you need to end by coming together not by reinforcing a hierarchy. I also profoundly disagree with the statement that documentation should be seen as tech debt – but that is another story.

Proper piece to follow on the golden thread of democracy session.

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