16 October 2010

citycamplondon day two - participate

Day two of FutureGov's citycamplondon took us to the former Truman Brewery in Brick Lane and the stunning offices of LBi (Lost Boys international).

The harsh early Saturday start (9:00am!) was softened with coffee and bagels. The coffee I hit straight away but I resisted the bagels for several minutes before the cream cheese won me over.

The networking started immediately and I took the opportunity to catch-up with local e-democracy champion, and former Lib. Dem. councillor, Mary Reid.

The purpose of the day was to play around with some ideas that had been suggested on the citycamplondon website beforehand. These were grouped in to topics and were run is four sets of four parallel workshops, i.e. sixteen workshops altogether and we each chose which four to go to.

I went for sessions on skills, local democracy, collaboration and Big Society.

The sessions were a little mixed and some of the more negative aspects of an unconference came through in some of them when the lack of a leader, or any specific objective, meant that the session was slow to get going. But get going they all did and we had some very lively and constructive discussions.
Some themes emerged during the day, partially inspired by the day before.

Web2.0 lets people collaborate and communicate to help themselves and this involves taking power away from elected officials who do not realise that this is happening.

Councils have organisational advantages over the public in that they have resources, like planners, architects, engineers and teachers, that they can drawn on easily.

Big Society is competing against Government and both sides need to recognise this.

There is a lot of really good work going on out there, such as FixMyStreet, but we need something to pull these all together to make it easier for people to find services and to find opportunities to contribute.

The day had its ups and downs but it ended on a serious high.

We decamped back to the main room (pictured) where beer and wine was waiting for us.

An hour or so later it was joined by a lot of curry,  we were in Brick Lane after all.

Around the beer and curry was woven a lot more networking made the easier by having mixed with different people in smaller groups all day.

Constructive conversations were had. business cards were exchanged and, more often, twitter ids were swapped. Indeed most of us had adopted the idea of including our twitter ids on our name badges, much more meaningful than a job title or the name of an organisation.

citycamplondon day two asked us to participate and that we did with gusto and purpose.

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