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LocalGovCamp 2018 Notes

Here are my rough and random thoughts on LocalGovCamp 2018, published less than 24 hours after the end of the event.

As usual Nick Hill, put on another great event with help from other LocalGov Digital members. Although 2018 was probably the best attended LocalGovCamp I've been to, a noticeable trend since 2015 that became very apparent this year is that more people now come on Friday than Saturday.

There are many assumptions you can make from this. Perhaps digital and therefore LocalGov Digital has become more mainstream so is now seen as a legitimate work thing. We've certainly never had video address from a minster inviting attendees to apply to a £7.5m Local Digital Fund before.

Friday saw a wide variety of digital innovation workshops. I head more about how to apply for the Local Digital Fund, Jonathon Flowers provided an insight into why change is hard, and Esko Reinikainen spoke about network mapping and analysis.

It was also the second time this year I've attended a talk on something I had a major hand in creating. This time it was Nic Teeman's session on Pipeline, something I built in 2014 with Ben Cheetham; earlier in the year it was the LGDSS.

Saturday's unconference sessions were excellent and all those I attended focused on people and organisational culture more than tech. Whilst tech isn't easy, it's getting easier, which can mean the gap between what's possible and the culture that supports the status quo widens.

Councillors Neil Prior, John Reed, Julia Berry and others gave me a good insight into members' attitudes to change, whist another session run by Jon Bell focused on apathy and resistance. Another session on discovery also helped me learn more about what a decent discovery phase should deliver.

Some of my favourite conversations were actually outside the event. One example was how Brexit is personally affecting Esko Reinikainen. I really hope he doesn't leave the UK. I don't know him that well, but every encounter I've had with him has been thought provoking or amusing, and usually is a mixture of both.

Another was with Alex Coley and Martin Dainton, about many things including why we serve as members or officers in local government, and how the path of science and tech may radically change from the course we think it will take. For example, during the space race it was widely believed that by 2018 humankind would have visited Mars and beyond. With this in mind, will the advances in AI many predict actually happen?

We may see changes to the format of LocalGovCamp 2019, but as always they need to be based on user need, so please do complete the feedback form that'll be published in the next couple of weeks, whether you attended or not.

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