Photo credit: Sharon O’Dea
Well, that’s another UK Gov Web Barcamp wrapped up, and #ukgc10 was a corker, not least thanks to the sterling efforts of Dave Briggs to organise the thing, and the generosity of Google in hosting us.
It still impresses me that 120-odd people from all over the country would want to give up their Saturday to talk about government, technology, data and engagement. But it seems we still do.
A little local difficulty meant I missed the morning sessions, unfortunately, but still had a great time in my former colleague Kim’s session on social media for internal communications, Stefan Czerniawski‘s session on improving transactional services online, and Simon Dickson‘s obligatory salon on WordPress (lots of practical questions and note-taking; we’ve clearly moved on from when WordPress was a just a wow new technology).
I jointly did a session with Anthony Zacharzewski and Paul Clarke on persuading politicians and bureaucrats of the value of digital engagement in a climate of cuts. I loved Anthony’s take on the language issues at stake, and his segmentation of the evidence which persuades political and administrative masters, which was bang on the money. My own slides are here:
In a nutshell, I suggested three approaches to making the case:
- Making digital engagement just part of the process of policymaking, not a special set of ‘innovative’ tools to be piloted
- Explaining the changing digital world and the digital engagement activity we do in terms of the real-world impact it has on our own people, our stakeholders, our customers and our costs (a tough one for policy-led environments)
- Pointing to the good company we’re in, not just the wide range of public sector examples of the use of these tools, but also the private sector application of them for customer service and business development
My bottom line was: this is a time to be brave, and argue the case for digital engagement in government as a driver of more efficient and effective policymaking and ministerial engagement – as well as a more cost effective route to service delivery.