GovCamp 2012 was awesome. With two days of packed and uber interesting un-conference style talks, coupled with an opportunity to talk to and debate with a whole host of varied people, the event was truly worth working on a Saturday for ;).

In a true round-up style I thought I would go for a nice take-home-pointers blog post.

5 things we learnt from meeting people:

  1. Best practice needs to be shared more. We need to build a greater network of conversation and trust.
  2. Consultation needs to be fluid. Statutory rules on consultation may be too rigid?
  3. Digital maturity is varied within organisations. Recognising this both internally and externally is key.
  4. We need to find and target key nodes within a network. Once we have recognised this we can start to connect people. Connecting people leads to better governance.
  5. Is digital by default over-rated? One camper mentioned heralding The WI as a key player. Grounding consultation in a digital age is still important.

5 things we learnt from the awesome un-conference sessions:

  1. ‘Radical’ websites should become the norm and designed from the bottom up. We need to start looking at websites in terms of what people actually want. We like Utah and Calgary who both use clean and user friendly search portals as their home page sites.
  2. Agile working methods are awesome. We should move away from ‘black-boxing development’. Agile methods should be heralded as the norm.
  3. Don’t forget the end user. We need to advocate a culture of starting with the end user when designing websites and consultation questions.
  4. Manage expectations within consultations. People need to have context and a reasonable set of boundaries.
  5. Sites need to be streamlined and simplified. As one camper mentioned “portals can end up being a hungry mouth which needs feeding information”.

5 things we would like to see next time:

  1. More real life examples on how to apply things in practice. Examples help people go away from Govcamp and start putting their thoughts into practice.
  2. Further examination of bottom up thinking – where does the user journey start and how can we get back to this point?
  3. More focus on futurology – what will our digital environment look like in 5-10 years? What counts as digital literacy and how can we aid this?
  4. How can we connect the feedback loops? How does the nature of decisions change as a result of consultation.
  5. How can we promote buy-in and the awesomeness of digital. Practical tips for spreading the word need to be advocated.

The two day event certainly prompted some take home thoughts – if I am honest this blog post started off as a small essay; I have trimmed it for snappy readers. Thanks to Dave Briggs and Steph Gray for making such event possible and happen 🙂