One Saturday in January I jumped on an early morning train from Bath to London to go to a BarCamp. My expectations weren’t enormously high. I’d heard they were very geeky, get your laptop out and code type affairs and that, quite frankly, is not me. And it wasn’t BarCampUKGovWeb08 either. And I doubt it will be the case for the 09 event which again is happening in January.
BarCamp was in fact just what I, and many others, want from conferences: expert speakers who know what they are talking about and not selling you something; an interesting and full agenda (made up on the day); and lots and lots of networking with folk you want to meet.
My one complaint from this year’s event is that not enough non-techie government types were there. There were enormous numbers of ideas and some very committed comms and IT related civil servants but not enough policy and service types who inevitably need to buy into Gov2.0 to make it happen. So I added an action point to the To Do on the BarCamp wiki that we must spread the word to that type of person.
So if you’re working in Local Government and have wondered what the hype about Gov2.0 is, but not wanted to get pitches from expensive technology firms; if you understand the realities of trying to get councillors to adapt and engage with communities; if you recognise the value of the information that local government holds but wonder how to use it best; then BarCampUKGovweb09 is where you should be on Saturday 31st January 2009. Sign up on the Wiki or email me and I’ll do that for you.
Others blogging about it include: