Post #Camp Blogging

I think perhaps I’ve been doing it wrong.

UKGovCamp (#ukgc16) was my 6th civic/digital conference since I started #camping. And I seem to have fallen into this habit of coming back buzzing with ideas and new perspectives, determined to write a great blog post, fully referenced with links and embedded tweets. Just as soon as I have time.

This happened after UKHealthCamp in Nov 15 – a brilliant event. Thanks again @puntofisso, @sheldonline, @thatdavidmiller and especially all the clinicians who added so much. I really enjoyed it and have lots more to say, but that sense I’ve got to ‘do it properly’ means that two months later it’s still not started.

Time to pivot. So this is a quick and dirty first impressions post. It’ll have some hooks to future blogs I want to write, but they’re not binding commitments.

The run-up was exciting. I actually sat in a lay-by just before noon on the day of the first batch release pressing refresh on EventBrite as the pips were on the radio. Which worked. The other significant run-up activity was making the case to get Dstl to sponsor #ukgc16. Which, after a much longer wait, also worked.

The session pitching session felt really energised. Big queue straight away. Lots of great people and topics. I’d posted a submission to the new UK Digital Strategy a few days previously (calling for more effort to be put into support for civil servants so they can better support citizens) and it seemed it might make a good session topic. @pubstrat had been thinking some similar thoughts, but articulating them more eloquently, and we agreed to merge pitches and run a joint session – so that sorted out what I was doing for session three.

Before that I went to “Using and shaping networks for system change” led by @curiousc and “Procurement: good, bad and ugly and how it all actually works” led by @harrym and @ianmakgill. Both were great conversations, but very different in tone and target, so a good contrasting pair for the morning.

After co-leading “Paper stops us thinking…” with Stefan I was feeling a bit drained and went in search of cold water and a break. That led me to the cloak room and a quiet, but really pleasant, chat with @ashroplad, who I’d not met before, and a couple of other good folk who I had. Great to take a break from the full-on sessions, even better to find a reflective conversation instead. The down side is that I missed @johnlsheridan talking on legislation, which felt  criminally negligent. I did get some Public Law chat in the pub later.

I ended the formal part of the day by joining @blangry’s review of the year session. Lots of interesting observations about the nature of people, bosses, departments and Departments (of State). I fear my discretion filter may have malfunctioned once or twice, but fortunately this was a ‘what’s said in the room stays in the room’ no notes session.

Drinks later and meeting a bunch of people in real life who’d previously only been Twitter avatars or podcast voices. Amongst these were @jukesie (who of course I met in a corridor), @janethughes, @blangry, @harrym, @reinikainen and @likeaword. Also met a bunch of new people.  Lots of people kind enough to take an interest in what happens in my next #OfTheGovernment chapter.

That’s it for now, except to say thanks to the #ukgc16 organisers: @baskers, @nickmhalliday, @puntofisso, @techforevil, @veewilliams and @jacatell – the unconference compère beyond compare. He can have the last word:

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