Write up of the Open Gov event

I thought I’d get some notes down while it was fresh, and while my tea simmers on the hob. I went to the Open Gov event today, at London’s British Computer Society. The programme can be found here. It was pitched as “A practical one-day conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities of social technologies to enable engagement, collaboration, and transparency in government.” I think it had a fair crack at that, with a lot of good debate around the room. No zinging answers, but loads of questions. Look up opengov hashtag to find the train of thought. I think it’s fair to say it still feels like a fringe discussion – lots of great ideas and evangelizing, but not much converting into reality. I’m still waiting for the tipping point. The point at which I can present open government as an effective, even essential, business opportunity to clients.

Anyway – these are just notes, so I’m going to chuck down cool things I saw as bullets. Not going to analyse the whole lot. Definitely not a complete list in, so apologies to any I missed. They reflect the key theme I liked from the day – simple to put up, effective, easy to use and meeting a clear and practical need:

  • Poly Wonk – Mitchell Sava, co-chair of the event, alongside Simon Grice. Sensible chap with sensible ideas. Trying to get govt to think the right way about this stuff. Believes we’re on the threshold of biggest democratic transformation in last 150 years.
  • Debategraph – cool way to visualise debates. Mind you, doubtless not as much fun as having them in the pub.
  • Cabinet Office’s netvibes page
  • Becta’s Ning community – a beloved client of my employer the Team
  • The most excellent communal authoring site Mixed Ink – bear witness to the People’s Inauguration Address written by 455 fellow americans.
  • Tweetminster – although if you find yourself spending too long on this site, you may need to get a life
  • An apparent “must read” paper by Pew Internet Society on the Internet’s Role in [US] Campaign 2008
  • Apparently the south bank centre ran a treasure hunt using text messages, and used the data to help plan traffic flows around the building. Though I can’t find nowt about it.
  • A bad way to do online democracy – Whitehouse 2 – too black and white. Too yes and no. Apparently.
  • Delib – tools for online democracy etc
  • Booking Bug – a smart booking system for people like wedding photographers, trying to make in-roads to government. Best of luck. Meanwhile I’ve told my brother – damianbailey.com
  • Digital Engagement Manifesto
  • Letting people talk about where they live on… WhereILive.org
  • A London City Charter – setting ideals by which the city will run itself for citizens. Marvelous.
  • The soon to come out of the oven Be Local – good luck to Simon Grice on that venture
  • Doing cool stuff with transport data – itoworld.com – these guys crammed loads of cool looking sites into a 2 minute slot! I didn’t write them down. FAIL.
  • DIUS’ sandpit – aka Sandbox – where they’re doing some cool low cost, high(er) risk things on the fringes of the DIUS servers.
  • And DIUS digitalgovuk project running on delicious. Helps you find case studies for projects going on in government using a variety of social media. Gold mine stuff. And you can tag stuff too
  • And DIUS’ own netvibes page of course
  • The lady Obama stole from google to run his online campaign, Katie Jane Stanton, who is coming to town this summer for a Q&A session. Should be fun.
  • Take photos of rubbish, it gets cleaned up I lovelewisham.org (but I still moved to Surrey!) Apparently they’re getting bored old people to take photos of pot holes!
  • GovTalk – the home of government API on the net?
  • Job Centre Pro Plus – cutting through the crap to do postcode search on Job Centre Plus. Amazingly, this probably would have taken a month long, expensive change request via formal routes. Though site wasn’t working last time I checked
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2 responses to “Write up of the Open Gov event

  1. Thanks for the list – sorry we didn’t get to chat during the day.

  2. Maybe next time.

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