I spent yesterday at the Transformed by You event in Medway. Organised by Kent County Council and Medway Council, the day was about getting people together to come up with innovative solutions to local issues, with a particular focus on online services.
The event was designed to take some aspects of the unconference/barcamp approach, but use them in a slightly more structured way to help the flow of the day. It’s a first for us as councils so the day was also about understanding how these kind of techniques could be used in a local government consultation or engagement context.
We had 23 delegates at the event from across Kent and Medway – with a really interesting mix of people from all sorts of different backgrounds and places.
Before the event people could propose ideas for topics they wanted to explore on a Uservoice site and a voting system was used to help reflect the popularity of different ideas. Then in the first session this morning people volunteered themselves to work in groups on the topics that interested them most. The four areas that we started the day with were:
- How to reach the “hard to reach” groups in communities
- Finding out what’s going on in your local area
- Asking your council a question
- Tackling challenges using mobile or smart phones.
The morning session was spent thrashing out what the actual issue was that each group wanted to tackle, identifying who is being served/who’s involved in the issue and how a solution to it might work. Then after the lunch break it was onto more detail about what each group was actually producing, which was where each group’s work took very different directions depending on the issue they were working on.
Here are the videos from each group presenting back the work they’d done during the day:
And here’s Carol Patrick from Kent County Council and yours truly summing up at the end of the day:
All in all a great day – some really great thinking that could be taken forward in a variety of different guises both by the councils and the broader community. Plus it was good to catch up with a number of people I’ve not seen in a while and especially to meet lots of people I’ve “known” online for a while but have never met properly – as ever good proof of the power of social media to connect people around areas of shared interest!