The UK innovation agency NESTA has just launched a a major exploration of the future of hyperlocal media – covering everything from struggling local papers, and reduced local BBC services, through to new Government-backed local TV, and the blogs, online communities and radio stations run by passionate digital activists. The programme is starting with mapping who is doing what, followed by formation of a partnership, foresight research, and funding for innovative pilots. More here in my earlier post. Below I suggest NESTA might consider a more open process to complement current plans.
For the past few years people involved in websites and other digital stuff for for central and local government, and anyone else interested in civic services and interactions, have got together for free, open conferences organised by volunteers, with no set agenda, a minimum of Powerpoint and a max of conversation. Here’s the first one I reported, organised by Jeremy Gould in 2008. It was hugely stimulting … even slightly shocking … to see such creativity released from the realms of bureaucracy. Other unconferences followed specifically for local government, and other interests.
Today I went to ukgovcamp2012 organised by Steph Grey and Dave Briggs, hosted by Microsoft, with an attendance list of more than 200 people over two days, and around a dozen sponsors large and small. read more