Category Archives: asides

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Is a copyrighted pdf report really a toolkit?

The Young Foundation does brilliant work, and there’s lots to interest in their latest The End of Regeneration? Small Estates toolkit. It’s highly relevant when the Conservatives are promoting their Big Society volunteering and social enterprise approach to tackle some of the issues identified here … so let’s share good ideas and action plans based on in-depth research on three estates. It’s a practical scenario against which to test Tory and other policy proposals, and develop real howtos.
BUT – the “toolkit” is just a downloadable pdf with standard copyright, which means it is difficult to link and quote, and cannot be reworked. Not the most useful tool in the box. Another case of communication policy blocking the application of good work for social innovation. Or have I missed something?

All posts asides government local socialbysocial

Local by Social

We always hoped that Social by Social would be a book that could be chunked up and re-written for different audiences interested in social tech for social benefit – and now co-author Andy Gibson has done a great job for local government.
Local by Social: how local authorities can use social media to achieve more with less was commissioned by IDeA and NESTA. As Ingrid Koehler writes at our companion site – – “this document does provide a compelling argument for how social media can be used as a tool (and not as an end in itself) to support engagement, democracy, improved services and perhaps even especially efficiency.”
There’s more details here on the IDeA site, with additional links.
If you are looking for further front-line insights on Web 2.0 for customer service in local authorities, see the latest excellent presentation from Michele Ide-Smith.

The appropriation of citizen empowerment

Kevin Harris offers a strong challenge to the approach RSA is adopting in it’s Citizen Power project in Peterborough, arguing it is the latest example from the empowerment industry of appropriating ideas of citizen action to wonkdom. Prestige launch at London HQ set the tone this month … citizens get their chance in May, when a more open style is promised. I’m hopeful.

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Library 2.0 to close?

Members of the 4000-strong Ning-based network Library 2.0 recently received this message:
“Unless I hear a huge outcry over the next 24 hours, I will shut down this group effective Thursday evening , Feb. 25.  Most people trying to join are spammers or just seeing what they can get into.  I do not want to transfer the ownership of this group to anyone else.  There have only been a few blog posts since the first of the year and hardly any discussions.  The groups appear to be moribund as well”.
Is this another indication that the Summer of Social Media Love is a fading memory? See also Will Social Media Eat ItselfSome support for keeping Library 2.0, so maybe it’s just a rather robust way of engaging with the members. However, if the Ning Creator wants to close it down, there’s nothing the members can do.

All posts asides events innovation

Beyond unconferencing

Daves Briggs reflects on the recent ukgovcamp unconference he organised, and the need to move beyond conversation: “What we seem to lack is an ecosystem of ideas in public services. Discussions about new ways of doing things, how to change the way things are, how ideas get progressed into prototypes and then into actual delivered services or ways of working”.

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Apply for Community Voices tech grants

The Community Voices programme, run by the Media Trust, now has a new web site and news of grants that will fund 26 community technology projects. They will receive funding of either £1,500, £7,000 or £14,000 as well as support from digital mentors. You can apply here online. Here’s an interview from last year with Gavin Sheppard of the Media Trust about the programme.

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Want contributions? Work together

How do you Get People to Contribute Their Knowledge… by Incentivising them? You don’t says David Gurteen – it just puts them off, makes things worse. David says “Stop doing
things to people and start to work with them!” Rather than “Hello I am
here to help you!” (Oh yea!) Take the attitude “Hello, lets talk and
see how we can better work together.”

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Playing through the Hardwired State

Paul Clarke has an intruiging idea on how to build a bridge for the innovative ideas that are generated through initiatives like Rewired State, Reboot Britain, and Show Us a Better Way into the real world of public service production. In Hardwired State he suggests taking a few great ideas and playing through a simulation with a bunch of people who know all the angles. “Fantasy project manangement”. May have to wait until after the election – or could it be a way to inform the pre-election discussion already starting?

All posts asides collaboration government

Innovation and engagement depend on conversations inside, first

Just before Christmas Dave Briggs wrote a typically thoughtful post about Is government a knowledge business? which led to an interesting discussion which I might sum up as “organisations can’t have useful conversations and collaborate with people externally if people aren’t talking to each other internally”. Roland Harwood has just tweeted “Ironically the biggest challenge of open innovation seems to be internal”. Wonder how Civil Pages is working inside the civil service.

All posts asides Entrepreneurs government

Tories would favour smaller firms for public service contracts

A Tory government, if elected this year, would adopt a post-bureacratic approach and change procurement policies for public service to enable smaller firms to bid, according to Stephan Shakespeare. This could produce a “golden age” for entrepreneurship. He was speaking at the Entrepreneurship Country conference. More here from event organiser Julie Meyer.