Gov:West thoughts

So despite promising myself I wouldn’t run any more events I had this nagging idea for a Govcamp inspired mini-conference (I bottled the unconference idea!) consisting of local speakers and the odd guest from the ‘smoke’.

Thanks to some seed funding from the UKGovcamp gang and equally importantly the opportunity of making it a part of the Bath Digital Festival it ended up being hard to resist and so a few DMs were tweeted, a few emails were sent and a few favours were requested and before I knew it I had an event on my hands!

About 35 people came along to the Innovation Centre in Bath to listen to seven invited speakers talking on a wide range of topics with the loose theme of being ‘gov’ related (or in the case of Shane – just interesting!) and watch me fail to keep things run on time 🙂

I’d like to thank all the speakers as I think everyone did a great job. There was a decent buzz on Twitter throughout the day (despite an awful lof of people going old school with paper and pen!) and in particular Daffydds cookie talk and Carls refreshingly honest talk about ‘content strategy’ (which isn’t what I’d call a content strategy but is a brilliant plan!) really getting peoples attention – but everyone was great and alot of people I spoke to after had enjoyed a whole range of talks and had taken different things from them.

From a personal point of view I got alot out of the day – both with inspiration from a number of the talks but also a real sense of achievement for getting the event to happen. I get **really** stressed when I organise events and each time in the run up I have serious regrets but this is the first time I haven’t also come away promising myself I won’t ever do it again. In fact quite the opposite – I think I want to try and see if there is any appetite for something semi-regular – maybe trying a slightly different format out that Lisa suggested in the bar after.

There are alof of people I would have liked to get to speak and a couple of them were really up for it but circumstances prevented their involvement – maybe GovWestToo would give them an opportunity to come along. I also wonder if there is a better way of me gettng the word out about the event – although we ‘sold out’ 20 people just didn’t show up on the day – always a peril with free events – but I need to think of a way of managing that better.

Carl is also considering a GovCampSW down in Exeter which I will try to attend and help out with if there is anything I can add – I am thinking I need to speak more at these events in the future and do less organising though!

So again thankyou to the speakers and everyone who came along and extra special thanks to Eduserv for sponsoring the beers after. There were alot less of us taking advantage of it than we expected but I in particular enjoyed it 🙂

[oh and a special thankyou to SPARKIE award winning Mike Ellis for putting the whole festival together!]

4 responses to “Gov:West thoughts”

  1. Hi — I’m one of the people who couldn’t make the event but I couldn’t find a way to cancel & let the waiting list people know. As it happened, I think I did get myself cancelled via twitter contacts, but that might explain all your no shows. I look forward to GWII & hope I’ll make it this time. I do think it’s a brilliant idea & I would love to understand government better & also help find new ways to connect it to the community.

  2. actually you were one of 2 people I did know were not coming 🙂 Eventbrite doesn’t make it hugely easy and the way the Festival embedded Eventbrite made it even harder so its to be expected (but some people who didn’t show have several ways to contact me personally.)

  3. […] The idea of blogging as ‘open practice’ is reasonably well established (I think?) and in HE there are some teams who do a brilliant job of this (I am regularly in debt to posts from the Edge Hill and Bath web teams) and the more of this that happens the better for everyone [I think]. The GOVUK team have taken this much further though – blogging pretty much all their thinking even at early stages, using Github to share code (and more), even having an open to the public Pivotal Tracker project backlog (pretty much completed now..) and speaking at all sorts of events big and small (including GovWest!). […]

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