The Name Game

I’m still planning on running the event I blogged about back in November. Thanks to Zak it looks like we might have a venue and a number of people have been in touch offering support of one kind or another so I think it is doable.

I have been iterating on the idea a bit though. Two major things have stood out in my planning.

The first is whether the Ignite format might actually be limiting for such an event and that perhaps something a little bit looser but still with a number of short talks on multiple topics might work better? I think I might be falling back on the format that worked well for GovWest back in 2012.

I hope that a less rigid format will make it easier to attract speakers and I’m keen to get a mix of established and new people to step up.

The other, more knotty problem is naming the thing. The people/organisations I have in mind to speak (if I get my wish list) do not fit neatly under the Gov label.

I’ve been reading this post by Tom Steinberg, founder of MySociety, about some of the same problems and it is an interesting read. His suggestion is something he calls the ‘Civic Power’ sector which he further breaks down to four segments;

1. Decision Influencing organisations
2. Regime Changing organisations
3. Citizen Empowering organisations
4. Digital Government organisations

You can see examples of the kind of organisations he sees fitting in each segment in the image below. I think I’d like to see the event lean towards the Citizen Empowering and Digital Government segments – though maybe that is because I have people in mind who neatly fit that idea.


I actually like the word civic. I think the definition is a nice fit for the kind of things that would be talked about;

Civic: of or relating to a citizen, a city, citizenship, or community affairs

The only problem with using ‘civic’ is that is does seem to be a word that is going out of fashion in the UK? I’m not sure that matters, it seems to have enough currency that people grasp the idea.

I’m less sure about the ‘power’ aspect though – I’m not sure why but it feels like a poor fit to me. I haven’t got another suggestion though to be honest 🙂

So at the moment, in my head at least, the event is called Civic-Con. That, as they say, is subject to change!

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