So what started as a bit of a joke now appears to be an annual thing that people expect (well a handful of them anyway) and who am I to disappoint my audience.
Blogger(s) of the year
Once again it was a great year for blogging — it does feel like there has been a real renaissance with people getting out there and hitting the publish button. It is disappointing that the main GDS blog seems to have lost its way but that has just pushed the interesting stuff out to a more diverse set of venues.
However I’m going to show some favouritism here as I am giving a joint Jukesie to the #weeknotes community! This year it has really blossomed with lots of people giving it a go and rockstars like Dan and Ryan really moving things on. It really became what I always wanted from it so thanks to everyone who contributed!
Blogpost of the year
There were a lot of posts that stuck with me this year — a few from the Doteveryone team and especially this one about Digital Understanding and this one by Janet about what a digital organisation really looks like.
I also enjoyed Leisa’s ode to her public service career a great deal as well as Richard’s series of retrospective posts about his time at GDS.
There are many, many more that are worthy of attention but my favourite — because it directly addressed a long term bug bear of mine was:
Alpha to Live is not a linear progression by Michael Brunton-Spall.
Surprise of the year
The bloody snap election. It was a really weird experience all round. In that it was by its very nature a surprise and also in that it was my first election in 15 years not under purdah and I found that very, very strange.
The Semantic Web award for tech for techs sake award
Honestly I am fed the f**k up with reading think pieces about robots stealing jobs and artificial intelligence wiping us out. Seriously get Netflix to recommend me a TV show I haven’t already watched on their platform or Amazon to recommend something I haven’t already bought — from them — and I’ll start believing. For now though I have other things to worry about.
Talk of the year
I’m going to give this as a joint award for very different reasons.
The talk I enjoyed most was this one from Stuart Curran about visual vocabulary to visual language at Manchester World IA Day. It was basically about comics and information architecture and I loved it.
The most impressive talk I saw though was by Lauren Currie at Camp Digital. It was a great talk but it was the circumstances that made it so impressive. Opening keynote at a conference at Manchester Town Hall just a couple of days after the Manchester Arena attack was not an easy gig at all. Lauren set the tone for the whole day.
Event of the year
I attended a bunch of events this year including getting to the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC for the first time.
Two stood out though.
The runner up is OpenDataCamp in Belfast. Talking an unconference to a new location each time is risky enough but taking it to Belfast seemed to be really pushing things. In fact it was brilliant — a great turn out, in a smashing venue and Belfast turned out to be a great city (though I couldn’t really understand some of the locals!) Well done to the organisers!
The winner though had to be getting to go along and help celebrate Ann and Dai’s wedding! The total power couple of digital transformation have always been great to me and it was lovely seeing them on their day with so many wonderful people in attendance. Also Sharon gave an awesome speech.
Tweet(s) of the year
Team of the year
I’m not sure they are a team in the traditional sense (but maybe that is changing) but as an outsider looking in these days the work of the One Team Gov gang has been really quite inspiring. It is obviously a tough time to be in Government but their ambition and purpose really impresses me.