When I walked into the main room at the QEII Conference Centre yesterday I genuinely gasped. It is one thing to intellectually be aware of the fact that #OneTeamGov had become this massive movement but it is something else to see it in the flesh! It was really quite remarkable.
I spent the day chatting to friends old and new, introducing people to each other, promoting #weeknotes and my jobs newsletter and generally having a lovely day. What I didn’t do is attend any sessions. Nor did I get into any deep conversations about ‘fixing government’ — in fact I politely excused myself from a couple as they warmed up. That just isn’t where my head is anymore. I admire the passion of those who are forever tilting at those windmills — and there seemed to be a lot of them— but my ambitions are much narrower these days.
The original Govcamp folks are my people I guess — before GDS was even a consideration let along OTG. I’ve been in and around these conversations a long time now one way or another. I burned out and became a bit cynical despite some wins. Battle scarred I’ve retreated. Hell I’m not even #ofthegovernment anymore. For now.
OneTeamGov is a much broader church than we ever were back in the day — more people, more backgrounds, more seniority. The context has changed (for financial crisis read Brexit) but a crisis is a crisis and they shouldn’t be wasted. Everyone seems more enthusiastic and positive than I can ever remember us ever being and I really do hope they succeed where we…well we didn’t fail as much as stumble. They need to find their own way and that is going to mean having a lot of the same conversations as have been happening for a decade. There is no way to avoid that and me sitting in the room sighing and going all “in my day we walked five miles in the snow with bare feet to engage with our users” is not going to help. I’m removing my cynicism from the equation for a while — it is time for fresh ideas and approaches. Or even the old approaches with some fresh faces!
All this said it is clear #weeknotes has become integrated in to the OTG world and that sub-community is incredibly important to me — I’m honoured to have played a tiny part in that group coming together so I’m going nowhere.
Also I’m thinking of broadening out the scope of the jobs I cover in my newsletter to better reflect the breadth of the OTG community — not entirely sure how yet to be honest!
So anyway — it was an AMAZING event. All the organisers, volunteers, international travellers and everyone else should be VERY proud. Seriously. I was proud just to know some of you.