Thursday, 20 March 2014

Planning makers perfect

LocalGovCamp, the unconference for local government takes place in Birmingham on Saturday 21 June and is this year it's organised by LocalGov Digital.

In addition to the main event, there are also fringe events on Friday 20 June, including a hack day, run by LocalGov Digital Makers in partnership with Nesta.

A hack day is an event in which programmers and others involved in digital development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on projects.

As part of the planning, Makers are running a survey to find problems that people in, or who use the services of local government face which could be solved by a hack day. It runs until 30th March and you can see the survey here.

Hack days usually run at weekends as it makes them easier to attend. People don't have to take a day off or ask their boss if they can go. So are there any benefits to running an event like this on a Friday?

I think so and here's why.

Running the event on a Friday means they'll be digital teams all over the country at work, and via the magic of the internet they'll be able to participate.

Through GitHub, a platform for software development projects and collaboration, those working inside the room will be able to share what they're doing.

This means that prototypes developed at the hack could be "forked" or copied and modified remotely by those not attending in person. They could even be tested out on real users and feedback

If there were a few predefined challenges from suggestions in the survey, it would make it a lot easier for anyone who wanted to get a group of users together remotely as they'd have an idea about what they'd be testing.

Google+ can help too and running a Hangout On Air means there could be an open video link between the event and the outside world. I know some organisations block Google+ but YouTube often isn't so at least most will be able to watch, even if they can't participate via this medium. Of course they'll be Twitter and other social media too.

Too ambitious? Probably.

Will it work as planned? Probably not.

Whatever you think, I'm keen to hear your views.

This blog is written by Phil Rumens, Vice-Chair of LocalGov Digital, lead for LGMakers and who manages the digital services team at a local authority in England.

The opinions expressed in this weblog are my own personal views and in no way represent any organisation I may have worked for, currently work for, might be thinking of working for, might not be thinking of working for or have never worked for. In fact having said that they, might not even be my views any more as I might have changed my mind so I wouldn't take any of it too seriously.