Just over five years ago I was the web manager at Walsall Council in the West Midlands. I was asked by my friend and colleague Dan Slee if I wanted to attend the first LocalGovCamp: an unconference where like-minded people talk about innovative stuff.
“Sure” I replied “When is it?”
“Next Saturday.” said Dan.
“Saturday? It’s on a Saturday? No thanks.”
Dan was incredulous that I didn’t want to attend, but I had a good excuse. I was moving back to Australia in a few weeks and my weekends were spent packing cartons and ebaying stuff. Dan has never let me forget that I passed this opportunity up, especially since with the benefit of hindsight, it was a seminal event in his career.
In the last five years there have been dozens of public sector unconferences in the UK, but they don’t seem to have taken off in Australia, yet. Hopefully that’s about to change.
Here are 9 reasons why you should attend GovCamp Australia on Saturday 19 July.
1) There’s a GovCamp Australia near you
Six cities are confirmed for GovCamp Australia: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.
2) Come experience an unconference
There’s no agenda: participants decide on the day what they want to talk about. Fancy learning more about engagement? Write it down as a session idea. Want to talk about digital government? Write it down as a session idea.
You can learn more about how unconferences work in these two ace videos:
‘How unconferences work’ video
‘What is an unconference?’ video
3) Meet and connect with like-minded people
There will be a fantastic mix of people there from inside and outside federal, state and local government, from the worlds of technology and policy, of community and universities.
It’s for digital people, it’s for policy people, it’s for engagement people, it’s for communications people, it’s for senior managers, it’s for everyone!
Come along, meet new people and expand your network.
4) Talk innovation
There will be lots of opportunities to talk innovation, listen to others, ask questions and give advice.
The GovCamp Australia themes are: Sectoral collaboration, Digital innovation, Leading for innovation, Designing services and Engagement & participation.
5) Do innovation
It’s not just a talk fest, it’s also about carrying on the innovative thinking when you get back to work and actually doing something about it. GovCamp is about sharing ideas for public-purpose innovation in ways that support real-world momentum.
6) It’s free
GovCamp Australia is free. However it would be ace if you could do the following:
- turn up on the day (or if you can’t, make sure you release your ticket to someone who can)
- listen, challenge and participate in the conversations
- take responsibility for your own personal learning and development outcomes
- share your learning openly via social streams at the event or on other spaces. This can be via Twitter, a blog post or an email to the organisers sharing your observations.
7) You don’t need permission from the boss
It’s on a Saturday so you don’t need permission from the boss. Invest some time in your professional development.
8) Be part of an ongoing conversation
Hopefully this event will be the beginning of an ongoing, nationwide conversation about innovation in government. Come along on Saturday 19 July and be there from the start.
9) You get to say “This one time, at GovCamp…”
That’s right, in the office after the event you can say “This one time, at GovCamp…” to impress your workmates, thereby displaying what a connected forward-thinking person you are having attended.
Just don’t bring a flute.
What are you waiting for? Register on the GovCamp Australia website. Tell them I sent you and you may receive a fluffy kitten or a box of sparkly unicorn manure upon arrival.*
* Probably not, but tell them I sent you anyway