Tales from #UKGC14

Tales from #UKGC14

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I’m back at my desk after a busy week learning about Civil Protection in Croatia and then UKGovcamp14 on Saturday.

If you haven’t heard of UKGovCamp before, it’s pitched as “a self-organised unconference for people that work in or around government.” Simples! I’d describe it as a participatory TEDx – it’s about ideas and discussion not information transmission. As well as being generally interested in the discussions, I was curious to see how it linked in to my passions in resilience and SMEM.

This was my first unconference event and I had no idea what to expect, but there was sufficient buzz on twitter before the event to get me up early on a Saturday morning! I attended four sessions, and also got to meet @ceetownsend for a brief demonstration of MusterPoint.

Session 1- BitCoin and Peer-to-Peer lending (Lead by @RichardVeevers)

I’d heard of BitCoins, but if I’m honest I wasn’t at all au fait with the detail (and you can see me frantically wikipedia-ing during the session below!). After 50 minutes of conversation I have more questions than I do answers, but what was clear was that BitCoin (and other global digital currencies) have the potential to bring change, both economically and socially. Unfortunately we ran out of time to talk about peer-to-peer lending more generally. There seem to be some intersections with Community Resilience and emergent volunteer responders, so it’s something I’ll probably explore a bit further.

Session 2 – Datastores and Dashboards (Lead by @MsSaraKelly)

Whilst, I think, the focus of the session was on repositories of information, I attended from the perspective of real-time situational awareness. Many of our city systems are monitored, but what I’m interested in is bringing together diverse information streams into a single platform – like the UCL CityDashboard and Siemens City Cockpit. I think that having a dynamic view of what is happening in a place brings potential advantages for managing and coordinating emergency response and recovery.

Session 3 – Futurology (Lead by @markbraggins)

Emergency Planning is all about considering the future, but what we tend to do is forget that the future is different to the past. Rarely do we sit and consider the longer-term trends – what does it mean for resilience that people are living longer, that the climate is changing, or that many people now have access to the internet? Emergency planning can get caught in the trap of “well this worked in 1973 so it’ll work now” without always recognising that the world is in constant change.

Session 4 – Sketchnoting(Lead by @micheleidesmith)

I’ve tried to find a resilience connection, but failed for this one! I take pages and pages of notes, but it’s always good to challenge your own methods and as they say a picture says a thousand words, so I attended a brief lesson in sketchnoting; essentially the power of the doodle to capture information. I found it interesting, and am planning to trial my skills at an ODI conference tomorrow, but I have some reservations about how well I’ll be able to interpret my visuals a year/month/week down the line (below is my ‘attempt’).



The event was fantastic (and spectacularly well organised), I’m definitely sold on the format and look forward to next year’s event. I would love to see something similar for resilience – I wonder if I’m alone in that, or if other people would find it interesting?


Image Credit: W N Bishop

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