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Scotlland Web2 activity – update

Hello everyone

James Purser wrote a great update about an event in Australia. I was moved to write about ScotWeb2 which I organised on Friday June 19th.

We blog here

This was ScotWeb2’s second gathering. We are only 5,000,000 people so to get 60 of them into a room in mid-June is fantastis. However, unlike USA and Australia, Scottish politicians ( at a national and local level ) still do not get web2 at all. They are very reluctant to adopt anything that they did not invent themselves apparently. They show no leadership and they do not like the idea of democratic participation, or citizen involvement. This can be done only when it suits them.

We had a fantastic story in England this week where the city of Plymouth ( departure point for the Mayflower for USA readers ) tried to ban twitter use by all employees and councillors. Plymouth is a democratically repressive as Iran were the quotes in the press.

We had a fantastic event mainly because we had a great band of speakers, really committed and participative attendees, and the cleverly crafted socialbysocial game to change the tempo after mid-morning.

As last time, James Munro from Patient Opinion gave the opening talk, and we could sense that they are growing, despite not because of the NHS supporting the customer voice.

Stewart Kirkpatrick from w00tonomy reminded us of the value of user generated content.

Stuart Harrison ( thanks for coming all that way from England ) gave a great insight into twitter, and how he and Lichfield district council for whom he works, are using the application. He is a multi-talented proponent of technology, and other ways of using the web to get messages across.

Mike McTernan from Rapid Mobile wanted to know how people might use mobile in new ways. We had a great example of the simple ways in which Africa, specifically in this case, Malawi uses mobile technology.

The Learning Pool folks were over from Derry and it was lovely to meet Mary in person. Thanks so much to you all for coming. Paul had a plane to catch to get back home, so he showed us how much time and money can be saved with on-line training. I was thrilled to hear that they are working on serious games, and will definitely be in touch.

Al Tibett from Greener Leith explained how their organisation has grown using face to face communication backed up by extensive use of the web, and has been an on-line charity from inception.

Then we played the socialbysocial game and worked out in 5 groups what sort of actions might be needed to help Edinburgh transport, combat the recession, promote education and young people,ork with the environment, and engage the community to hear the voice of the citizen.It was fantastic to see the human dynamics in the room changing, as everyone played their game challenge on their table. Drew and David were extremely effective masters of ceremonies.

We will be doing more of this type of work with the city of Edinburgh council on June 30th. We are kindly invited to run a workshop on how citizens experiences and ideas can help design services.

Interesting in this context to see the post about Government waste of money on IT ( about £ 120 billion ). This comment suggests, as all of us at the event probably agree, that the citizen needs to be at the heart of the design ; government is ” institutionally incapable ” of delivering services in 2009 with the structures, IT systems and business processes that it has. It should listen, and in many cases get out of the way or remove itself.

After a healthy bowl of delicious soup from our wonderful hosts The Melting Pot, we heard from Mark Ballard at SCVO about the challenges the voluntary and not-for-profit sector face with web2.0 adoption.

Then the talk I had been waiting for from Iain Henderson mydex about Vendor Relationship Management. This will enable the individual to choose what they tell their vendors, either private or public sector. Give us back our identity is a powerful message, and the business case for supplier and individual is compelling.

Suraj from Jadu who spoke afterwards said that mydex is a paradigm shift, and I agree.

Suraj and Jadu have designed East Lothian web site, and it would be great if they could build a business in Scotland. Public sector websites on the whole are very poor and in real need of value for money re-designing. Citizens ought to be involved in this as well. After all, it is our money that pays for councils and our lives that are influenced by their services.

Finally James Coltham gave a pretty simple summary of accessibility issues. He blogs on this and other subjects, and would love to hear from others interested in accessibility.

Other things I learnt on the day

* Edinburgh Council education department will apparently not let school teachers or pupils build web sites in school time – this is one to follow up as I could have misinterpreted the statement
* One of the guests does the IT for the Homeless World Cup
* The pupils from Firrhill and Drummond High schools have great ICT teachers

It was a lot of fun and final thanks to Liz Ainan for covering it all so well

Everyone was then away by 1545, some to the pub, some to Dave Briggs localgovcamp in Birmingham, and others to Anna Maybank’s SICamp in Glasgow.

Busy times for web2.0

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James Purser

Sounds like a good meetup. Don’t get downhearted about your local reps, everyone has to start somewhere. Patience is the key I think in any Gov2.0 activity.


Great update. I agree with James. Change is a brewing but it takes time. It’s not just a technology change. It’s a cultural and power change as well. But just like web 1.0 where gov’t agency put up a fuss about getting gov’t websites and allowing employees access to the Internet. The same is true with Gov 2.0 but eventually it will happen. Keep us updated and let me know how I can help in any way.