GovCampConnect 2016 – Unconferenced

The dust settled on the GovCampConnect 2016 event some months back and with thoughts turning to repeat event in 2017 we thought we would highlight some of topics for those interested in attending in September 2016.

The audience was an ecclectic mix including senior civil servants, data junkies, health service angels, programmers, self-employed consultants and researchers. All citizens with an enthusiasm to see government done better – citizens interested in:

  • Digital Transformation
    • transforming paper processes to online processes as done so well by Kainos and the DVLA services
    • website transformation as done so well by the GDS
  • Open Data
    • by publishing government data with licenses that permit and encourage use by citizens in identifying trends and solving problems. Done well by OpenDataNI and Detail Data
  • Open Source
    • Use of free/open-source software, as used by the private sector and forward-thinking, cost-effective administrations such as Limerick Council

As this was an ‘unconference’ the first task of the day was for the participants to ‘pitch’ their talks to the attendees with each speaker adding a stickie to the event grid (shown here). Anyone could pitch a talk and attendees vote with their feet, attending the talks that interest them the most.

The talk topics included:

  • What does a Smart City look like? (Andrew Bolster)
  • Why Failure Matters (Eoin McFadden)
  • How to make a low cost IT project (Maciej Domanski)
  • Better Transport (Bob Harper)
  • Open Data in Health (Stevan Barry)
  • Open Decision Making OGP Ireland
  • Open Spatial Data for City Modelling (Lorraine Barry)
  • Location, Open-Source & Locode (Phil Weir)
  • Agile for the Curious (Mark Dalgarno)
  • Open Data to Support Storytelling & Public Good
  • Open Data Vision (Deirdre Lee)
  • How to sell to the UK Public Sector (Mary McKenna)
  • Open Data (Trevor Steenson)
  • The Newry City Minecraft Park Project (The Three Amigos)

Mark Dalgarno on Agile

There was so many interesting talks across three rooms it was a shame to miss some of them.

The ones I personally enjoyed included an excellent explanation of how to use Agile methodologies by Mark Dalgarno. Mark explained how Agile works, by using Agile (see the Kanban postits in the photo) – an interesting angle. Maciej Domanski described using open-source software (such as MySQL) to drive a health service research project and hearing from Trevor Steenson was inspiring for someone who, many years ago, left a civil service IT job in frustration.

The highlight of the day was three ten year olds showing their designs for a park in Newry that they had created in Minecraft. The GovCampers were blown away not only by their presentation skills but their ideas and inspiration on how we can do government better.

Before the bus left for Belfast there was a brief historical overview of Narrow Water Castle and a tour of the Elizabethan castle. Those of us who stayed in Warrenpoint enjoyed pints in the Whistledown while the folks on the bus continued the discussions in Belfast.