Last Monday I had a good reason to hop on a 7am train travelling to Cardiff with Natalie Williams, a superb Delib account manager, who literally just taught me some Manx Gaelic – how useful!  I used to live in Cardiff and I miss it, particularly the local beer ‘Brains’, so any excuse to go back is welcomed (sadly I didn’t manage to fit a pint into my day, however I did inhale some fumes from the brewery on the walk to Cardiff Bay).  

The reason for the early train was to attend the OneTeamGov Wales unconference, a gathering with no set agenda, where people can pitch in and lead seminars, which are more of a discussion than a lecture.  Since I’m only four weeks into the role I had to look up what exactly an unconference is and was pleasantly surprised by the format of the day.  Roughly 100 people showed up at 9am, enjoyed the coffee and healthy selection of pastries before we heard the attendees pitch their ideas and decided which ones we wanted to go to.  

There were 30 talks to choose from throughout the day, all very educational, informative and topical.  I went to five, but I thought I’d talk about two of my favourites.

Policy-making in Wales

Whilst living in Cardiff, I noticed a genuine passion residents had for their local community, so I wondered how this crossed over into the world of government and Welsh policy-making.  This talk was particularly well attended as I noticed many people in Welsh government are keen to improve the way policy-making takes place.  It was apparent there were disagreements as to how policy-making should be and to what extent it should involve the public.  On one side of the fence were people who didn’t feel the public were qualified to make comments on policy digitally, whilst on the other side people felt an online majority public consultation would be far more valuable than an exclusive one.  Arguments would bounce back and forth, such as ‘have you ever read comments on the Daily Mail website?’  Esko from Satori Lab did a great job of leading an interesting discussion, which certainly got into the nitty gritty but concluded on a more positive note, recognising useful current trends such as Policy Lab.  Esko also shared some really interesting info about how other countries involve the public when it comes to policy-making, such as Estonia’s new platform called eCitizen.   

Procrastination

Just after lunch, whilst riding a wave of endorphins thanks to some deep fried chicken strips and sweet chilli sauce, I attended a talk on procrastination.  I almost felt as if I was off to see the headmaster to receive a telling off about how I shouldn’t procrastinate, however I was greeted with quite the opposite.  It was a little like an AA meeting for procrastinators and to save you from suspense, we could mostly agree it was a helpful thing!  However I did learn to not leave everything until the last minute, otherwise I would lose about 10 years of my life due to the effects of stress.  But also to use the right tools for every job, which I couldn’t agree more with.  Consulting online? We have the right tool for you.

To conclude, I really enjoyed the day with OneTeamGov in Wales and I’d recommend checking out their next event near you.  They are creating a movement of discussion and collaboration, across government organisations which seems like a very intelligent thing to do.  You will leave with a full tummy, inspired about democracy and making the world of government a better place. If you want to get in touch with me to hear more about the day, or our online consultation tools, drop me a line