Following the successes of their smaller, localised events (like the one we went to in Edinburgh last year), the good folks at OneTeamGov have been working away for months to produce their first global unconference. It all came together and on July 16th some of the Delib team headed to London to get stuck in.
Ludwig and Louise were volunteering, meaning they spent their day greeting attendees, helping with sessions and giving out many high-fives. With our Australian colleague Katharine in the country visiting the UK office and our newest recruit Chris having only just started with the company, it only made sense to send them along too, to get their first taste of an unconference. Between the four of them, Delib were representing Germany, the UK, Australia and America and were ready to meet other attendees from around the world.
Chris and Katharine enjoyed the day and reported back on it:
It was our first unconference experience and with over 700 people attending it was an amazing opportunity to meet with representatives from government departments from around the world including Canada, Estonia, USA, Sweden, New Zealand and the UK.
On first arrival, we were hesitant of the structure and organization of the day; how the heck were they going to manage 700 people all day without a fixed agenda? We quickly saw the magic of OneTeamGov and the unconference structure as the room filled with some of the brightest and most eager minds in government and civic tech. A session grid swiftly formed outlining nearly 75 topics structured over 4 sessions. Topics ranged from ‘What is the real potential for AI & Data science & data to change public services?’ to ‘Open All Data’. There were even some recharge sessions involving knitting and yoga.
One of the questions posed and discussed was ‘How to really integrate citizen voices into policy making’: this session was quite interactive, mapping out of the steps that required consideration. The discussion also explored the notion that the popular vote is not always the best choice for a community and we noted that public opinion should be taken as valuable insight but decisions still needed to be made by the publicly elected officials.
It was interesting to discuss the perception of feedback from citizens who felt that their comments could adversely affect their personal outcomes from a government agency – for example, applying for a visa and then asking about someone’s experience on the process meant that a lot false positives are received.
Another memorable (and topical) session was ‘How can we radically raise trust in public institutions (in a completely new way)?’. Here, we laid out what we thought the indicators to measure trust in government are, including competency, communication and compassion (emotional or logical). The issue of feedback and conversation was a key indicator, as we discussed the need for governments to ‘close the loop’ with citizens and to not allow civic participation to fall on deaf ears. Citizen Space’s robust response publishing and ‘We Asked, You Said, We Did” tools made an appearance in the conversation at this point! Grass-root government at a local level was seen as a popular approach to raise trust, as well as personalised government service delivery and direct contact with people to build relationships.
Overall, it was an exciting and stimulating day. We look forward to attending more OneTeamGov events in the future.
Thanks Chris and Katharine, sounds like a busy and informative day! As ever, we can’t wait for what OneTeamGov have got up their sleeves next. If you fancy chatting to us more about the day, or anything else, get in touch.