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Wuthering Bytes – A Festival of Technology in the heart of the Pennines

simon gray 2015-09-30, 17:12:37
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I went to the Wednesday session of Wuthering Bytes, which was called Tomorrow’s People, exploring the future of public service provision and how councils, SMEs and individuals can work together. It was quite a departure from the usual local government technology events I tend to go to in that the topics were more of parallel relevance to my usual job rather than of direct relevance – but that said it was still of use for me to take back to work tomorrow, especially the talk about Open Source Circular Economy Days. It was also an good reminder to those of us who’ve become accustomed to the unconference / Open Space Technology format of events that it’s not the format of the event which makes it good or bad, it’s the quality people who turn up to speak at it.

I’ve not written a prose account of the day, instead, here are my bullet-point notes from the sessions, which may or may not be relevant to people outside of the context of the event itself:

Kathryn Grace – Digital Occupational Therapist – Digital tools and dementia

  • Dad had a sensor which can send a text to a carer if he’s left the gas on
  • NFC check-in and check-out on mobile phones for carers
  • CareZone iOS app for logging all relevant data for his care and medication; also caring.com

Dan Powers – IOU Theatre – The role of the artist in developing technology

  • ‘As a society we implicitly understand the value of play and the imagination’ – Brian Eno

Erica Purvis – Open Source Circular Economy Days

  • Stimulate debate and collaboration
  • Take a hands on, practical approach to creating and sharing
  • Create a lasting, evolving, and enabling space in which the output of the day has some ongoing use and value (eg to be further refined and put in to production), as opposed to usual hackdays where the output is usually lost at the end of the day
  • Linear economy starts off getting raw materials for a product, it being built, sold, and used, and then thrown away when finished with
  • Circular economy is about reusing / recycling products at the end of their initial life
  • One example of this as an OSCE could be if the makers of a discontinued product open sourced the design documents so other people could make spare parts
  • What might be the local government software / information / data analogy of the circular economy?
  • Online engagement
    • Main website / sub-pages
    • Community platform
    • Google hangouts
    • YouTube videos
    • Cloud-based collaboration spaces
    • Webinar discussions
    • Facebook and Twitter
  • Offline engagement
    • Locally organised events and meet-ups
    • Citizen Juries – blind focus groups, where the participants are recruited to the focus group session without knowing in advance what the purpose of the focus group is going to be
    • Standard focus groups both randomly recruited and self-selected where the topic is proposed in advance
  • Flexible, adaptive, common framework
  • Enable, support, and empower in a variety of forms
  • Provide a safe, friendly, and personal environment
  • Build trust through honesty, authenticity, and open collaborations

Damon Hart-Davis – open TRV – Health, wealth, and buses: Internet of Things and carbon

  • Replacing standard rotary temperature controls on radiators with a smart control (costing £10) which can be user-installed and provide energy (temperature) monitoring as well as control
  • Bus companies can now track the locations of buses in real time – the next thing they need to do is track the locations of clusters of people waiting for a bus in real time

Esko Reinikainen – Satori Lab – How to ride a paradigm shift when nobody knows what’s on the other side

  • Think about the mobile phone you had in 1995 – can you imagine then imagining what the phone you have now might have been able to do? Can you even imagine the capability of phones in 2005 between 1995 and now?
  • (Similarly, think about the number of people born this year who in 20 years time will in all probability be doing jobs or college courses which cannot currently be conceived as existing)
  • Futurologists always get predicting the future wrong
  • ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking which created them’ – Albert Einstein
  • A roadmap is no use if the person who created the map didn’t know about the mountain range which is in the way; a compass is more useful – know the direction you need to travel in, and be able to work out how to deal with the mountain range if and when you get to it
  • Remember the GDS axiom – when (re)designing a service, start with the user needs. User needs, not government needs
  • A system is defined by where you place the boundary around it
  • Whilst looking to simplify, embrace complexity – there’s a point at which anything when simplified further will no longer be fit for the purpose it was intended for, so don’t go past that point
  • In a networked environment, openness gives you a competitive advantage – the fundamental prerequisite to openness is the willingness to relinquish some of your existing control

#localgovcamp, #localgovdigital

In group Public / Third Sector Digital

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