Archive for July, 2010

On Saturday July 17 the City of Ottawa hosted the second Ottawa ChangeCamp (#cco10) – an event originating in Toronto as a result of the forward-thinking of Mark KuznickiChangeCamp events are taking place across Canada to discuss the evolution of government and citizenship in the modern era of participatory engagement.

#cco10 in itself was an excellent example of collaboration between government and citizens, as it was co-organized by a large group of community members and city representatives.  The unconference format really empowers all conference participants to be active contributors to the event – participants set the agenda, choose exactly which conversations to participate in, and are ultimately responsible for the content and outcomes of the event.  The discussions that I was part of at #cco10 were excellent!  Having been to both ChangeCamp unconferences in Ottawa, I think the event format itself is very conducive to the objectives behind the ChangeCamp principles.

However, one of the (surprising) shortcomings of ChangeCamp – not just in Ottawa, but across Canada – is the lack of an appropriate online community tool to support each ChangeCamp, encourage ongoing interactions between the F2F events, and to link together the various events happening across Canada. Lots of great ideas are being discussed at these events, and there is huge potential for these ideas to evolve into some remarkable deliverables – especially if each event can build upon the discussions of others.

I’ve felt that both Ottawa events have lacked in the online tools to support the event itself.  All of the ChangeCamp events are also off in their own space(s), without much integration happening.  The changecamp.ca website does try to provide an environment to support ChangeCamp, and this isn’t a criticism of that website.  However, I think the series of events have outgrown the existing space (and the original intent behind that space), and ChangeCamp could benefit from an enhanced online community space.

Some of the features I think are important in a centralized ChangeCamp community space:

  1. Participant profiles, including a way to filter by City, subject/topic, expertise; also useful for registration
  2. Event pages, with registration, grid setup, background info, keynote sections, session pages
  3. A sophisticated way to capture session discussions on a single page:
    1. Subject/Topic title
    2. Video(s) from the session – pitch and discussions, easy to upload directly from the event (YouTube, embedded on the page)
    3. Easy way to add notes from the session
    4. embed photos/album
    5. Discussion thread
  4. Tagging/categorizing/search capability to organize and create linkages between related topics

The single biggest challenge, and shortcoming of both Ottawa ChangeCamps is the lack of a good online environment to both support the event, and to support ongoing dialogue and interactions following the events.

Having recently seen a demo of OPSpedia, I think the tool that they have developed would serve the ChangeCamp community very well.  I have made an appeal to David Tallan, Colin Chan, and Darren Chartier to share the OPSpedia code through SourceForge, and would encourage others to do the same.

In the interim, how can we enhance, and bring together the disparate ChangeCamp communities across Canada online?

The ChangeCamp concept has certainly proven to be successful for the F2F events, and I could see these being regular annual/bi-annual or even quarterly events … it would certainly be easier to organize, and yield far greater ongoing results if supported by a more mature online environment.

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An important part of my role as a web communications strategist is to stay connected to other practitioners engaged in web communications, social media, web 2.0, etc – particularly in government, but of course there is always value in seeing what’s happening outside of government circles as well.

Below are some online and face-to-face communities and groups that I am connected with, and which I feel provide a great way to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in online communications.

GovLoop

govloopA facebook-type of online space and community dedicated to connecting government employees from around the world.  GovLoop has hundreds (maybe thousands?) of different groups, forums, blogs, etc where participants can share best practices, ask questions, and connect with other like-minded people on issues of common interest.  It’s easy to create your own profile, search for “friends” and connect with them, blog, join groups, etc.   If you’re not on GovLoop already, I highly recommend joining!

www.govloop.com

#W2P

w2pThis is a less-formal but very beneficial local Ottawa community of government practitioners interested in Web 2.0 use in/for government.  Organized by Doug Bastien using Twitter and TwitVite (ex: http://twtvite.com/BC-GA) this group meets regularly to discuss a variety of issues related to web 2.0/social media use in government.  Focus tends to be on federal government, but there are many issues that apply at the local level.  The W2P community has also organized an annual (free!) full-day networking event for the past two years.  I attended the event this year, and it was on-par with conferences organized by ALI and the Conference Board – each of which cost > $1000 pp.  Well worth connecting with #W2P on twitter and going out to their meetings and events.

CPS Renewal / Nick Charney

cpsrenewal

Ok so this isn’t a community, but rather a very active “connector” in social media for government, and definitely someone to connect with!  Follow Nick on Twitter, and read Nick’s blog to stay in the loop on the latest trends and happenings (particularly in Ottawa) around web 2.0/social media and government, and government transformation.

Third Tuesday Ottawa

thirdtuesdayWhile not focused specifically on government, the Third Tuesday Ottawa Meetups are about bringing together people in a F2F venue from Ottawa to discuss communications and marketing.  Many of the speakers and topics in the past have focused on social media use and web 2.0, and have been presented by government employees.  Worth joining the group and keeping an eye out for topics of interest.

Social Media Breakfast Ottawa

smbottawaWith a specific focus on social media, these events are a great way to meet other local people in a F2F venue interested in social media.  Not focused specifically on government, these events are typically an interesting way to learn and share about novel uses of social media tools and approaches.  They have in the past taken place at Gowlings on Elgin Street right across from City Hall – conveniently located to drop by before work (usually from 7:30-9am)

http://smbottawa.sixent.com

Girl Geek Dinner Ottawa

GGDOttawaMonthly F2F events aimed to make technology accessible and interesting to all age groups and all people, particularly women.  The dinners are always held in pubs, bars or restaurants and there is usually a speaker (or several) who talk for a short while on a chosen subject for the evening.  I’ve never been to one of their events, but have heard great things about them!

http://girlgeekdinnersottawa.com/

I’m sure I’ve missed lots of other great communities, groups, networks worth mentioning – please share your examples of local Ottawa F2F and online groups.