Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa’

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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Re-imagining Government and Citizenship in the Age of Participation

I’m thrilled to be part of the organizing group for the upcoming ChangeCamp event, taking place Saturday May 16 from 8:30-5pm at Ottawa City Hall.  A lot of hard work has gone into the planning of the event from an excellent group of volunteers, and it’ll be great to see the fruits of our labour coming to life.

ChangeCampOttawa-logoChangeCamp is an unconference, meaning that the event provides the framework for discussions – the theme, face-to-face venue, logistical support, gathering participants, and rich online media tools & environment – but the actual content of the event is defined and created by the participants themselves.  So there are no pre-prepared powerpoint presentations, key note speakers, or diatribes from an ‘expert’ to a passive audience.

ChangeCamp is participatory at it’s core.  The event depends upon participants’ active engagement in discussions; people taking the initiative to propose and lead discussions; and for a group of people to self-organize around topics and conversations that most interest them.  The event framework helps to provide some order to this seeming state of anarchy, by providing pre-defined meeting areas for each of the discussions; and an agenda wall for people to share their ideas, and assign a meeting space and time to discuss their topic of choice.

Unconference photo by jdlasica

Discussion topic leaders have the sole responsibility of showing up at the time/space to kickstart the discussion; and ensuring that someone facilitates the discussion, and captures and shares the content (it doesn’t have to be the person who proposed the topic).

Bumble Bee ManThis format is intended to encourage people to come together around specific topics of interest, and to allow people to free-flow around the conference between various conversations and topics to share ideas between groups for a cross-pollination effect.

Participation is key, but it’s not only about the event-day participation among people at the event.  In this Age of Participation the online discussions and interactions are equally as important.  The event participants have been interacting online using a Pathable online community space, and of course through Twitter with the #cco09 hashtag, and the organizers have utilized Google Groups and a wiki space.

The event day will see an explosion in online content, through regular tweets, live blogging, Flickr photos, YouTube videos, and the extensive use of the community wiki to capture notes.  There is also a FriendFeed stream of content, and a NetVibes page to aggregate the different online content.  Hopefully this will help people unable to attend the live event to follow along; and help the event extend beyond this single day to continue the conversations, and drive people to act upon some of the ideas generated at ChangeCamp.

It’s great to bring together this group of like-minded individuals for some interesting discussions; but I’m hoping the real value will be in actions following the event that will improve the way governments and citizens interact.

socialmediabookclub

Last week I attended Ottawa’s first Social Media Book Club meeting, which brought together about a dozen social media enthusiasts from the area.  The meeting was organized by Kelly Rusk from http://web2dotwhat.com/ and Scott Lake.  I’ve actually never been part of a book club before, even though I enjoy reading – so this was a first for me.  I also find it difficult to find the time to sit and chat about social media with like-minded people f2f, so another bonus!

outliersThe book club was also inspiration for me to read a new book, the choice of the month being “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.  Having read “Tipping Point” (and lovin it!), I was pretty excited about Outliers.  In case you haven’t read it already, it’s about different conditions that come together to propel people to excellence in life – examples including Bill Gates journey to world IT domination, which was not just hard work (although the 10,000+ hours of computer time helped!), but also a series of “lucky” circumstances including the time period he was born, access to computer labs when he was young, and a series of opportunities that helped foster his skills.

Gladwell goes on to argue that not all exceptionally skilled people succeed, largely because it takes much more than individual effort, but rather social support to cultivate the skill set and create the right environment for someone to succeed.

One of the interesting topics raised at the book club meeting was, “how does social media influence the ‘outliers’ effect?”  In other words, in today’s connected world, do people have greater opportunities?  Is the playing field leveled?  I would argue that people have greater opportunities to social support networks through social media channels, and this presents more potential to collaborate, share knowledge and ideas, and gain more experience – thus improving the potential for people to become “outliers”.  For example, an aspiring musician has access to a wealth of information, lessons, examples, peers, and mentors online.  Furthermore, it’s easy for someone to connect with other musicians, and even to jam online with others from around the world.  When I was growing up I was limited to jamming with friends from school – and thus the reason I’m not on a world-wide tour today!

I’m not sure yet what the next book club selection will be, but hopefully either “Naked Conversations” or “Here Comes Everybody”, as I have both of them sitting on my bookshelf waiting for some motivation to dig in!

Today is the first day of the transit strike in Ottawa – hopefully it’ll be a short one! I thought I’d do a scan to see where the issue is being discussed in social media circles, and the types of web 2.0 tools being employed to help people deal with the impact (carpooling mostly), and to connect and discuss the issue.

Twitter

Search for “Ottawa Transit” and “OC Transpo” on http://search.twitter.com brings up many posts by people commenting on the strike, including some useful tips such as “b/c of transit strike, on-street, unmetered parking is unlimited in 1, 2, and 3 hour spots. At meters you still have to pay.”; links to news twitter feeds from @cbcnews @macleans (the Magazine) @timesnews @nationalpost

Map Mashups

http://www.ridesnearme.com
http://www.carpoolworld.com/
https://www.ottawaridematch.com
Traffic Camera/Google Maps mashup http://alainthibodeau.com/cameras/

FaceBook Groups

Blogs

Search on http://www.blogpulse.com for blog posts:

  • OC Transpo Strike | as of Dec 11 – 25 posts
  • Ottawa Transit Strike | Dec 11 – 92 posts
  • Ottawa Transit | Dec 11 – 1219 posts
  • OC Transpo | Dec 11 – 276 posts

A search on Technorati and Google Blog Search results in quite a few different bloggers commenting on the strike – certainly a lot of negative sentiment towards OC Transpo:

YouTube

The CTV Interview with OCTranspo Union leader http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr9l8B-Z5Ms
Not a lot of other strike related videos – lots of OC Transpo videos both from riders, and from OCTranspo
Compilation of bus videos http://www.youtube.com/user/newflyer800

Media Website Discussion Spaces

CTV News Story closed their discussion space after 168 comments in just a few hours.
CBC News coverage with 208 comments as of 11AM Wed

Google Trends

ocstrike-dec12-trends1

Do you have any other examples that you’ve come across to share?