Considerings from #localgovcamp 15


In the true tradition of ‘post event considerings’, due to time restrictions, this year I’ve used some of the suggested feedback questions to tease out my thinking on Localgovcamp 2015.

Firstly a big shout out to the organisers, sponsors, attendees (especially those who came a long way to Leeds). It was a good couple of days and I hope you enjoyed your trip to my home town. I learned stuff and it was good to catch up with others who care about local government.

Continue Reading

Ethics of sharing

Events in Turkey and Eastern Europe this week have rightly been highlighted by the media. The decision to print the image of the younger Syrian brother, who drowned whilst his family were attempting to get to Greece, became a focal point, increasing debate about the migration issue but also about use of the photo.

This isn’t a post about that photo, however I’ll watch that debate with interest as it will no doubt be compared to Nick Ut’s Napalm girl and the image of the Iraqi soldier from the Gulf war. Both images had significant potential to change public opinion if published; which they were.

This is relevant because I’d just launched a photoblog about people watching, following this year’s holiday realisation that I’ve moved from seeing where I go not so much in terms of places but more in terms of how people interact with those places.

Continue Reading

In the eye of the beholder


There are many sculptures in Opatija, Croatia where I spent my summer break. Most of them portray people who have influenced its history. One however has created its own history and captured my imagination. The maiden with the seagull by sculptor Zvonko Car.

I passed it many times whilst walking along the promenade into town, often sitting and wondering who it was, why it was there and how many others had seen it. I imagined she came alive at night and sat on the benches for a rest and talked through people’s problems with them.

Continue Reading

Judging books by covers – #blimage


I’ve struggled to get back into the swing of things since my summer break. Returning to work has been tough which isn’t normal for me and somewhat concerning. I respect that not everyone gets a holiday and I’m lucky to have a good job, so this post is partly me giving myself a good talking to, to snap out of it.

I think a lot of folk, in the public sector especially, are going through big changes and waiting for clarity following the May elections which is perhaps unnerving. Others are interpreting changes and what it all means and comparing thoughts. Interpretation is interesting.

I use experiences from my travels to make me think about things differently and then apply it to my home and work situations. I usually then share it with recent examples here and here. This year was no different but I couldn’t find an appropriate peg to hang it on, and with feeling a bit down, didn’t feel the same need to do it.

So I’ve been looking for something to get me motivated. That sometimes comes from work, sometimes elsewhere and is why I have this blog; to better understand the personal/professional life relationship.

And bingo! I came across #blimage – a challenge to write blog posts on learning, inspired by particular images. You can read more about the challenge from Steve Wheeler in his post Blimey, it’s #blimage.

Continue Reading

Here for the dancing?


Sometimes you just happen to be somewhere at the right moment to witness something you probably wouldn’t have purposely decided to go and see.

First year students of the BPA (Hons) degree in contemporary dance at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance were performing choreography inspired by the historic architecture and gardens at Harewood House and I happened to walk right into the middle of it.

“Are you here for the dancing?” the girl said.

“You asking?” I replied, guessing by her age that my response might be lost

“Funny” was the reply. With a smile. Obviously

So I watched; obviously.

Continue Reading

The grey area of disruption – a breakthrough from #agecamp


I get black and white and respect best practice but I see grey areas as an opportunity for trying new ways of doing things, coming up with innovative solutions, creating better practice and sorting stuff. Give me a grey area any day.


But, like fog, grey areas can be places where it is difficult to see what is going on and where sight of the bigger picture can be lost. When technology and new concepts are involved, unless we make increasing efforts to explain things simply and manage expectations around purpose, we can easily wander from objectives and sometimes lose or exclude people from a potentially inclusive process.

It seems there is a lot of similar stuff going on in Leeds in the guise of innovation labs/service design/hacks, jams, habitats and maker days. There’s an overlapping fog of disruption forming. Whilst this is a good thing and I’m really not knocking the ambition and implementation, which has taken a while to get going since first mooted by the early adopters, I suppose I’m questioning the combined impact and if it might be confusing the people it is aimed at helping or involving.

And, at a time when there seems to be the need for more integrated ways of doing things, might we be fragmenting, and perhaps duplicating resources – both people and spaces? Could we be joining up? Alternatively, might all these things offer more opportunities for more folk to get involved? It’s just a thought; a challenge perhaps – I’d be interested in others views.

My role is to explain some of these projects; to make them make sense and connect folk up who appear to be working on the same things. This post is part of that work.

Continue Reading

Fear of missing out


I recently stayed somewhere without wifi or TV. Imagine that for a minute. Pretty much cut off from the networked world. Alternatively; I’ve just been lucky enough to go somewhere and experience things I’ve never seen before or might again. Perhaps a serendipitous outcome, which is the reason for posting.

When a friend offered me a week in her newly built holiday home in the north of Scotland as a birthday present, my first thoughts were it’s 400 miles away, has no telly or wifi. But, as it was a gift, then I’d gladly accepted.

I then told the family.

“What, no TV or wifi?”

“Nope – just fresh air, countryside, the sea and probably rainbows; big rainbows mind!”

So we went and it was great to experience a new place, different flora and fauna and spend time off the matrix.

Continue Reading

No more posts.