Column: What I Learned at WiredCamp

Friday, September 25, 2009
This week I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in #wiredcamp, an event hosted by some of my friends in the Ontario Public Service. The event was styled as an unconference after the changecamp model (which I helped facilitate here in Ottawa and which Mike helped to document), and was aimed at:

[bringing] public servants of all stripes to together [to] answer the following questions:

  • How do we re-imagine government and public service in the age of participation?
  • What we can do to help make government more open and responsive?

To my knowledge it was the first of its kind to take place within the public service. Looking back on the day, I must say that it was a tremendous success. The participants were energized and the conversations engaging. I was happy to be afforded the opportunity to both meet some great people like Lisa Torjman, and see the likes of Mark Kuznicki and Elena Yunusov both of whom I hadn't seen since ChangeCamp Ottawa.

One of the things I really enjoyed was how the day began with four ignite-style presentations. Here is the lineup and my key takeaway from each:

  • Mark Kuznicki: Leaders are no longer command-and-control type people but those who thrive within communities; they are facilitators, they are enablers.
  • Lisa Torjman: The world is now driven by people. Enable them and they will carry your brand/message further than you ever could.
  • Nick Charney: Get your hands dirty and be creative. Stop focusing on how to stop things from happening and focus on how to make them happen.
  • David Tallan: When it comes to innovation, start small - under the radar. Make it seem harmless, then scale up to keep pace with success.
For those of you who don't know, ignite presentations are extremely challenging. They are 5 minute presentations where speakers have 20 slides, each automatically advancing every 15 seconds. This was the first I’ve ever done. I embedded my deck below and have attached my speaking notes as well. I wanted to capture the audio but didn't want to lose the momentum that Mark and Lisa had built up already. Doug told me he captured the video, and I will share the link if/when it finds its way onto the Internet.

If you are interested in knowing more about Wiredcamp or what was discussed in the breakout sessions please visit www.technowonk.ca. Most of what we did that day is captured there. In fact, the only thing that isn't is all the tremendous value we created simply by meeting with one another, serendipitously finding allies, and vowing to carry something out of the room with us.

Speaking of Action Items

At Wiredcamp I committed to taking the next step in establishing something akin to a Govloop North. This is something I have been working on quietly with some great people on the West Coast. We aren't exactly sure what that means or how it will come to fruition yet, but interest is building and our friends at Govloop have agreed to help in whatever way they can – awesome.

If you are interested in knowing more/participating in this endeavour please visit and contribute to the Govloop North group I have created over at Govloop.

My Presentation

Here is a PDF of my speaking notes for my presentation, which is embedded below.