Go West (Again)

Friday, October 15, 2010
I've had a really interesting week last week. I spent time in Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria.

In Edmonton, I delivered social media training at the Affects Symposium hosted by the Alberta Federal Council. I ran three separate workshops on social media: (1) Putting the Social in Social Media; (2) Social Media 101 for Personal Development and (3) Social Media 101 for Organizational Objectives. I also hosted three roundtable Q and A-style discussions on social media in general. My key takeaway from Edmonton was that there is still a significant demand (and need) for social media 101 training.

In Vancouver I had the opportunity to sit on a panel with two people for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect: Etienne Laliberté and David Eaves. This panel was a long time coming. These men helped shape my career. The conversation was incredibly satisfying and we touched on a number of salient points. The most important of which was an intervention by David where he argued that, 10 years ago this panel couldn't have existed because the three of us would have never been able to connect, share and publicize our ideas to the extent that we have. David went as far to hypothesize that perhaps the three of us would have chosen completely different paths. I can't speak for Etienne and David but I can say that without them I would have surely left the public service a long time ago. While I am grateful for the help, encouragement and brotherly advice the two have given me over the last few years, I am even more grateful to count them among my friends.

In Victoria I attended a planning session for the upcoming Open Gov West BC conference being held at the University of Victoria on November 10. My sense is that the event will be a unique mashup of my experience at ChangeCamp Ottawa, WiredCamp Toronto, Open City Edmonton, and GovCamp. As a speaker for the event, my objective is simple. I want to rally people around a single idea:
We are the future of open government, open data and public sector innovation. We are here learning our trade, stretching the organization, and building the platform for the next generation of government. We are the public servants that the web built.
I'm going to do that by sitting down with my friend Walter Schwabe and share some stories about the importance of openness, the transformative nature of the web and how those things relate to government. I want to share specific examples and help connect the audience to other people in the larger community in hopes that they will continue the conversation after the event.

In short, I'm hoping to inspire people, and I'm hoping to make a case for open government. But most importantly, I'm hoping you will join us in Victoria on November 10.

See you there.