January 21st marked the 10th year of UKGovCamp held at the National Audit office. A free “unconference” with over 600 people entering a lottery for tickets. The lucky 200 who were selected got together to launch their own discussions around digital in the public sector.
Unconferences are unique in their unstructured agenda, leaving learning completely in the hands of the people. Every attendee has the opportunity to pitch a topic around which they will facilitate a 40 minute session for other attendees to join, and there was no shortage of great pitches. There are no rules in an unconference and with multiple sessions running concurrently, everyone has the ability to join any discussion at any point.
We had the pleasure of attending for the first time and the collaborative style and openness along with content focused on government and digital was right up our street.
Pictures by https://www.flickr.com/photos/wnbishop/
Bit Zesty is a digital service transformation agency and we have worked on a variety of government digital services, so we particularly enjoyed a discussion regarding Agile vs. Public Sector Governance which covered effectively navigating agile delivery within government governance structures. The discussion covered finding a common ground where teams can still deliver without losing their agility due to too much governance, while effectively maintaining outlines set by the Government Service Manual. One suggestion we made was to split up project budgets by each phase. When procuring a team, it may mitigate risk by building a budget around a Discovery separately from an Alpha phase. This can help more accurately scope the Alpha (or qualify its need altogether), thereby putting the overall budget to best use.
A session on BAME (black, Asian, minority ethnic) diversity in the tech and digital space was one of the more interactive sessions we had the pleasure of joining. Turning the tables and asking the collective group – what diversity meant to us and why it’s important – sparked a bright, open conversation. While all participants were in agreement that more diversity in tech is ideal and valuable, the challenge was how to make it happen from a hiring perspective. Developing a more diverse talent pool can be a difficult task but one solution is to look at the beginning of the pipeline and get a more diverse group involved in tech at an earlier age. Community programs and internships can help fill the funnel with a more diverse group of young talent with new perspectives.
— Bit Zesty (@bitzesty) January 21, 2017
We capped off a great UKGovCamp event with some good old fashioned networking over a beer and some bites. It was a pleasure to be part of this years event and with our first one under the belt, we are excited to see what next year’s UK GovCamp has in store!