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Media will help Kent during Climate Change

Newspaper and media reports of extreme weather conditions will help Kent residents avoid risks such as flooding and heat wave health problems. Kent County Council has been one of the few authorities to create a climate change profile for each of its districts. The data from this will be matched against relevant media reports to help Kent predict extreme weather events. This will be useful for services such as Highways, Planning and even Adult Social Care, where heat waves can be deadly to the vulnerable. Kent spent an estimated £400 million last year in response to extreme weather and of this Kent County Council spent £25 million. It is hoped that by managing our knowledge of previous events Kent can better plan for the future and avoid such vast losses.

To see the UK climate predictions for up to 2080 please visit DirectGov.

Please see our related articles on Knowledge Management. How does your team learn from past events? Please comment below.

-Claire Matthews
-With special thanks to Carolyn McKenzie, Greener Kent Manager for Environment and Waste

(image: bus driving through a flooded road in Kent with thanks to
kenjonbro from Flickr for photo published under Creative Commons some rights reserved)
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The Kent Card Could Help the Environment

Most people in Kent don’t claim for the grants that they are entitled to and The Environment and Waste (E&W) department at Kent County Council have thought of a way to change this. Information about people’s circumstances could be used to better target them with information about grants. The Kent Card could be the tool to do this with, although research is in the early stages.

This is all part of E&Ws aim to reduce fuel poverty. Fuel poverty is when you spend more than 10% of your disposable income on fuel. If this is the case then grants are available to kit out your home to make it more economical. Kent qualifies for hundreds of grants, which E&W aims to make more accessible by working with utility providers to create one offer for Kent residents.

The benefits of this innovation are clear:

• Information is better targeted towards Kent people

• Carbon emissions are reduced through more focused marketing campaigns
• The number and complexity of grants are reduced
• Kent County Council saves money by having more effective and focused campaigns
Do you have any ideas about how the Kent Card could be used?
Are you working on something to do with the Kent Card or smart cards?
What does your department do to help make Kent greener? Please comment below.

For more information on smart cards see our ABOUT article.

-Claire Matthews
-With special thanks to Carolyn McKenzie, Greener Kent Manager for Environment and Waste

(Photo: Fireplace burining logs kindly provided by A-Wix from Flickr under Creative Commons some rights reserved)
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Village Innovation Beats Recession Closures

Last winter Mersham’s village pub, The Farriers Arms was facing permanent closure. A large chain of over 8,300 pubs had appeared to become another victim of the recession and were forced to sell. Rural communities struggle to hold onto their facilities even in good economic times. This village, however, was not going to give up without a fight.

Kent resident, Richard Bishop came up with an innovative scheme to save the pub by making it a community project. Richard created a limited company and asked residents to buy shares in the pub. Incredibly, he managed to achieve this within one week and now boasts 88 shareholders. Shareholders are diverse in their ages (18-90) and professions; willingly sharing their skills, which include anything from plumbing to accountancy. 30-40 shareholders regularly demonstrate their support and enthusiasm by volunteering their time and skills to get The Farriers Arms back in shape for opening, hopefully in late November. The community spirit is high and the enthusiasm is clear from the buzz of volunteers at the site. Instead of complaining about noise, Richard says that the neighbours have been keen to join the project! It is hoped that The Farriers Arms will become an attraction and community meeting point, which will bring people into the area.

This type of scheme is on the increase and smaller groups have already discussed doing similar projects in other villages. There are possibilities of applying this technique to save other village facilities which face closure. The government is committed to Rural Proofing, to ensure that all policy takes into account rural circumstances and needs. The Public Sector should look to support rural communities when they act to help themselves in innovative manners.

For more information please see:

• The Farriers Arms Facebook group (which anyone is free to join).
• The Guardian's article ‘Common Ground’, for other examples of community ownership.
• Defra’s page on
Rural Proofing.
• Directions to
The Farriers Arms.

-C Matthews
-With special thanks to Richard Bishop. Richard would like to express his thanks to The Small Company Enterprise Centre for there help with the EIS and Ashford Borough Council for their help and advice.

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3 Click Answers About the Workforce

HR Business Intelligence

3 click answers about Kent County Councils workforce are now provided by Personnel and Development (P&D). Using their Business Intelligence Tool you can get up-to-date statistics in a quick, dynamic, consistent, transportable, easily navigable and very attractive way. Information areas include data on the workforce, benchmarking, sickness, staff flow and miscellaneous.

Inconsistency is a problem when staff write their own reports and presentations using different figures. P&D tried to resolve this by giving out information on CDs. Serious security issues soon became apparent with data not being kept up to date and the CD's not treated with care

The answer to this was the creation of a central website so users could get quick answers, independently, consistently and securely. This comes in two formats: an Excel and a Flash version. The Excel version is portable, simple and can be saved for your own presentations whereas the Flash version is dynamic, animated and more attractive.

Specific data requests can be addressed much more quickly now P&Ds time is freed up. If their tool doesn’t deliver the information you need, your request can be dealt with in as little as ½ hour! (Although the official time is 3 days for urgent and 1 week for standard)

The pilot has been completed and Business Intelligence is being rolled out on a larger scale.
If you:

• Want workforce information
• Need information for surveys
• Deal with Freedom of Information Requests
• Are a Manager who needs statistics to put policy into context

Then please get in contact with Graham Cox for login and access.
Have you used this tool? Please comment below.
What does your department do to manage data?

Please see our other articles on knowledge management.

-Claire Matthews
-With special thanks to Graham Cox, Personnel Information Analyst from P&D

(image: screenshot of the Flash presentation of data on HR Business Intelligence)

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Big Papers Producing Personal News

The world seems to get bigger and bigger while the yearning to reach out on a smaller scale increases. There is fresh desire for ultra local news: news which we can relate to and witness in our own neighbourhoods. The New York Times has launched The Local, which is a community of news and information websites devoted to residents of particular areas of New York and New Jersey.

The site will feature posts by both NYT journalists and community members about day-to day life in their neighbourhoods. The features will mobilise users to resolve local problems, they include blogs, Q&As, creative works, neighbourhood calendars and a virtual fridge for local children’s artwork. The Times is partnering with a local Graduate School of Journalism to allow students to contribute and teach residents about interacting online.

For an example see: http://maplewood.blogs.nytimes.com.

- Claire Matthews

Thank you jamesjyu for the photo of a man reading a newspaper published under Creative Commons, some rights reserved.
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Is there anything an iPhone can't do?

Let’s face it, is there anything an iphone can't do? Now there is an application to transform the iPhone and the iTouch into portable charge card terminals. ProcessAway plugs into Authorize.nets payment processing platform, allowing entrepreneurs to accept credit card payments anywhere they can access the Internet.

ProcessAway could be particularly useful for those who need to process and authorise payments on the go, like on-site consultants, handymen, hairdressers and childminders. Other possible uses could include facilitating swifter payment of fines and increasing the flexiblity of services.

- Claire Matthews

(Picture: A person using an itouch, with thanks to Américo Nunes for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons licience some rights reserved)
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Technology Helping Nature

Shorne Woods Country Park is a flagship example of the public sector using innovative technology to reduce carbon emissions and cut costs. The site’s considerable ecological and archeologically importance draws in 315,000 visitors yearly. Sustainable technology has preserved the sensitivity of the site (as an Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) whilst dazzling and educating 20% more visitors than the previous centre. Technologies can be easy to implement with few extra costs.

Shorne makes use of:

-Greywater systems which recycle dirty water by using enzymes.
-A Wind Turbine to generate electricity for its kitchen.
-Solar panels to shade internal space and generate electricity.
Did you know?
-A single 750kW turbine can offset 5000 tonnes of CO2.
-5000 tonnes of CO2 would need 500 acres of trees to absorb it.
-In Britain one day could solar power 244800 light bulbs (100W) for 24 hours.

In addition, the centre is mostly made from locally sourced chestnut from coppice woodland. Currently only 10% of sweet chestnut coppice is harvested for use and Shorne hopes provide itself as a practical example to the construction industry.

Shorne Woods County Park is not only innovative in its design but also in the activities it provides visitors. Geocaching uses contemporary technology for team-building games.

"Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment". - www.geocaching.com
“In a nutshell, there are about 800,000 caches hidden around the world, and anyone with a GPS handset can look for these! At last count, we had 47 caches hidden across all our parks in Kent, and these are all available for the public to search for at any time. We have put in around another 6 caches at Shorne Woods which are not accessible to the public, and we use these to carry out one of a range of corporate activities at the park. We only did this about 3 months ago, and already we've had several bookings for companies to come to the park, to have a meeting and lunch in our meeting room and then go geocaching in the afternoon as a team-building activity.”
- A
manda Dunk, Country Parks Area Manager - North & West Kent Teams.

For more information about Shorne Country Park and geocaching please visit the Kent County Council website.

- Claire Matthews.
-With thanks to Shorne Country Park and Amanda Dunk, County Parks Area Manger.

(Picture top left: Shorne Country Park's centre with a view of the solar panels and wind turbine)

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Internships to Help During the Recession

Internocracy - Innovation by young people for young people

At Internocracy, we’re working with local authorities to help them to develop high quality internship programmes to route young people onto internship programmes which we ensure are simple to set up and easy to manage.

Internships offer a way to provide real help and experience for young people in a local area, as well as enabling local authorities to have ready access to enthusiastic and skilled young people and a trusted talent pool of potential employees for the future.

In the current employment market, conditions are tough for young people. According to the Guardian earlier in the week up to 40,000 of this year's graduates will still be struggling to find work in six months' time, and the number of new graduates out of work will double compared with last year if unemployment trends follow those of the last recession, careers experts predict. This will cause a spike in unemployment figures this summer as graduating students fight for a job, and could help tip the number of under-25s who are unemployed over the 1 million mark.

Local Authorities, as local employers, can play a key role in addressing this – partly through setting up robust and inclusive internship programmes.

We here at Internocracy recognise that creating an internship programme internally is a time- consuming process, with inherent costs and a requirement to have specialist skills and experience in-house. And in the current financial climate, we understand that organisations need their resources in the right place now more than ever.

For any more information about what Internocracy does or how we work with local government, please get in touch with us at hello[at]internocracy.org. Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/internocracy

- Dominic Potter, Internocracy

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Have a Happy Unconference

Can you imagine arriving to an event to find out there is no set agenda, no booked speakers, and no set aim? There is just a location, a name and a large bunch of people who are motivated by social change.

The event described is an Innovation Camp and there are a few of these that occur regularly within the UK: Social Innovation Camp, LocalGov Camp and 2gether08 which is the largest UK digital festival.

Those people who manage to secure themselves 1 out of only 100 invitations turn up at Social Innovation Camp (S.I. Camp) with no idea of what might be ahead.Everyone must be prepared to actively lead or participate in the sessions. This style of event is called an unconference where the topics are not decided until the actual day and only by the participants.Event in this format are unpredictable, volatile and hugely successful. Anna from S.I. Camp told me that the first day is always the most stressful and only after this can she can tell whether the event will be a success or not.

Graphic Designers, Web developers, Campaigners, NGOs, Politicians and entrepreneurs are some of the attendees who aim to use social technology for the greater social good. This, however, is not without a price, in SICamp six bare boned concepts are radically transformed into prototype web-based tools in a minuscule 48 hours! These intense weekends have produced hugely successful concepts and websites such as ‘Good Gym’ and ‘Enabled by Design’. Viewing these, it is hard to believe they were matured in such a short space of time.

These are inspiring examples of how people are brought together to share knowledge, ideas, skills and networks to tackle pressing social needs. Much can be learned from the fearless organisers of such events, in that sometimes in order to gain the most from audiences they need be engaged in a way which is uninhibited. SI camp believes that the event creates excitement by getting people face to face and talking about things which they feel passionate about. Even if organisations such as Kent County Council decide against holding their own unconferences there is still much to be learn behind the style of these events.

SI camp run miniature meet-ups, which anyone is free to sign up to (limited places of course!), a smaller group turn ideas around in an even smaller timeframe. It is worth contemplating whether some meetings should evolve into intense, uninhibited, unconference styles to quickly target social problems with a fast turnaround of ideas and solutions.

The Innovation team are currently researching Social Innovation events like these.

For more information please see:


Thank you to SICamp for use of the photo (image from Social Innovation Camp 08) published under Creative Commons
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The Art of Stealing Fingerprints

FingerPrint Theft

Wouldn’t you love to be able to sign into your personal accounts with a simple swipe of your finger? Well now you can. Fingerprint powered USB sticks, Car locks and passwords will be seen in all major shops within 2009.

So what’s the problem? People worry about the security. Once some one has stolen your fingerprint you can’t replace it like you can a credit card, although this kindtheft is difficult to do. In the extreme scenario there has been a news report of a criminal chopping off a car owners finger to gain entry to his expensive car! So good or not? Its up for you to decide.

More info

-Robert Bromley

Thank you to piddaz for photo (top right: fingerprint) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reserved.

Thank you to Crys for photo (bottom right: fingerprint reader being used) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reserved.

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The Award Winning Pic & Mix

“Around the world, the first phase of Government use of the internet is coming to an end with public services and information largely online. We are now at the start of a new era, where Government starts to learn how to support citizens’ own ways of making, finding and re–using information online”
So says Tom Steinberg, founder and Director of mySociety on the publication of The Power of Information, a report by him and Ed Mayo, Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council, commissioned by Cabinet Office Minister Hilary Armstrong to ensure Government acted as a leader in understanding changes in communication and information technology. The report argues that government could now grasp the opportunities that are emerging in terms of the creation, consumption and re-use of information. Current policy and action is not yet adequate to grasp these opportunities.

Extract from: http://www.binarylaw.co.uk/index.php/2007/06/14/gov-20-power-to-the-people/

What did we do about it?

It was with this backdrop that in September 2008 the Change Through Innovation team at Kent County Council (KCC) entered the PIC 'n' MIX (latterly called Pic & Mix) concept into the Innovate08 competition. We won! Following this success the Pic & Mix project was born. As part of the prize KCC receives a number of days top consultancy from Microsoft. We also won several copies of Microsoft Office, which have been shared out to charity.

What is Pic & Mix?

Wrapped up within KCC business databases is a lot of publicly available information, though not necessarily in a re-usable format. To address this Pic & Mix has three primary objectives: 1. allow information to be published in a re-usable format – e.g. RSS feeds 2. provide mashup tools to “play” with this and other external information 3. provide guidance and self-help using this Web2.0 services through wiki and forums

What’s a mashup?

Using a Web 2.0 service Wikipedia, it has an entry for mashup which says:
"In web development, a mashup is a Web application that combines data from one or more sources into a single integrated tool."
By using KCC provided re-usable data, such as an address list of schools, this could be mashed up with other data, say Google Maps to make something more useful to the mashup creator. Pic & Mix will enable ordinary users, not just computer programmers, to re-use publicly published data in a new and creative way, probably not even considered when the data was first gathered or published. Great!

If you are interested in a future application for this project, then please contact us now at innovation@kent.gov.uk.

-Glyn Davies

Thank you to
nataliej for photo(bad of pick and mix sweets) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reservedNoncommercialNo Derivative Works
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Future Proofing Your Best Asset

The Talent Management Programme:

A wave of retiring workers is going to hit us within the next five years. Large numbers of these retirees will be highly skilled and will hold priceless experience, information and knowledge critical to their organisations. Innovative solutions are needed to solve this immenent problem. Mention the ‘R’ word, however, and often Training and Innovation departments suddenly find the funding pulled out from under their feet. Recession may mean tightened belts but as Kent County Council (KCC) knows, this is no time to bury heads into sand. Creativity will be the only thing that separates the winners from the losers in not just this economic climate but the difficulties that lay ahead.

Kent County Council is piloting the first programme of its kind within the UK in preparation for the mass retirement of the baby boomer generation So who exactly is going to plug this void? The Google generation eat breath and sleep knowledge management without even realising it and are perfectly adapted to a changing workplace. This may come as a culture shock, but tools like Facebook and Google have revolutionised the way the next generation thinks and works. Collaborative working, knowledge sharing and networking are now performed with such ease and agility thanks to the Internet. The young will replace the retired, defeating our knowledge and skills monsters with new technological tools and fresh, innovative approaches.

So lets talk talent management, how is Kent County Council going to take our county’s bright sparks and
develop them into the workforce of the future? Greenhouse (KCC's group to support younger staff) was the first to conceptualise the 'Younger Person Talent Management Programme'. This was then taken forward by Learning and Development to produce a new nationally recognised programme. This is a first for KCC, a first for Kent and a first for the UK! The rough diamond , young, high potential employee can be polished into a truly valuable asset with a course which tackles highly specific key issues. Take your candidate add a dash of networking skills, confidence, self worth, assertiveness, awareness of organisational politics, communications skills and a push in the right direction and you have made a jolly good investment. Greenhouse and Learning & Development’s message is clear: Save on your recruitment costs, avoid culture shock and retain your talent.

As they say actions speak louder than words, and the L&D team are not short on action. After a year of development the first workshop will be running on Friday the 31st to be followed by other programmes which will be bespoke to the current issues and participants needs. Any further changes to the economic climate will be hard pressed to damage this programme. Workshops are flexible, responsive and able to meet new issues as they arise.
It doesn’t stop here. This is only the beginning. On completion of the Talent Management Programme young people should be encouraged towards other programmes supporting qualifications such as Leadership and Management. It is important to realise that Training and Development never stops and the Talent Management Programme provides the first step of many.

-With thanks to Nick Smead from Learning and Development and Holly Strang, Chair of Greenhouse.

* Thank you to Genevy Madeline for photo (top left: elderly people road warning sign) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reserved.
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What do we mean?

Mobile technologies include all the tools and processes to enable us to use
technology while “on the move”.

Why are we researching this?

We need to allow employees to be more flexible in working with their users
and partners sharing & work in real time wherever they need. We also need to enable staff to work with customers in informing, engaging or supporting them and redirect even more resources to the frontline .

How are we going to research this?

We want to facilitate flexible working – particularly home & mobile working . We will engage councils where these tools may offer a particular opportunity, like Shepway & Sevenoaks where there is a lack of access to services for some communities.

What are we going to research?

We will research how mobile technologies can help book for services remotely, process payments for businesses or map what’s going on through GPS, facilitate interaction between online & offline channels, such as text to print or barcoding and how the innovative use of SMS/texting can help identify and map issues, encourage feedback from users and gather customer insight.

What does the analysis show us?

The mobile web is now faster and more interactive with tools like sensors & barcodes. More people own a mobile now than a fixed telephone. Young people spend as much time on their mobiles as they do on the web, although most people use their mobiles more for texting and calling than web browsing.

What do we want to achieve?

We want to explore opportunities for greater standardisation and savings through the mobile technologies, building on existing practice in KCC such as Text Reading Groups, Seldom Heard, Mobile Working Project, Better Workplaces and in Kent like Call Centre Home Working, Texting.

How can you be involved?

If you are researchers/consultants, we would like to explore how we could capture together the impact of mobile technologies on a group of staff or citizens.

If you are innovators developing this, we would like to explore how we could test these out with a group of staff or citizens.

If you are organisations in sectors who have used these tools, we would like to share the learning and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Noel Hatch

* Thank you to Darwin Bell for photo (top left: phones dangling by their cords) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reservedNoncommercialNo Derivative Works.
* Thank you to Jason Nicholls for photo ( man listening through a tin can attached to a piece of string) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reservedNoncommercialNo Derivative Works.

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We’ve started to use Yammer!

Colleagues from around KCC have started to use Yammer to find out what other people are working on and get involved.

www.yammer.com is a micro-blogging site, a little like Twitter, for internal staff only. When you sign up to use the site, it takes the suffix of your email address (@kent.gov.uk) to add you to the KCC network.

Only people with an @kent.gov.uk email address can then join or see the group.

The site works on the premise of asking one simple question, what are you working on? By answering this question, other people across the organisation can find out what is going on in other areas and whether there is anything they would be interested in or has a cross over with their own work.

Hollie Snelson, Internal Communication Manager, said, “A few people across the authority have started to use Yammer to see if it could be a useful tool. Already it has proved a handy way of getting some informal feedback on projects people are working on. There aren’t that many users yet but as more people sign up it could be a great way of sharing information and knowledge informally.”

To try Yammer for yourself go to www.yammer.com and register using your KCC email address.

-Hollie Snelson, Internal Communication Manager.

Thank you to avlxyz for photo(Screenshot of Yammer) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reservedNoncommercialNo Derivative Works.

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Make Your Ideas Heard

Innovators Council – Call for Ideas

There is a new mechanism to make your ideas heard and fast-tracked. The Innovators Council are currently calling for ideas from those closest to the frontline delivery of services. The cabinet office says that those directly involved in public services will often have the clearest view of what needs to change. Reform from the bottom up will ensure the country comes out the recession fairer and stronger than ever. This is not about minor change this is radical innovation, ideas will be fully supported, developed, tested and implemented with relevant experts on hand. You could be a champion of new creative, original services right at the centre of change.

The Tell Us Once pilot proved that small differences can make a big change. The idea was to help people better cope with bereavement. Informing dozens of agencies about a loved ones death is emotionally distressing. and can now be avoided. This illustrates of innovation at its best, creatively improving public services whilst making them more efficient.

If you have an idea please submit via email, post or online at www.publicexperience.com. You can also visit this address to view and comment on other ideas.

-Claire Matthews

* Thank you to theparadigmshifter for photo (man shouting through megaphone) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reservedNoncommercialNo Derivative Works.

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Don't Let Your Mind Die

Age-related cognitive decline can be reversed thanks to a new video software package from Posit Science. Allstate are using it to help the elderly improve visual processing skills needed for safe driving.
Brain-training has become increasingly popular with the release of numerous DS games endorsed by celebrities such as Nicole Kidman. They work by challenging and invigorating the mind and making people step outside their well-trodden paths of thinking and routine.

Japanese based architects have designed building which are difficult for the body and mind to manoeuvre around. They argue that these challenges will delay death.

Their buildings may look more suitable for
The Clangers than people, but challenging the mind is important as we start to age and routine sets into our lives. Innovation is based on fresh thinking “outside the box” and is required to drive services and processes forward. Our appoach to the day job could be improved by routine self-challenge.

The Innovation Team is currently interested in ‘Serious Gaming’ and ‘Virtual Learning’ and would be especially interested in any examples around Kent.

Claire Matthews

* Thank you to swamysk for photo (top left: elderly man washing car) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reservedNoncommercialNo Derivative Works.
* Thank you to SlipStreamJC for photo (middle left: a DS games console) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reservedNoncommercialNo Derivative Works.
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Powering Through I.T. Problems

When it comes to IT skills, people are diverse in their abilities and experience. It can become a nightmare to find a course which is suited to our particular knowledge gaps. Many people either puzzle through or ask a colleague for help; but what about when this is not an option? Daunted by the prospect of joining a course, puzzled at types of training and unaware of their own needs many opt to stay stuck.

One to one training helps to dispel these fears by providing a personal, highly specific service. Learning and Development have evolved their own special version of this called IT Power Hours. Power Hours are delivered at the comfort of the customers own desk at their own pace. The innovative manner in which they are delivered saves time, expenses and environmental costs.

When Adam Fox from Learning and Development researched online meeting services he soon realised that they could be perfectly adapted to meet training needs. Using software called Netviewer and the aid of webcams and microphones training can be provided remotely. Users of the software can:
  • Use PowerPoints
  • Remotely view the desktop of the trainee or trainer
  • Provide services to large groups in any location
Learning and Development are looking at developing a range of other programmes via this method thanks to the sucess of I.T. Power hours.

Staff should keep updated through Extramail!

-C Matthews
-With thanks to Adam Fox

* Thank you to mandyxclear for photo (top left): broken P.C. screen) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reservedNoncommercialNo Derivative Works.
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What do you get if you cross Social networking with Training?

What do you get if you cross Social networking with Training?...Ishare.

Ishare is an exciting new training and development website for Kent and Medway Council.

It is the first joint collaboration of its kind between all 14 councils, boroughs and districts across Kent and users will be able to search courses from any of these organisations. Essentially Ishare aims to make the most of opportunities offered though other authorities in order to upskill the public sector workforce in preparation for a challenging future.

The website boasts features inline with the latest trend of social networking. This allows users to create a profile, build up contacts, share career ideas, ask questions and post answers. It is hoped this will promote joined up thinking across Kent and bring some consistency and efficiency in training. The site places the user in control of their training and consequently their career. This empowerment to the individual will heighten self worth, confidence and retention to the organisation.

The creators of Ishare are already thinking about the future with plans to include secondment and mentoring across authorities as well as the ability to share policies and procedures. Ishare is live now so visit www.i-share.org.uk to register.

-C Matthews
-With thanks to Tricia Palmer and Angela Rowe from Medway Council.
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Disruptive Technologies

What do we mean?

Disruptive technologies describes how tools which transform how people use the web/mobile create a tension whereby they are adopted very quickly by users, disrupt ways of working, but leave organisations unable to adapt their systems and culture to these new technologies.

Why are we researching this?

As part of the Council’s Future Challenges agenda, we need to explore how
disruptive technologies can help design services around people and communities and tackle the perceptions of people so they can “think global and act local’ in addressing complex environmental, physical & social issues.

How are we going to research this?

We want to map the existing online community landscape – using innovative techniques like social network analysis, metadata and social graphing. Engage with groups where changing behaviours is a particular issue, such as in Shepway, Dover, Thanet and build on existing projects .

What are we going to research?

We will monitor social networks on a much more local level, using tools which
analyse, enable people to share stories of places and share sensor data from objects where they are. We will test tools which help people turn local involvement into community insight, turn individual needs into community solutions, bring together people to mobilise for better deals and be rewarded for using their social networks to help others find jobs.

What does the analysis show us?

Changing behaviours describes how individuals influence each other and how
they can use this understanding to persuade the public to take actions that improve the wellbeing of the community. If people’s friends engage in good/bad practices, they are more likely to engage in them than they are if the council tells them to. Seeding localised groups with certain ideas or behaviours can lead these to cascade across entire networks.

What do we want to achieve?

Where people will be much more anxious on what will help them through the recession, they will rely more on information from their friends, family & colleagues. We want to explore how we can harness social pressure so they can improve their wellbeing, how we can support staff with the tools to influence their users.

How can you be involved?

If you are researchers/consultants, we would like to explore how we could map together how disruptive tools can influence behaviours in a pilot. If you are online community/social entrepreneurs developing this, we would like to explore how we could test these out with a group of staff or citizens on a particular issue. If you are organisations in sectors who have used these tools, we would like to share the learning and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Noel Hatch

Thank you to iLoveButter for photo (top right: examples of new technology replacing old) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reserved.
Thank you to Steve Wilhelm for photo (bottom left: everyday technology- compact camera, mobile phone, mp3 player, and a digital watch) ) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reserved.
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24hr Thinking

What do we mean?

24 hour thinking involves bringing together people from different organisations/sectors to brainstorm ideas into practical solutions over a short period of time.

Why are we researching this?

The need to “strengthen innovation connectivity” has been highlighted the Kent Innovation Strategy consultation with proposals around inviting groups to mind-map ideas on respond to key issues, facilitated by entrepreneurs.

How are we going to research this?

We want to review new platforms and processes for the development and sharing of ‘green shoots’ activities to improve the re-use and adoption throughout KCC and enable the “innovative connectivity” mentioned above by reviewing and developing community concepts.

What are we going to research?

We will focus on the face to face and online development of “24 hour thinking” including how to re-organise teams around projects, in ways that match skills with priorities, allow staff to take time out to develop their own projects or broker the development of innovations across services.

What does the analysis show us?

24 hour thinking can enable communities to submit actions to a pledgebank either they commit to carry out or specific departments commit to deliver or test out and empower groups to apply , demonstrate vote for innovative funding.

What do we want to achieve?

We will explore how 24 hour thinking can be focused on specific challenges groups want to tackle.

How can you be involved?

If you are researchers/consultants, like in university based innovation labs or bridging foundations, we would like to explore how we could capture together of the impact of 24 hour thinking on a group of staff or citizens.

If you are innovators, like third spaces, exchanges, mobile units or citizen teams, we would like to explore how we could test these out with a group of staff or citizens as part of a “24 hour thinking” session.

If you are organisations in sectors who have used these tools, like in-house & spin off teams, accelerators and support for innovators, we would like to share the learning and organise a joint “24 hour thinking” session with you.

Noel Hatch

Thank you to Jacob Bøtter for photo (top right : wall of sticky notes) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reserved.

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