Welcome to iNews

Read about the latest innovations across Kent County Council and beyond.

Find out who we are, how we research, what we do, as well as our award winning project.

Contact us

Tell us about the innovative ideas and projects you're working on! If it's new and exciting and let us know!

Sign up to our updates by email

Tell us what you think here

Have you started using WorkTogether yet?

Work Together is a development of the IDeA's Partnership and Places Library - an online repository of good practice stories about different organisations working successfully in partnership in local areas. The new site takes the great content from the library and adds a wealth of social networking style features to it, enabling for a greater sharing of experience and knowledge.

Anyone will be able to access the content on the site and also leave comments and be involved in discussions - all without needing to register or sign in.

Registration does have many benefits though. Signed up to Work Together and try out the following:

* Create a profile, listing your knowledge and experience - and the ability to find and connect with others who have similar interests
* Join and create subject and location specific groups to share stories and information with others

Write your own blog, or collaborate with others on project blogs about partnership working initiatives in your area.

The site is a prototype and is in constant development as the design and functionality is improved to meet the needs of users. A development group has been established on the site to receive feedback and inform users about new developments. We would welcome your feedback on this site via the group.

Work Together is a prototype site for the Knowledge Hub, an ambitious project to create a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing throughout the whole of local government. Findings from the Work Together project will inform processes and technological considerations for the Knowledge Hub.

The prototype phase will last until the end of March so we would encourage you to explore the site and give us your comments as soon as possible so that we can develop the site to meet your needs and ensure we have as much valued feedback as possible to help in the development of the Knowledge Hub.

If you have any problems with accessing the site or have any technical questions please contact Dave Briggs at dave@learningpool.com.

- A special thank you to Romilly Rogers from IDeA for the blog post.

What next?

Subscribe to iNews
E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
More Articles

The Resolutions Won't Be Televised
Selling Innovative Ideas
Top 5 Delicious Links
Have you started using WorkTogether yet?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Here Comes Everybody - Book Review

I was told by the Chief Executive of Patient Opinion at #mps09 (the conference myPublicServices – blog post can be found here) that this book would change my world, and in a way I guess it did.

Having only recently joined the Technology, Research and Transformation Team, I thought I didn’t know too much about technology, however this book completely changed my opinion. Technology doesn’t have to be all ‘high tech’ and ‘new fangled’ to change the way people live their everyday lives at home, on holiday, at work, etc,.The important point is how this technology is used. Shirky gives the example of the founding of VOTF (Voice of Faith) a small group of 30 members who wanted to act upon a scandal and after two months the group had over 25,000 members. The group merely used ‘the internet model’ to spread their message and as Shirky states ‘what technology did do was alter the spread, force and especially duration of the reaction’.

As we saw in late 2009, the same occurred when Daily Mail writer Jan Moir wrote an article about the late Stephen Gately from Boyzone. Readers were outraged by her claims that his death was linked to his sexuality. Celebrity twitterers Derren Brown and Stephen Fry urged their followers to complain and Jan Moir became a ‘trendy topic’ indicating the frequency with which it was mentioned on Twitter. Other members of Twitter sent messages to the BT, O2 and Marks and Spencer Twitter pages asking if the companies intended to remove their advertising from the webpage showcasing Moir's offending article. The Twitter uproar appeared on Friday afternoon to have been successful, with all adverts removed from the article after half past three.
Being a fellow Social Scientist, the chapter that really caught my interest was ‘solving social dilemmas’ which is as follows:

Two suspects are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated both prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal. If one testifies (defects from the other) for the prosecution against the other and the other remains silent (cooperates with the other), the betrayer goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence. If both remain silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a five-year sentence. Each prisoner must choose to betray the other or to remain silent. Each one is assured that the other would not know about the betrayal before the end of the investigation. How should the prisoners act?

Skirky argues that we face many of these situations in life. Dilemmas where there will be risks, where we have to trust other people who we may not even know, which may not ever be completely solved. Despite these worries, human beings are social creatures. Social psychological studies have shown time and time again that we NEED social interaction. Even the famous Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs does not forget social interaction. Shirky argues that this makes social situations like the prison dilemma unavoidable but social tools can be used to aid this interaction. "The internet augments real-world social life rather than providing an alternative to it. Instead of becoming a separate cyberspace, our electronic networking are becoming deeply embedded in real life." I think this story I read today on a fellow Twitterer’s blog highlights Shirky’s point:

 'Well what horrendous weather we are having! Had a phone call at the beginning of the week requesting 150 cupcakes for a young lady who sadly passed away on Christmas Day. Of course I was more than happy to help! The funeral is in Tunbridge Wells tomorrow morning and I knew that if I waited till tomorrow morning we would not have been able to get out with the snow so had to think of something drastic. For anyone that knows me I am a huge lover of "Twitter". It is a fantastic way to meet new people and to network! Anyway I "Tweeted" a plea for anyone with a 4x4 vehicle to assist me in getting the cupcakes to my friends house in Wadhurst, as she is the lady doing the other catering for the funeral.A lovely lady from BBCKent sent me a message and suggested that the local BBC Radio Kent might be able to help. Within an hour I had received a phone call from them. I was interviewed live on the radio asking anyone in the area if they could help me. Within a few minutes of my radio interview a string of listeners had contacted BBC Radio Kent offering help! How amazing was that! I called the nearest caller to me, a lovely man called Roger Little from Biddenden who said he was more than happy to help as he had a large 4x4.' - Sally Howell-Bewsell, blog: http://thekentcupcakery.blogspot.com/

What I really like about this book is the way Shirky starts with a case study and works his point around it. Too many authors feel that the best way to put their opinions across is just to say it, but having an example to build on not only captures the reader’s attention, but it makes the point more realistic. However, I did feel that this wasn’t a book that you could dip in and out of as you pleased. Shirky has a tendency to skip from one idea to another when talking about a topic of interest so to stay fully aware of the journey he intended to take you on, you do have to read the whole chapter fully. No good for anyone who has a busy schedule and just wishes to read bits and pieces on a train journey!

Overall, I believe that anyone could read this, whether you are a technophobe or have your blackberry glued to your hand. Technology really has and continues to affect everybody, whether we choose to accept it or not, or even notice it for that matter. So, if you have the time, go and have a read about flashmobs, the Mermaid Parade and how the internet has transformed the world to name just a few. It really opened my eyes and I’m sure it will do the same for you.

'Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organising without Organisations' by Clark Shirky.
Publisher: Penguin Press
ISBN-10: 1594201536
ISBN-13: 978-1594201530

- Kirsty Russell

Picture: Clay Shirky talking at a conference with the cover of the book 'Here Comes Everybody' projected onto a screen behind him, with thanks to wayneKLin for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.

What next?

Subscribe to iNews
E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
More Articles

Are You An Avid Reader?
The Best Things In Life Are Free
Everybody Has A Story To Tell
Here Comes Everybody - Book ReviewSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Kent & Medway Innovation Camp - Transformed by You on 20 March

Do you have ideas on how you can improve your local area using the web or other technologies? Do you want to get together with others to see how you can turn these ideas into prototypes of new online services in just a day?

Come and join us on 20th March where you will be able to do all that and more!

Sign up to attend the event above
Tell us and vote which challenges you want us to put forward  
Find out more in our frequently asked questions  
Tweet about it using the hashtag #transformedbyyou
    If you have any other queries, feel free to contact us on 01622 69380 (Noel) or 01622 696109 (Kirsty)

    How will it work?

    In advance of the event, we want you to tell us what challenges you want to work on the day.

    You can either vote on those we've put forward or suggest your own! The deadline for voting will be 14 March. The top 10 will be the challenges we work on the day itself.

    On the day itself, you will able to get into groups to brainstorm ideas on how to tackle these challenges and develop prototypes based on the ideas you come up with.

    Is this for you?

    We're looking for a wide range of people to come along on the day - you don't necessarily need to have technical, computer or IT development skills - your thoughts, ideas and active participation in the workshop could help make a real difference to services that are provided for people in Kent and Medway.

    How can you get to the event?

    The venue is located directly off the A229, which can be easily accessed by both the M2 (junction 3) and the M20 (junction 6). There are also good public transport links. See map here.
    Kent & Medway Innovation Camp - Transformed by You on 20 MarchSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Event: Brush Up On Your Lateral Thinking

    Spend the morning of Monday March 22nd with renowned speaker and author Paul Sloane at the magnificent Glazier's Hall in London. Paul wrote The Innovative Leader and 18 other books on lateral thinking, innovation and leadership. Clients for his workshops include Bayer, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Shell.

    The morning is a mixture of talks, interactive workshop modules and question and answer sessions. It is highly interactive and participative. You will learn practical creative thinking methods that you can put into immediate use for you and your team. It is ideal for busy executives who want to improve their personal effectiveness or to accelerate the creativity and innovation of their teams.

    What will you learn as an individual?

    * The 7 lateral habits of highly innovative leaders.
    * 5 ways to generate radical ideas for your business.
    * 3 ways to evaluate and select the best ideas.
    * How to boost your personal creativity.
    * How to turn creative thinking into new products and services.

    What will you learn to benefit your organisation?

    * What is impeding innovation in your organisation and actions you can take to fix this.
    * How to build a culture of creative entrepreneurship.
    * How to run dynamic and effective brainstorms.
    * How to set the vision, goals and metrics for innovation in your business.
    * How agile, innovative companies tackle the problems you face.


    9.30 - 9.45 Registration - Tea and Coffee
    9.45 - 11.15 Innnovation and Lateral Thinking
    11.15 - 11.30 Break - Networking, Tea and Coffee
    11.30 - 12.40 Putting Innovation into Practice
    12.40 End

    If you want to take advantage of the early bird discount then you have just a few days left to book a place for you or a colleague on this workshop on Monday March 22nd. The seminar costs just £99 + VAT if you book by Feb 22. Thereafter it costs £150 + VAT. We send an invoice and you can pay by cheque, paypal or bank transfer. The price includes: 1. Seminar 2. Workbook 3. Refreshments.

    For more information and details of how to book, please click here.

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    Making Sense Of It All
    The Digital Marketplace
    Are You An Avid Reader
    Event: Brush Up On Your Lateral ThinkingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Want high levels of job satisfaction?

    Could 'helping people' be what you are searching for to achieve job satisfaction?  Graduate trainee Matthew Genner and myself, Kirsty Russell, share our views on working within the Public Sector:

    'Sat across the table from me Joanne started to talk passionately about the frustrations she has faced since seeking asylum in the UK around seven years ago. Joanne is a fully trained and highly skilled midwife. Having fled persecution in her country of birth, she wished to become a midwife in the UK. However, due to the laws governing asylum seekers she wasn’t allowed to work until she was granted the right to remain, a process which can take years. Once she moved from seeking asylum to becoming a refugee, Joanne once again tried to get a job as a midwife. This time another problem arose. Joanne had been out of work for too long and was told that she would have to go back and re-train from scratch. Not a refresher course designed to allow refugees to transfer their skills and apply them effectively in the UK, but instead three years of fulltime training teaching Joanne what she already knew. With no money this was not an option. Joanne had missed out on a career which she loved and Sandwell had missed out on utilising the skills of one of its residents in an area where there is a shortage of workers.

    Listening to Joanne and hearing stories of others like her brought to life some of the problems facing refugees; a human face to an often misrepresented group of people. Monday mornings aren’t supposed to be this interesting but working in local government has provided me with many opportunities to meet people from a range of backgrounds, to listen to their problems and then work as part of a team to help solve them. I was listening to Joanne at a conference hosted by the Scrutiny Unit at Sandwell MBC who are currently carrying out a review looking into the services provided to refugees and how they can be improved.

    For the past few months I have been helping officers to organise the event and it was rewarding to see around 50 people engaged in such important and stimulating discussions. The final recommendations of the review will be published later in the year and will allow the borough to significantly improve the services provided for refugees, helping them to flourish in the difficult situations which they face. Although I have played a very small role in what will be a thorough and complex review it’s been rewarding work in which I have learnt a lot.

    When I left university last year I had little idea of where to go. The variety of work which I have been able to witness taking place in local government and the numerous projects to which I have been able to contribute has now given me a better idea of what I want to do. Local government may have a reputation of red tape, men in grey suits and a life of being stuck behind a desk but I’ve found it to be a stimulating, varied and, whisper it quietly, exciting environment. I have also met many friendly and inspirational characters who will go out of their way to help others. If you’re a graduate and want something more rewarding than a company car and bonus at the end of the year then local government is a fantastic place to start looking.'

    'Being on a graduate placement within KCC, I have to agree with the post above.  I know with confidence that the work I am doing on the Innovations Team is slowly, but surely, changing the way that the organisation runs and the services that we provide to members of the public.  It's extremely satisfying to know that my psychology background is directly useful in regards with our bid on anti social behaviour, that the gaming student we are working with could potentially design a successful game which changes people's recycling behaviour, and that by maintaining and editing this blog, I can help to inspire and bring together different people within Kent and beyond who are interested in 'innovation'. I am extremely proud to work for an organisation that puts its customers' wellbeing first, and with staff who are not only friendly and helpful, but have my career development in their best interests. So if you are interested in putting your degree to work and passionate about helping people, then you should seriously consider working in the public sector.'

    - Kirsty Russell

    How have other young people/graduates who have just started working for Local Government found it? If you have any stories or experiences I would love to hear them, please e-mail me on kirstyjoanna.russell@kent.gov.uk

    - A special thank you to Matthew Genner, Graduate Trainee for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

    Picture: A black and white photo taken from a low angle showing a woman dressed in graduate robs throwing her graduation cap into the air with thanks to -Weng- for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    Everyone Has A Story To Tell
    Could you be the next apprentice?
    Getting Young People Skilled Up
    Want high levels of job satisfaction?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Making sense of it all

    If you didn't make FutureGov Measurement Camp, this is a snapshot of the conversations happening. Thanks to all @FutureGov for facilitating @willmcinnes @marshallmanson @pymblewizard @shahneerav @joodoo9 @lesteph @ingridk for presenting

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    Are You Experienced?
    Who said all pop-ups need to be blocked?
    All consuming Google?
    Making sense of it allSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Are you up for iBorrowing?

    The iBorrow project at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), partly funded by JISC, is one of thirty-nine projects that form part of the second phase of JISC’s Institutional Innovation Programme.

    One of the principal goals of the project was to provide 200 thin-client (atom-based) netbooks for students and staff to borrow and use within Augustine House, the University’s new state-of-the-art library and student services centre, as “easily as picking up a book from a shelf”.

    When the University embarked upon the Augustine House building programme, which represents the largest single development that the University has ever embarked upon, a lot of research went into the make-up of flexible and adaptable learning spaces. It quickly became apparent that some of the questions about students’ activities within such learning centres, which our building programme raised, did not have authoritative answers.

    The iBorrow project provided us with an opportunity to understand how students use mobile versus fixed computing devices within large-scale learning spaces. Furthermore, the project would also provide a demonstration on how an institution could implement software and desktop virtualisation using location-aware technologies and deploying these across a wireless network. The project also touches upon the “green ICT” and “low carbon” agenda.

    Moreover, coupled the hardware is location-related information that is overlaid with additional information that can support a better understanding on how the University’s students, academic and support staff have reacted as groups to the way that space, pedagogy and technology have been integrated. One of our aspirations is that it would provide us with valuable intelligence on how resources are being managed within Augustine House, thus allowing us to plan for the future.

    Augustine House opened in September 2009 and the iBorrow netbooks went “live” in October 2009. One of our concerns would be that students would simply not use the netbooks – we needn’t have worried, for as soon as the cabinets in which the netbooks were held in were opened, the students flocked towards them and were eager to see what they were all about. The processing power of the servers that were supporting the software and desktop virtualisation of the netbooks literally shot through the roof. On average, we are looking at between 250 and 350 people using the netbooks per working day. One of the affordances of using the netbooks has been to see how the students are using the different spatial configurations with Augustine House. Furthermore, some students are preferring to leave their own laptops at home and use the iBorrow netbooks instead!

    Our next big concern was that a number of the netbooks would be disappearing out of the people within the first few days or weeks of the netbooks being available. To our utmost, and pleasant, surprise this has not happened (yet!). An unexpected, or unanticipated, outcome of the “laptop borrowing scheme” is that students are returning the netbooks back to the cabinets to be charged up ready for the next person. The interesting thing here, is that no one has prompted them to do this nor are there any big signs or posters that shout “thou shalt do this” at them; it would seem that they have developed a form of “collegiate pride”.

    More information about iBorrow can be found on the project blog, and you can see for yourselves the iBorrow netbooks in action in Augustine House by going over to the project Flickr site. If that has whetted your appetite, then you would be interested to learn that the University will be running a national conference called “Learning Spaces and Technology: The iBorrow Project” which takes place in Augustine House on Thursday 25th March, 2010 from 11:00am until 4:30pm – we would love to see you!

    - A special thank you to Wayne Barry, Learning Technologist at Canterbury Christ Church University for the blog post. wayne.barry@canterbury.ac.uk

    Picture:A girl sitting at a desk with a white laptop in front of her which reads 'iBorrow'.

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    Are You An Avid Reader?
    The Why Dont You Web
    All Resolutions Won't Be Televised
    Are you up for iBorrowing?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    The Innovation Shortlist

    The 2010 MediaGuardian Innovation Awards shortlist has now been announced:


    Load &Go
    O2 & ZenithOptimedia / Channel 4 / The Outfit

    Load & Go was a bite-sized rom-com that ran in the centre break of Hollyoaks every day, with characters discussing the plot lines and demonstrating the benefits of O2's Load & Go card. Recognised by the viewers as entertainment in its own right, the soap within a soap got people talking, took them online to find out more and delivered brand and sales results for O2.

    Teenage Kicks
    NHS Leicester City & The Rocket Science Group

    Aiming to reduce incidences of teenage pregnancy in Leicester City, a shocking viral film was created, showing a teenage girl giving birth on a school field. The unbranded film was placed on YouTube with the pioneering strategy that it would most likely be removed for breaching the website's graphic content. A media campaign then followed using a new branded version of the viral to increase awareness, backed up with an informative website, online drama and competition.


    Mystery Packages
    Proximity London

    With a need to target a younger audience for support and donations, the RNLI engaged 12 of the UK's most prolific young vloggers as ambassadors. Each vlogger was sent an anonymous 'mystery package' inviting them to rebrand their generation, challenging negative perceptions of young people. The resulting films received almost a million views, and via these 12 people 11% of 15-20 year olds in Britain were reached.

    The Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity (Skcin) & Limelight Public Relations

    ComputerTan is an innovative hoax campaign, engaging a hard to reach audience with an important message about skin cancer. On visiting the website, users click through to the free tanning trial, and their computer is converted into an array of buzzing UV bulbs. Shortly afterwards users were confronted with shocking images and facts about skin cancer as well as a link to Skcin's website.

    Blackpool: J'aime la Tour
    visitBlackpool & SKV Communications

    VisitBlackpool's humorous viral film playing on the similarities between the Eiffel and Blackpool Towers generated talkability and achieved a revaluation of Blackpool. An exclusive was given to the BBC which sparked take up amongst other media and overwhelming public awareness.


    It doesn't have to happen
    Home Office & Manning Gottlieb OMD

    This campaign to reduce knife crime created a community of young people to deliver its message. The campaign name, its direction and production responsibilities were all created by young people, with the message being delivered on Bebo and on the ground.

    Kasabian Football Hero
    Columbia Records / Umbro & Sony Music Creative

    Sony teamed up with Umbro to promote the release of Kasabian's single 'Underdog' and Umbro's new sportswear line. They programmed and built a giant 'Guitar Hero' game, played with footballs by football freestylers. The game itself showcased the new Kasabian single as well as the new Umbro clothing line. A short documentary of the project was released on YouTube.

    Lips Number One Hits: Lips Jukebox for Xbox 360
    Xbox & AKQA

    To celebrate the launch of Xbox's karaoke game, Lips: Number One Hits, AKQA created an entertaining and shareable online application. The app used facial recognition technology to position animated lips on Facebook users' photos, encouraging them to create and share karaoke videos with their friends.


    Hopper Invasion
    Sony Ericsson & Dare

    The Hopper Invasion enabled users to inflate spacehoppers by the power of Twitter and the #pumpt tag, extending a campaign idea online and beyond. 245,000 hoppers were created by more than 17,000 people, pumping the hoppers in the warehouse, live, by the power of Twitter.

    House of Cards
    Shelter & Leo Burnett

    The House of Cards campaign was created with no budget, but raised awareness and money for Shelter. As well as a traditional media campaign, the concept was extended to an exhibition of leading British artists, a talent competition and an auction.

    onedotzero_adventures in motion festival identity 2009/2010
    onedotzero & Wieden + Kennedy

    The festival identity actively involved onedotzero's core audience of design and computing enthusiasts in the creation of an innovative design piece. Identity assets were generated by users and interacted with at a Nokia-powered identity projection at BFI Southbank.


    Accessible Newsreader

    This project was developed to open CBBC's news content to disabled audiences, initially designed to cater for complex motor disabilities such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida. The simple clutter-free interface displays a rectangle around a menu item, and then moves between each option on a timed delay. When the desired option is highlighted it can then be selected via the enter key.

    Scraperwiki Ltd

    ScraperWiki is a data store which allows developers to scrape, store, aggregate, and distribute unstructured public data in more useful, structured formats. The ambition is to fill ScraperWiki with thousands of public data sets that can be used by journalists, researchers, developers and public bodies.

    To see the rest of the shortlist please visit here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/megas/shortlist

    Picture: A man standing in front of a microphone on a stage at the Media Guardian Innovation Awards Ceremony, with thanks to joellybaby for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Comms license with some rights reserved.

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    The Digital Marketplace
    Everybody Has A Story To Tell
    LocalGovCamp is ON!
    The Innovation ShortlistSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    The Digital Marketplace

    What and When?

    An event hosted by Stratford on District Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council on 12th March 2010 at the Heritage Motor Centre, Banbury Road, Gaydon, Warwick, CV35 0BJ from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.


    Both Stratford and Solihull were awarded Beacon status for their work in respect of digital inclusion. However the work we are doing with our partners plays an essential part in the transformation of our Council services. We are using this event to share this work and demonstrate some of the key projects in respect of transforming service delivery and increasing digital inclusion around the needs of our customers.

    Our partners which include the NHS, NHS Direct (West Midlands) Coventry and Wolverhampton Universities, Warwickshire Police, Volunteer Action, BT, the West Midlands Ambulance Trust, members of our LSP and Councils from across the West Midlands region, as well as key private sector suppliers will be present to demonstrate the work we are doing to improve the quality of life for our residents and workers and improve the experiences for visitors.

    You will also have an opportunity to see the work we are doing with our communities in respect of increasing local participation and to provide our residents and communities with the tools and capabilities to solve their own problems.

    The marketplace will have the following themes:-

    ·Promoting and enabling independent living

    ·Increasing public participation in the way services are delivered and developed

    ·Increasing opportunities for learning and increasing knowledge

    ·Strengthening the Local Economy and encouraging investment

    There will be over 70 market stalls showcasing our work with officers on hand to provide advice and guidance to local authorities on our approaches, successes and lessons learned.

    You will be able to meet with strategic leads from our councils and partners, elected members as well as the opportunity to discuss projects with development and delivery officers ranging from Total Place, front line service delivery improvements, community projects, deprivation mapping, self-managed community learning programmes, the Warwickshire Direct Partnership which uses a single CRM across all Councils in Warwickshire, through to our regional plans for providing a single regional solution in respect of the increase of migrant and transient workers and our joint work with universities in respect of e-tourism

    There will be demonstrations covering areas such as intergenerational work, independent living solutions, connecting our communities programme, joint work with social housing partners including rural community housing projects designed to improve skills and job opportunities, providing free or subsidised broadband in high-rise blocks, interactive poster developments using RFID technology through to our plans in respect of e-tourism and integrated health services.

    We will showcase the work we are doing on increasing back office efficiencies and automation to reduce duplication. You will have the opportunity to see demonstrations on how we have automated certain key administrative systems (mileage, subsistence, annual leave, sickness) which have reduced administrative burdens significantly through to the plans we have for developing a single 'tell us once' system across all service areas, interactive on-line public participation meetings and the work that we have done using Lean Systems Thinking in areas such as Planning, Revenues and Benefits, Customer Services and life events.

    The following link provides a snapshot of an earlier marketplace event held in 2008. Whilst this event was much smaller, the following provides a flavour of what you can expect:- http://blip.tv/file/1625240/

    Highlighting Issues

    The event will be covered by the Municipal Journal and Birmingham Post as we want to use the event to highlight the growing issues for rural areas in respect of skills gaps, poor connectivity and lack of knowledge about services against our plans to improve quality of life through our partnership plans and activities. Through this event we aim to :-

    ·Raise the profile of digital inclusion as a relevant topic to local authorities and their partners

    ·Position digital inclusion as relevant to CAA and the performance management framework

    ·Engage senior level representatives from local authorities, their partners and sector organisations to highlight the growing issues for rural areas in accessing services and increasing skills and job opportunities

    ·Highlight the importance of robust connectivity to rural economies and their development and prosperity.

    Picture: A busy marketplace fruit stall surrounded by customers with thanks to alessandro_pinna for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    Are You Experienced?
    Who said all pop-ups need to be blocked?
    All consuming Google?
    The Digital MarketplaceSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    The Best Things In Life Are Free

    Sometimes we forget that the best things in life are free, especially when it comes to innovation.  I have invited Jon Harvey, Director of JonHarveyAssociates and keen blogger to discuss his view on this...

    'Nearly a year ago, I established a newsblog with the purpose of documenting, supporting and celebrating the small and creative ideas that are making a difference in the public and third sectors. Since then, I have managed to find and write up approximately 300+ innovations that frontline staff have implemented to save a bit of money, improve a part of practice or simply make work easier and better. People have visited the blog from all around the world, as well as the UK, and it has had nearly 10,000 page-loads!

    The blog is based on the simple premise that when it comes to improving an organisation, the best place to start is with the people who work in it. I think the best organisations are the ones which have created and maintained the conditions in which people feel able and moved to come forward with their ideas for improvement. I think far too many public (and commercial) organisations have become too dependent on the ‘bring in the big teams of expensive experts’ approach to transforming services. The worrying fact is that vast amounts of tax payers money are spent (and will be spent over coming months) on these large programmes of change – when so much more could be done with ‘home grown’ talent! (There is an ongoing debate on linked-in about this if you want to engage in it: http://preview.tinyurl.com/yhljd2l : Why do public sector organisations keep on hiring consultants on vast budgets to create new structures / systems etc. when so much could be done with the existing staff?)

    I have managed to find the ideas by searching the net, spotting posts from various organisations on twitter (and the like) but mostly through writing to local authorities, the police and so forth. Sometimes I get a nil or formal response ( such as “We don’t have a list of small creative ideas in our council...”). But often I get a reply that delights me. I am delighted because I know that someone has had the bright idea and made it happen. I chose to use a blog – as this was simple to keep up to date, made the information dynamic and encouraged interaction. Most people just read the blog – but I am having an increasing number of comments being posted. Using a blog format does come with complications – as some public organisations ‘block’ blogs. But I think this will change as people up to the power of Web 2.0 to interact and engage with people – be they fellow professionals or citizens.

    There are so many ideas on the blog (and it is still growing) – I do not have favourite as such. However, the one example I use to illustrate what the blog is all about is a scheme in Wandsworth about garden sharing. I imagine they found they did not have enough allotments to match demand and then Age Concern highlighted the problem of isolated older people with gardens to spare. People are now matched up – gardeners get somewhere to grow vegetables, the older people get company and garden that looks good – and everyone wins! It is an imaginative solution to a problem. There is more information here.  I also adore the idea from Kettering of recycling boxes on wheels for people who found lifting them tricky. This is another example of where frontline staff listened to their citizens and implemented a great idea!

    You can visit it here: http://smallcreativeideas.blogspot.com/ Please browse and search for ideas that could help you. Moreover, if you have an idea that you would like to share with the world – please email me. (jon@jonharveyassociates.co.uk) http://jonharveyassociates.blogspot.com/ (my ‘other’ blog!)' Thanks!

    Appeal on Twitter: Why do you use blogging?

    Picture: A cartoon showing two stick men.  One is saying 'Are you blogging this?' in a speech bubble and the other is replying 'You wish!', with thanks to teemus for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.

    Twitter responses:

    DavidWilcox - Blogging in the knowledge ecosystem: outboard brain, incubating ideas, learning http://bit.ly/5BtTPC

    DavidWilcox - Tougher to get exact value from blogging because of shift to Twitter. I use to evolve narratives. Story/sense emerges from posts/links.

    laurenivory - New to the game- to me blogging is reflection and freedom. Can develop your view in a blog- see it as a tool for learning :)

    MorningReverie - Blogging is personal - plus, use of tags = easier to find what u want to read/easier categorising.. can show talent??

    Mickelous - I blog to give a personal view on learning technologies. I often refer people to posts so I guess it reaches out there a bit!

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    Having trouble finding a video?
    The Aftermath, Presentations and All
    Event: LocalGovCamp
    The Best Things In Life Are FreeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    The 5th Feb Low Down

    Here are my favourite links for the week, go have a read...

    The Go London social innovation competition launches today! Get your bright ideas in to get London moving at http://www.go.london.nhs.uk/ #golondon

    Young social reporters now have lots more interviews up from young people in a digital world event #ypdw2010 - http://bit.ly/cMCmOo

    "Stop talking about innovation" - follow Peter on his new blogsite http://peterharrisonblogs.blogspot.com/ #blog #innovation #management

    New blog post: Top hyperlocal blogs http://scottishroundup.co.uk/2010/02/01/top-hyperlocal-blogs/

    New post on money matters and @Financial_Tales http://redjotter.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/financial-fairy-tales/ ( one for @gandy )

    Six Emerging Technologies That Will Impact College Campuses http://bit.ly/bZ8DR2

    Public Libraries Take Information Literacy to the Next Stage http://bit.ly/96V7e0

    LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2010 http://bit.ly/a8wd5j

    The App School – Creative Innovation Lab: The App School Creative Innovation Lab We’re on the look-out for young p... http://bit.ly/cnWorr

    Bristol City Council ask the public to review their bus services http://bit.ly/cyTAfY

    Attitude Really is Everything http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/attitude-really-is-everything

    Why the Social Web can't be ignored http://literacyispriceless.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/why-the-social-web-cant-be-ignored-2/

    The World's First Tweetup on an Aircraft: http://www.penn-olson.com/2010/02/03/breaking-the-worlds-first-tweetup-on-an-aircraft/

    NASA Astronuat Tweets From Space http://www.penn-olson.com/2010/01/22/nasa-astronaut-tweets-from-space/

    Lessons Learned fr http://www.smartertravelsutton.org.uk/: http://tinyurl.com/yhjoo6y 

    31 Interesting Social Media Data Visulisation Tools http://pulse2.com/2010/02/03/31-interesting-social-media-data-visualization-tools/

    OpenAmplify -  identifies the parts of speech in text and captures indicators of emotional meaning http://davidkuhta.com/2010/02/semantic-technologies-in-action-openamplify/

    Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

    On-line Digital Inclusion Conference

    Putting People First: using digital inclusion to promote life chances within a rural community

    You are invited to take part in an on-line conference, hosted by the IDeA, on 2nd 3rd and 4th of March 2010

    As a Beacon Council for Digital Inclusion we wish to share our experiences in using digital technology to improve peoples’ lives through improving access to services and tackling social exclusion in a rural setting.

    Specific topics will include:

    ·“Talking Heads” - A series of brief podcasts from a range of people including our Chief Executive, Heads of Service and members of the community, with their views on digital inclusion and the differences it can make.

    ·Digital inclusion - the journey

    ·How the use of data has transformed our ability to reach vulnerable people and achieve efficiencies

    ·Working with partners to improve peoples’ lives

    This free conference is intended to be a shared learning experience for everyone who is striving to make a step change in digital inclusion.  To take part you need to take a few minutes to register on the IDeA’s Communities of Practice website at http://www.communities.idea.gov.uk/

    If you require any further information or have any queries, please contact Louise Walker, Beacon Co-ordinator Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Tel: 01538 395758 Email: louise.walker@staffsmoorlands.gov.uk

    - Kirsty Russell

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    Everyone Has A Story To Tell
    Are You An Avid Reader?
    Smarter or Sharper Government?
    The 5th Feb Low DownSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Everyone Has A Story To Tell

    Last year BBC My Story, invited adults to write a true personal story and enter it into a UK-wide competition with the chance of having it featured on a BBC television programme in 2010 and even published as a book.

    Over 7500 people entered the writing competition and 30% were adult learners who had level 2 literacy qualifications or lower.

    The winners of the competition will be announced later in the year.

    Kent had a good number of entries thanks to their Libraries and Skills Plus Centres who held sessions in November.

    The tutor’s worksheets and lesson plans are still available to download for free on the BBC My Story website – you can find them all here

    - Written by Eleanor Gloster, BBC Learning Project Manager for Kent, Sussex and Surrey

    Picture: A graffiti stencil saying 'Insert Your Life Story Here'. The writing is in black on a yellow background, with thanks to Auntie P for publishing on Flickr under Creative Comms Licence, some rights reserved.
    Everyone Has A Story To TellSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Call for facilitators!

    Transformed by You on Campus

    What do we mean?

    We are bringing student innovators together for a day to develop prototypes of online tools that tackle local challenges. See the presentation below for more details on the approach.

    Who do we want to involve?

    We are inviting students from the Digital Arts and Engineering Course. Facilitators will be invited who can help out during the day to create the glue with participants, while critical friends will provide advice on how the ideas could work in a public service environment.

    We want people who can create the glue with participants as well as facilitate the activities within the group and make sure activities are completed on time.

    As well as facilitators, we will also invite “critical friends” to drop in and out of groups and provide advice on how the ideas could work in real life. We will also invite people who can provide general support on the day.

    What does the analysis show us?

    The success of this day will be based as much on the quality of relationships that are formed, as it is on the event itself. To incentivise people to achieve something, we want to let them experience and test out different ways they can get involved. The organisers will seed facilitators to lead discussions that captivate people.

    There are different ways of organising “innovation camps” - from informal meetups like at Teacamps, all day events like at 2gether08 to weekends like at SI Camp. Whatever type of activity is chosen, there needs to be a balance between centrally coordinated and self-organising activities.

    Bottom-up activities are very popular but they’re also very new to people, so we want facilitators to make it as comfortable as possible for people to self-organise, or if it senses people are finding difficult to do that, then playing a more “supporting” role by suggesting ways forward.

    How would the day run if you were facilitating?

    9am - Guest presentations

    Organisers will introduce the agenda and approach of the day and the challenges set. They will also introduce you as facilitators.

    10 - Group 1: Brainstorming ideas in response to client’s brief

    Students work in teams of four to come up with ideas
    Facilitators support the session
    University working with teams

    11:30 Coffee break – teams discuss initial ideas with mentors

    12:00 Brainstorming session resumes

    1pm - Lunch

    Group 1 teams briefing Group 2 about their ideas

    2pm - Group 2: Prototyping solutions to ideas

    Facilitators support the session
    University working with teams

    3pm - Coffee break – teams discuss initial prototypes with mentors

    4pm - Presentations of developed prototypes to the client

    5pm - Close

    What would you require from you prior to the day?

    We are looking for a short submission response detailing how you will provide the above requirements and any other inclusions as you feel are appropriate.

    The submission must include:-

    1. Your background including any previous work in this area

    2. Costing including VAT

    3. Any ideas and feedback you have on the approach to facilitation and organisation of the day

    4. Your name and contact details

    All responses to be returned by 12th February 2010 at 5pm to innovation@kent.gov.uk.

    The submissions will be evaluated based on previous experience, understanding of the requirements, cost and the best value offered to Kent County Council.

    The successful applicant will be contacted by 19th February 2010. It is anticipated that an initial detailed meeting with the organisers of the event will take place within the following 5 days.

    For any further details please contact Noel Hatch on 07515992174 or noel.hatch2@kent.gov.uk.

    Are there any rules and boundaries?

    Rules and boundaries are useful to ensure that you as a facilitator and the participants know where you stand. These are rules we expect facilitators to apply:

    Respect others, no idea is a bad one! Listen. Feedback. Ensure everyone can take part and speak. Be trustworthy and build trust. Maintain any confidentiality if a participant requests so. Balance your speaking time to enable participants to take part. Prompt return from breaks.

    What challenges shall we set the participants?

    We will set the participants a variety of challenges. Although each group can only pick one, it gives people a wide selection they would want to brainstorm ideas based on these. Examples of challenges could include developing prototypes or mockups of ideas on how to “find out what’s going on in the local area”, “report problems, “help people help each other”.

    What will the venue provide?

    The venue hosts a room where the people can meet and network and breakout spaces where people can get into groups and develop their ideas. These all have wifi internet connection. There will also be post its, pens and flipcharts provided as well as refreshments.

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    Are You Experienced?
    Who said all pop-ups need to be blocked?
    All consuming Google?
    Call for facilitators!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    LocalGovCamp is ON!

    This will be an all-day event (9am - 5pm) on the 4th March 2010 in partnership with IDeA. Venue: Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG.

    LocalGovCamp will keep it *very* local so as to not get confused with UKGC10.

    Themes will be relevant to anyone working with local government in the social media/digital engagement space. We are aiming to create spaces for discussion and engagement, the sharing of experiences and creation of new ideas. Conversations are encouraged. We will have lots of parallel sessions and break-out spaces. In the tradition of localgovcamps, you set the agenda in the beginning of the morning and afternoon sessions.

    Apart from local authorities, MPs, councillors, ICT and social media specialists, we are inviting arts centres and other local heroes to work with us on involving their existing communities in learning how to engage online.

    So even if you’re not able to make it for the whole day, come for however long you can!

    You can register for your ticket on the Eventbrite page.

    'Over 25 authorities are booked onto the LocalGovamp in March and I'm really looking forward to meeting with colleagues from around the country, many of whom I follow on Twitter or have emailed but never met. Social media and its implications for public sector work is a fast moving, ever changing area. It's really hard to keep up with all developments so these events are a great way to share stories and experiences. I hope to learn a lot from the others there and contribute what I can!' - Hollie Snelson, Internal Communication Manager for KCC.

    - A special thank you to Anke Holst, whose blog can be found here: http://theanke.wordpress.com/

    Picture: The LocalGovCamp logo: orange background with 'An unconference for local government' written underneath.

    What next?

    Subscribe to iNews
    E-mail us your ideas/thoughts
    More Articles

    The Social Civic Nudge
    The 'Why Don't You?' Web
    Event: Innovating Out of the Recession
    LocalGovCamp is ON!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend