Tom de Grunwald

Digital Britain Unconferences

Over the last couple of months I’ve had the pleasure of helping to create a dialogue around the UK government’s Digital Britain report. The story has been better told elsewhere, but essentially, during a meeting of some of the bigger and more established players in the UK media, Bill Thompson tweeted with the idea of having an unconference and quickly, Kathryn Corrick, Dan Hon and I (amongst others) concurred.

I suggested a simple tag to keep the discussion unified, set up a Twitter account and blog to co-ordinate information, and Kathryn, who has really driven the whole process, set up a Yahoo! Group to start getting events off the ground.

A few weeks later and we’ve seen twelve events in towns and cities around the country, including a virtual discussion of rural issues, a family unconference, hundreds of tweets tagged with #dbuc09 – a real public consultation about the future of Britain in a digital world. At one point during the Birmingham event, we were victims of our own success, when #dbuc09 started trending on Twitter and thus garnered unwanted attention.

It’s been great working with Kathryn, Bill and Alastair Duncan (who’s made an invaluable contribution to the editing stage of the process) amongst many, many others. It feels like a fascinating example of how collaboration around a common purpose can work using free web tools – something future government consultations could take from. I’ve been enormously impressed and heartened by the ideas and spirit shown by all who have participated, and encouraged that the good folk behind the report are listening. I look forward to reading the final report!

I took on the task of collating the reports from the London event, which have been published in this PDF. The idea was to embed a slideshow and audio on the blog, but as it wasn’t possible (for technical reasons), I thought I would post them here.

Digital Britain Unconference London 6 May 2009 (dbuc09) by microclimate

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