Getting into Good Trouble
I am very excited about the Winchester Unconference. This is because the last unconference I went to got me into a lot of trouble. Good trouble that is. This was the BluelightCamp 2014, hosted by Ordnance Survey in Southampton.
I went along as one of the organisers said it would be good for me. He was right, it was! Luckily for us Mark is working with the Economy and Arts team at Winchester City Council to organise the Winchester Unconference too, so we are in store for a treat.
Back to the story of how I got into good trouble. Thing is at time I did not realise I was about to be in good trouble. The impact happened a few weeks later. It was though the new ideas, contacts and little thought bombs the Bluelight Camp unleashed. This is when the good trouble started, it finished when KnowNow created Flood Event Model. Which has its own story, one not to dwell on here (ask me at the Unconference and I will spill the beans).
Educate. Inform. Entertain.
The unconference format allows you to pick what you want to hear about. Or gives you an audience ready to hear your voice. The lack of pressure and the respectful nature of proceedings makes for very convivial, involved and interesting discussion. Not your average day at the office!
One of the voices I met at BlueLightCamp 14 was Nick Allott from NQuiring Minds, (a sponsor of the Winchester Unconference). I really liked what I was hearing from Nick in terms of his approach and ambition. What this then led to was some collaborative projects. A great example of the serendipity that attending an unconference can deliver.
Collaboration a Go Go
Another benefit of attending an unconference is the networking. Meeting new potential partners, colleagues even new friends. This networking often leads to new collaboration, which is the lifeblood of innovation, change and making a difference.
From a Winchester perspective the unconference will give the citizens and businesses’ of Winchester an opportunity to pitch and hear ideas, discuss them, and maybe come up with some collaborative plans to push the best ideas forward.
Picking the favourites
When it comes to picking my favourite topics I should declare an interest as I am bit of a smart cities geek. I believe the confluence of the urban landscape, technology & society all coming together under a ‘smart umbrella’ is a massive opportunity. Yet it is fraught with danger. Humans love a shortcut and a quick buck. Sadly, my industry – computing – does not have a glorious track record avoiding shortcuts or quick bucks.
Therefore, the technology aspect of making cities smart needs to be planned, owned and managed. But that is only one side of the story. The most important element is the people. As we live and work in the cities. What do we need, want and desire?
Top of the Pops
Of the topics on offer for discussion to date my top picks in no particular order are as follows:
What all the above proposed topics will do is engage us, the citizen. They offer us an opportunity to shape something new. Also, if we the citizen put down the marker as to what we want from smarter parking; or we decide what success looks like to us from a creative space perspective, this becomes a measure. Engineers, city leaders, academics and project managers like nothing better than having a metric to argue over. Which is good.
The other element that I hope we will all experience is collaboration. Reaching out across normal boundaries and silos to come up with something new, useful and smart.
Maybe we will even discuss with the expertise we have in the room some potential actions to move ideas forward. Never know, this unconference could lead to more good trouble. Sounds good, I am in! Happy Unconferencing!
About the author:
Chris Cooper is the CTO of KnowNow Information Ltd. A digital innovation company based in Portsmouth.