Senator Kate Lundy hosted yesterday’s Publicsphere #2 event on Government 2.0. I attended Parliament House for the morning and ‘watched’ online throughout the afternoon (using the live blog, video stream and the twitter traffic (#publicsphere). It was interesting to watch presentations to an audience of 150 people, the majority of whom had laptops open and were twittering (about the event in the main) and googling relevant info to add into the twitter traffic. Personally, I felt a little overwhelmed by the many channels of information and didn’t get much value from the presentations themselves.
Things I liked about the event were:
- 15 minute presentation format – this forced speakers to have a few clear messages
- The diverse technologies available meant there was something for everyone
- Meeting some very interesting people and catching up with some people that I haven’t seen for ages
- It was very well organised and all up it ran pretty smoothly
- Seeing the passion in Kate Lundy’s eyes for getting this stuff happening
Things I didn’t like about the event were:
- A constant stream of presentations with no provision for discussion. It appeared that the organisers thought that electronic interaction via twitter and commenting on the live blog obviated the need for people to speak to each other. Exacerbating this was the preference for eating into the few breaks to make up time.
- Realising that I couldn’t cope too well with the multiple inputs while attempting to build a mind map of things that resonated with me (and watching others appear to handle it with ease). I did learn a lot about twitter on the day.
One of the key themes was the urgent need for change in the people component of the equation. Politicians and public servants live in a culture where behaviour is focussed on control of information, avoidance of risk etc. Not that they have any bad intent, they just live in a world where this is the norm. Nearly every speaker touched on this issue. Nonetheless I expect that tradition will hold and only a miniscule proportion of funding will address the change component. One approach is to find out government positive deviants and work out how to influence others to adopt their behaviours and methods. There must be some out there.
About Mark Schenk
Mark works globally with senior leadership teams to improve their ability to communicate clearly and memorably. He has been a Director of Anecdote since 2004 and helped the company grow into one of the world’s leading business storytelling consultancies. Connect with Mark on: