Rather than a huge piece that might take me a while to mull over here (with HT to Dan Slee for the suggestion) are my 20 observations from CityCamp this weekend:

  1. We all owe Anthony and Susie huge thanks for their work in the organisation.  I helped – but not much.  Will do better next year guys!
  2. It is brilliant to see the continuity of the event start to emerge – I spoke to loads of people who plan to come next year.  Its really powerful doing something on this scale for a second time – I want to see it grow next year.
  3. Part of the pleasure in this was seeing ideas which started last year now being up and running – with or without the prize fund.
  4. Digital inclusion is a large and layered problem;  we need to think about access and we also need to think about motivation.  Once people have a reason to participate then the other problems can be solve.
  5. It was great to see more voluntary sector participation – I think this was a combination of the way the prize fund was structured this year as well as the pre-CityCamp event that we held.  The combination of these two things I think made it feel more accessible – but would like to ask some of the participants their views
  6. If we want to help the voluntary and community sector transform in order to meet the huge challenges that it faces then we have to help them get the best out of technology. In a City as digitally able as Brighton we should be able to help them far more effectively than we are right now.
  7. I am not sure it works as well to separate the prize process from the event.  People who don’t participate in the event don’t get the benefit of the expertise and energy and I think the projects will be poorer for it.  yes its a big time commitment but one that is worth it.  On the other hand – it felt better to be handing out more smaller awards – will be interesting to track progress on these.
  8. We should definitely send out an email and get some feedback.
  9. Yet again I felt grumpy in advance about giving up my weekend and yet again I was oh so pleased that I did.  I wish I could convey this to the people who didn’t make it for the weekend.
  10. Emma Daniel is awesome and I will join with her to make the perfect duvet cover putting-on device anytime.
  11. We get a huge contribution from the ‘out of towers’ who participate – thanks guys.
  12. If we use the AMEX stadium again (which was great) then I will definitely bring my own sandwiches
  13. Next year I will make sure that we have at least as many women speaking as men on the Friday – I am cross with myself for not getting this sorted this year and won’t let it happen again.
  14. Jo Ivens is fantastic at live tweeting – wish I were half as pithy…
  15. Always test the projector with more than 15 minutes to go before the presentation – and if possible try and have a screwdriver with you
  16. One of the things I enjoyed most both this year and last year was to see people from such different contexts and backgrounds working together – and to have the opportunity to meet so many different perspectives myself.  Even the most eclectic of us will tend to meet more people like us than those who are different and it is just so good to have your own assumptions and status quo challenged.
  17. This last point is perhaps deserving a little more thought but one of the things that I felt was lacking was a shared sense of narrative for the City as a whole.  I spent most time working on the Digital Inclusion project and I was struck by the lack of substance that is currently behind the ‘Digital City’ strap line.  If we want to bring this alive then we need a much more public and inclusive debate about what this actually means.
  18. We could probably do more with an event like this if we were to pull out some of the themes and structure the project pitches slightly.  I am wary of messing with the unconference format but there was a fair amount of repetition and slightly competing ideas that we might have been able to ease a bit and as a result create more useful projects.
  19. I want to spend a lot more time looking at the intersections of offline and online networks and spaces.
  20. Where were the Councillors?

Thanks to everyone who was there – looking forward to seeing you next year!

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