Overcoming the 50 obstacles at #localgovcamp

LocalGovCampI spent a fantastic day yesterday in Birmingham Fazely Studios at #localgovcamp – an unConference exploring local government use of the internet. I offered to lead a session based around the ‘50 Obstacles to Open Government‘ which I jotted down a while back  – and to host a discussion sharing tips and ideas for overcoming these obstacles. The notes that I took during the session are on the 50 Obstacles wik (and if you took part – please do add your own notes…), and below are a few quick reflections on the session and where the 50 Obstacles list goes now…

Top down,  bottom up, sideways?

I wrote down the 50 Obstacles based on my experience of working with front-line youth service practitioners through action research and a recent action learning set on youth participation and social network sites. They are challenges as seen from perspective of staff wanting to engage with social media, but without neccessarily having responsibility for driving forward the use of social media across an organisation.

However, the #localgovcamp session drew a wider range of participants – including service managers, web teams and more. Quickly discussions turned to the need for vision from senior management and significant cultural change as key to driving social media adoption. Vision and leadership are important. The importance of styles of leadership in organisational change is something I’ve written about before. But when it comes to social media adoption – there is a strong case for recognising the many different possible approaches. And for recognising that local authorities are collections of diverse and different teams and services with ever more blurred boundaries – not monolithic entities with a single form, function or direction .

Not only is social media adoption something that can be driven by bottom up ‘nibbling’ away at problems (as David Wilcox put it), or by top down strategic programmes, but it is also enabled by social media moving sideways – from services that find ways to adopt and use social technology sharing their stories and experiences with the rest of an organisation.

Edit PagePractical Problem Solving

You can find many of the tips people shared for overcoming hurdles over here – but I was particularly struck by the dialogue around experimentation with social media – and sharing examples of social media use and success to help managers and teams make sense of what they might be able to do.

So – I took 15 minutes out later in the day at #localgovcamp to develop the wiki page for obstacle 48: “Managers do not support staff exploration and experimentation with Web 2.0” and to add a collection of links to sources of information about what other authorities have been doing with social media. And I quickly discovered  there are a lot of great examples out there. Take a look at the wiki page here and see if you can add to it…

We only had 15 minutes in our #localgovcamp session to share tips for overcoming the obstacles, and there are still at least 4o obstacle pages which right now only list the problems and no solutions. However, they are all wiki pages, which anyone is welcome to dive in and edit to share their learning, links and insights.

Where next?

I learnt a lot throughout #localgovcamp about organisational change and social media adoption – and I’ll be reflecting more on the insights gained over the coming weeks. However – hopefully there are also some strong next steps coming up to help turn 50 Obstacles, into ’50 things that use to give us trouble… but we’ve sorted them all out now’ – including a possible session at Reboot Britain. But more on that later…

Update: Just as I was about to post this, David Wilcox upload this clip he took just after the session…

4 thoughts on “Overcoming the 50 obstacles at #localgovcamp”

  1. Just as you wished you’d been at the youth participation chat, I wish I’d been at this one 🙂 Still, time was well spent! Thanks for the notes; very interesting stuff…

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