A year of work in progress – day 126

Day 126 – 18 July 2014

I saw Reegan yesterday happily beavering away in the guts of a computer. We agreed that he’d be better to stay at Meadowfield for his last day rather than hang around with me and I think he’s going to get the opportunity to go out with one of the engineers. I recall saying ‘What better way to gain an insight into the wide variety of ways in which ICT plays a part in our organization?’ than to have a work experience. Let me tell you that there are hundreds of better ways and having a young person of fifteen follow me round was not one of my greatest ideas. Still, it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.

Today was the last day of the school year and the start of six weeks of holidays. Of course we all dressed in our casual clothes and played a few games of Jenga. Our schools’ business is very seasonal but the summer isn’t a quiet period. Indeed it can be the opposite as it is a chance to catch up with all of those things that you can’t do when the pupils are around. Our installations book is full now until October so there is plenty to do. Over the summer it’s always difficult to get things done however as people take their annual leave.

Today was a combined North East ICT managers and Society of ICT Managers meeting at Ramside Hall Hotel. I wouldn’t want you to think that I spend all of my days in swanky hotels but it seems to have come round again quite quickly. The NEICT meeting was short with updates on Dynamo, the apprentice programme we’re setting up and an update on our mobile estate. We’re also looking to set up some realistic benchmarking of our services and our colleagues on Teesside were interested in joining us.

The theme for SOCITM (there is always a theme) was collaboration. We started with a demonstration of engaged cities, unified communications and more from Unify. They used to be called Siemens. The technology was great but will require culture change which is a challenge worth addressing. This was followed by a presentation on an easy to use document sharing tool from Objective Corporation which I will follow up.

Diane told us about Sunderland’s Intelligence Hub which has consumed the last nine months of her life. It looks like a fantastic project and one I must get a better understand of. It went to their cabinet in June so I’ll dig that out.

The presentation that blew me away though was from Patrick at Newcastle University who came to talk about their developing Culture Lab, a human centred cross disciplinary approach to digital civics (in case you’re wondering that is the study of the rights and responsibilities of citizens who inhabit the infosphere and access the world digitally). He showed us how clever people on working on some incredible ideas such as: FeedFinder a civic platform for mothers who need somewhere to breast feed; AppMovement a new model for location based campaigns that allow you to build an audience before creating an app which writes itself and; PosterVote a cheap electronic voting tool that allows people to spread the word and get quick feedback.

It was truly inspiring.

Learning points for today: The tiny bit directs the largest of horses; both files and flies can have a zip; arguments about land are now cartographic disputes; there are some very clever and inspiring people out there; people will learn better by making our work visible and; the lack of cash is the mother of all invention.

Today’s enjoyment rating8/10 – still a few things on my mind from yesterday.

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