Guest lecturing is a first for me. It is something that I have been thinking about for some time yet the opportunities don’t always arise. I thought it was a way of giving back to society by helping more students to think about digital as a career. It is funny how these things work out. When Nicolai, who I have been working with on the Smart Stanley project, asked if I was interested then I didn’t need a second look.
My gig took place in one of the seminar rooms in Newcastle University’s Political building at 9 o’clock in the morning. I must admit that when I was a student this is a time I would never have seen, let alone go to a lecture. The course was about politics, e-government and the role that digital technologies will have to play. This allowed me the opportunity to talk about who we are as an organisation, what we do, some of our major programmes and some of the cultural changes we are going through.
I started by asking what is government. What is the difference between policy and service delivery, central or local government and indeed what is digital? These are words that people bandy about yet we’re rarely think about what they mean. Even the students struggled with them.
Essentially, this component of the module they were studying considers e-government service delivery, how and why the delivery of services (whatever those may be) are moving to online/digital platforms. Why is this happening? What is the thought process behind this? What is the benefit – cost, access, efficiency? What are the challenges?
I talked about how we had to work with a lot of variety, in a rapidly changing market and how there is a lot of tension in the system dues to cost and political pressure as well as a general lack of understanding of what we do. All of this is underpinned by digital technologies.
I got to my fifty slides done. Perhaps I had a few too many but the lecture did seem to go quite well. The students certainly took lots of note and asked a few questions. I enjoyed the experience I would certainly do it again.