The Big Idea

We’ve been blown away here at HousingCamp HQ,that the first 50 tickets went in a flash. Don’t fret if you’ve missed them, the next batch are being released on 1st April (no joke). Sign up for email updates to this blog if you don’t want to miss them (right hand side of the homepage).

We figured it was worth jotting down a few words on why we’re doing it, on the BHAG.

All roads lead back to the idea that *everyone* has something to offer: some thoughts, some experience, some insight worth sharing. And also that everyone has some questions to ask – sharing your vulnerability and “not knowing everything” is hugely liberating. But most of all that participating is AGT (A Good Thing). These thoughts were all manifest in the first GovCamp I attended a few years back. Initially, I was skeptical – how would the free-form agenda setting process work – how would people know to turn up if they didn’t know what was on? And I wasn’t sure about pitching a session – what if no-one wanted to come? But I was blown away by the energy and enthusiasm of the people there. And, it turns out that people don’t need a conference organiser to tell them what they want to talk about, schedule rooms, and fetch lunch. We could work it all out for ourselves.

Over the years a few new tools have been added to the GovCamp format – the original flipchart paper grid (for scheduling the sessions) has turned into a shared Google Doc – but the principles remain the same and it works like a dream. Moreover, 4 or 5 years on from that first one, the #UKGC community rocks. Its the most amazing talent pool – people who are keen to share, ask for help and generally get stuck in to solving things. The government digital space is stronger for them.

Pitches at UK GovCamp 2013

Pitches at UK GovCamp 2013

So I’ve long harboured a desire to help grow a similar movement in the social housing sector. I wasn’t sure whether the unconference format would work though – we’re all more accustomed to a traditional event format and following ordered rules. But during 2012, it felt like social housing got a bit more digital and social, and now the time is right to try this out.

The BHAG is more than simply a great day on 18 May – it’s about connecting a group of people who can share thoughts and support each other – sometimes it’s difficult being a lone-digital-ranger in a more traditional organisation. Some people might already be making the shift to digital service delivery and have stories to share and warnings of bear traps to avoid. And some will have common challenges we can work on together.

It would be *awesome* to think that come 2014, there might be a group of unconference activists, organising a series of #housingcamp events up and down the country.

So that should keep us busy for a bit. But when we get a moment, anyone want to have a chat about a TedX Social Housing idea I’ve got knocking around?…

Photo Credit: CC BY-NC 2.0 Alex Jackson on Flickr.

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