We’d been thinking for a while it would be good to have some kind of get-together for people who are building stuff on the web to improve/extent/support public services.
So over the summer we applied to Sheffield University for an intern under their graduate interns scheme, and were lucky enough to find Lauren, who really understood what we were wanting to do. She found the Abbey Centre, and we booked it – a little anxiously, because we didn’t really know whether more than 10 people would turn up.
And on Monday last, we posted up a page for myPublicServices on eventBrite.
5 days and a few tweets later, and we find ourselves with 87 people registered to attend already. Given our marketing budget of £ zero, there couldn’t be a better example of the power of the web to allow groups of people to come together at low cost.
We’re overwhelmed not just by the interest, but by your support for the event. We decided to make it free, but a gift economy – you have to bring something to give, like some time, knowledge, a talk or (we’re serious) a cake. I wasn’t sure that would really work (another of Paul’s left-field ideas) but it really has – everyone is pitching in with offers of everything from chocolate brownies (yes please) to expert consultancy on financing social enterprises. Extraordinary, and inspiring.
So now we’re sifting through the offers and thinking about how to shape everything in a way that will work on the day. And, given that the whole point of the conference is that things don’t always have to be top-down, we thought it would be good to have a space on the web where we could say what we are thinking, and you could come up with more/better/different ideas.
That’s what this blog is about.