Nurturing community, building the commons
Community power and collaboration are powerful tools for improving local public services. Yet, it’s notoriously difficult to take time away from the day job and find spaces where like-minded public servants and innovators can come together to share ideas, challenges and work-in-progress.
For this reason, we’re helping invest in more public sector community-building. The “Local Digital Commons” stems from a desire to promote radically new, standards-based models and tools for local public services. Bringing together ambitious changemakers across the country for community meetups, we hope to share learnings from some of the most promising exemplars in systems change that are helping us move towards more user-friendly, flexible and impactful local public services.
In April, we piloted a meet-up in our London offices which solidified our resolve to run regular community meet-ups across the UK.
The concept is simple: anyone working on open local public service innovation - public, private, voluntary or third sector - can join us for an evening of lightning talks where peers are openly sharing the ideas and emerging products and services that could be reused by any local authority under open source, or creative commons, principles.
This, in turn, we hope helps drive quicker digitalisation of local government, and the full realisation of all of the benefits that befall residents when their needs are well met (and challenges mitigated), by well designed, data-driven services.
What have I missed?
We record and share the talks online so even if you can't be with us in person, you can still learn from the exceptional work happening across the country. We’ve heard from projects aiming at better use of data, AI, service design, and organisational design, including:
- DLUHC’s Future Councils early plans and questions to identify the recurring systemic barriers to digitalisation in local government
- Surrey County Council's pioneering tool to improve knowledge management using ChatGPT
- Greater London Authority's vision, challenges and progress with the London Datastore
- the DLUHC-led PlanX team's common products improving planning services
- our own Outpost team's open-source community directory and community using Open Referral Standards
- a retrofit service mapping a way out of vendor lock-in in housing
Whatever your interests, we aim to create an open space for all. Regardless of the stage you are in your project or career, we welcome everyone to attend, share and learn from others. This cross-service, cross-organisation and cross-discipline knowledge sharing is essential for creating better public service design culture, and ultimately, better outcomes for local service users.
We're bringing Local Digital to the Leeds Digital Festival! Join us on 21 September at Open Innovations for our next meetup. Better yet, if you have interesting work that you'd like to share, let us know when you complete the form to register to attend.
Can't join us in Leeds but still keen to get involved? Register for our mailing list and we'll keep you updated on all future events, and when new videos are released.
And in the meantime, we’re by no means the only community platform in town. LocalGov Camp is also free for public servants (soon to release tickets for October), there are sometimes OneTeamLocalGov coffee mornings, while the DLUHC Local Digital Programme hosts great roadshows.
We’re eager to make our meet-ups a complement, so get in touch to highlight where we could complement or promote other community activities.
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