Martin Chaney — who leads the digital transformation team at City hall writes about the GLA’s first ever Smart City Unconference.
Saturday 21st April 2018 was a beautiful day. Not just because Spring had finally sprung, but because it was the day that 140 enthusiastic people came to City Hall to share ideas on how to make London smarter together.
Smart London Camp was an unconference, meaning that the agenda was set on the day. For many, this was their first unconference but there was no shortage of people keen to pitch their session ideas.
In total, more than 50 different sessions were pitched and voted on covering topics such as:
- ‘How do we decide what information is collected on our streets?’
- ‘How do we use data to improve emergency services?’
- ‘How to use citizen science to change the city?’
The diversity of session pitches really reflected the mix of people in the room, from the public sector and government, third sector and industry.
The session pitches were then amalgamated by the amazing Camp Makers into 25 sessions designed to group themes so that the majority of topics could get discussed.
Each session was different. Some had a few people, some had many and people exercised their right to vote with their feet and move between rooms.
Some exhibited high energy post-it wielding excitement whilst other sessions were more low key and thoughtful, but hopefully everyone gained something from each session.
Meanwhile, the Camp Makers made notes to capture as much as possible from each session.
How to decide what the best bits were?
Was it the passion shown from every attendee to make London smarter? Was it the sheer range of conversations being had? Maybe it was introducing the unconference format to so many new people? Was it the way that everyone joined in every conversation, purely with the intent of contributing to making things better or maybe it was the fact that so many new connections were made?
All of these are fantastic and there is isn’t just one thing, so personally I think it’s simply that we actually stand a chance of making London smarter together because Saturday 21st April 2018 demonstrated that we have the talent, knowledge and the will to make it happen.
Thank you to our sponsors!
Also thanks to Smartup Visuals for live-scribing and capturing the event with your amazing creativity.
Well, we plan to make Smart London Camp an annual event, so keep an eye out for that. Next year we’ll be able to see what progress has been made. The 2018 Smart London Camp was part of the wider listening exercise to inform the new Smart London Plan so we’ll be able to discuss how that has come to life in 2019.
On that note, keep an eye out for for the Smart London Plan which will be announced during London Tech Week in June 2018 by following https://medium.com/@SmartLondon.
And finally, as per the call to all delegates at the end of the day, if you made a new connection, remember to follow up because you never know what will happen.
It may just be the next step in making London smarter together.