Sunday, October 10, 2010

More diversity needed at Spatial@Gov

Day three heralded the graveyard shift for the speakers at Spatial-at-gov 2010. It was a case of speaking in the morning, while delegates were still fuzzy after the night before, or speaking in the afternoon, when everyone's waiting to go home.

I had the morning slot, in the government 2.0 stream, to talk about Where 2.0 and Neogeography. Despite geo-beers the night before, the room was full, and the audience seemed attentive to hear about Paradigm shifts and Bushfire Connect. The slides can be found here.

After lunch the day dwindled on, while the exhibitors were packing up. Everyone was looking out for the closing plenary, and -of course- farewell drinks.

With a topic named "Aligning the Spatial Capabilities of the Three Tiers of Government", the closing panel discussion was doomed to fail, despite facilitator Gary Nairn's best efforts. It didn’t help that really only one (federal) tier of government was present. Panellist Drew Clarke tried to stir things up by stating that government should reconsider its role: become more of a regulator and enabler, while leaving implementation and innovation to industry. The rest of the panel hosed him down quickly.

The panel discussion's fizzle was also due to a notable lack of diversity. Made up of four Anglo Saxon males of over 45 years old, representing (semi-) government institutions, there was never going to be a wide spectrum of viewpoints, let alone any real debate . While useful from a point of self-affirmation, it didn’t contribute to a very entertaining conference close.

Thus, my suggestions to the organisers for next year's event include:
  • Entertaining discussions with diverse panels. Watch ABC's Q&A for ideas;
  • Break through the Death by Powerpoint, by having one or more Ignite or Pecha Kucha sessions;
  • Deploy Social Media and Web 2.0: Twitter walls, Facebook event pages, Free Wifi, etc.
See you next year: 15-17 November 2011

1 comment:

  1. Reading your spatial@gov blogs it sounds like it was the same old thing with a few isolated exceptions. Our industry really needs to wake up and recognise that we play with information management and technology which is constantly changing. We need people to stop thinking like we are a small niche industry or an old world surveyors. The problem is not that people don't get spatial. The problem is spatial people don't understand business requirements.