geeKyoto – aftermath

Well, Saturday’s event was really quite stonking. I was not sure really what to expect, Mark and Ben had been a bit vague in their list of speakers, so I rocked up not knowing what the day held, apart from being surrounded by super-cool people.

What we did know was the theme: We broke the world, how can we fix it? A variety of speakers addressed this directly or indirectly, and over the past 24 hours of random reflection on the day, the answers seem to be (for me):

1. Rediscovering the simple joys of being with friends and of being in our natural environment. Adrian Hon & Naomi Alderman, talking up the Secular Sabbath (brilliant, brilliant idea – if a bit daunting), were the most compelling proponents of this. The basic objective being:

Turn off your mobile phone, stay away from the computer, ignore the TV, and settle back with a good book or a conversation with friends.

Those of you who know me, or have followed my recent de-cluttering exercise on this blog, will appreciate how much this idea intrigues me – but I need to work out how exactly I will do it and when – rubbish, hey?!

2. Determination and resolution to continue, even when it gets difficult: the keynote was Ben Saunders… a brilliant and eloquent speaker, inspirational and the rest, I am sure you can imagine. The challenge he set himself – to walk solo and unsupported to the North Pole – was really an exploration of his own ability: How far could he push himself? (And of course, the age-old knee-jerk reaction to being told that something is ‘impossible’).

Read his blog, it does a far better job than I ever could in explaining what he did and why, but his words were inspiring and he challenged us to test our own boundaries, take charge of the hours of life we had been given and to do something with them that pushed our comfort zone. I like that, I am not sure what it means for me – yet – but I will.

3. Collaboration – this is not news, but it seems to be gathering strength in practical ways: Open Source clearly being one, cross promotion of good ideas, events that are run specifically to encourage collaboration between all sectors. I cannot pick out a specific speaker to represent this, it was just a running theme.

4. Money – cool toys can be made, but they are expensive to make and therefore cost a lot to buy. Some people are already sharing some of their secret ingredients on Open Source, but others were not.

This created a bit of a stir, but quite frankly, it is all very well being noble and doing all of this great stuff to help improve the legacy of the world for our children, but you can’t do it for free. People need money to live, so that they can afford the time to spend designing, creating and selling all of this great stuff. You don’t have to be a martyr to the cause, if you have a great idea, do it, make money if you can, but find ways to give back/share as well, whether that be through Open Source, or reducing the carbon footprint in manufacture/delivery of said cool toy, having a pricing plan that brings down the cost over the years and enables everyone to benefit, regardless of financial status. Collaborate with other people in your field, or related to it.

Making money is fine, but best done with a fully operational social conscience.

I think that is it, well for me this is what I took from the day. As soon as Mark and Ben put up the video and other links from speakers I will ping back from here so that you can share the joy.

Come next year, you will like it.


One evening at one of Steve Moore’s dos, I rather rashly agreed to speak for ten minutes at the geeKyoto event – having no idea what it was about, or indeed what I could bring to the party.

For those of you who are not aware of it, this is the point:

We broke the world. Now what?

Mark Simpkins and Ben Hammersley announce a one day conference in central London, with designers, technologists, artists, architects, policy-makers, explorers, economists and scientists, and clever people like you, to discuss the future and how we’ll live in it.

Mark and Ben duly listed me as a speaker (thanks boys) on the website (I begged to be taken off – duly removed, but now I want to go back on :)) – hey I am female!

Mitch Sava from Polywonk is also speaking, and I hope that we can collaborate as his area is policy – and we know each other a bit.

Ben wants something about the UKGovBarCamp, therefore I roped in Mr Gould, (sorry J), and sat down to think.

Bizarrely, musing here helps me shape my ideas, and any input from you would be greatly appreciated, either here or directly to my gmail account.

So… how to apply UKGovBarCamp and policy to fixing the world? (Social Media Superheroes)

What comes to mind, and excites me, is the collaboration between civil servants, consultants and policy people. This is where the energy lies in ‘getting stuff done’. For energy and determination is required, believe you me, to chip through the quagmire of bureaucracy that we work in, (I am sure this is not limited to the public sector).

The UKGovBarCamp successfully created a virtual world where collaboration has been enabled, and the ideas seeded and nurtured; however, there is a long way to go to affect that change in the reality of public sector life.

So, what I think I want to talk about is collaboration across diverse, and often adverse, sectors/talents. It is very much a case of the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…

Hopefully, although the running script said that I will be speaking, it will actually be a co-voiced experience, with Jeremy, Mitch and myself.

Lord knows, but it will happen, and I would appreciate any thoughts… please 🙂