On GovCamp Queensland 2012

I opened GovCamp Queensland with a traditional welcome to country.

For me this was more than just symbolic. I wanted to acknowledge the importance to ancient cultures of storytelling and shared experiences in building and sustaining resilient communities. A message that I feel has somehow been lost in modern conferences but a message that is a key tenet of the GovCamp movement worldwide.

My hope was that GovCamp Queensland would be able to emulate the ‘stories round the camp fire’ approach of ancient cultures.

I wasn’t disappointed.

image courtesy @mattbrisvegas

image courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmurray74/



On the day we had around 150 people attend with close to 40 ‘bar camp’ sessions facilitated by the attendees, countless more discussions over coffee or informal get togethers in one of the 5 bays at The Edge, three highly topical and far reaching panel Q&A sessions, one Australian premier movie screening and one inspiring keynote from David Wallace and, hopefully, many, many connections made that will live on into the future.

Open Space

Amelia’s Open Space session provided the framework for the day and the closing ‘Aha Moments‘ session brought everything together and provided us with a fabulous agenda for moving the discussions from GovCamp and out to the wider government community in our state.

The Edge

One of the stars of the day was the venue. The Edge at State Library of Queensland is almost the perfect location for a GovCamp, providing the creative spaces required to allow camp fire discussions to flourish, yet also providing A/V and other facilities on a par with any other venue in Brisbane.

Barcamp Sessions

Our barcamp sessions (sessions suggested and facilitated by the attendees) covered topics as diverse as Open Data & Emergency Management, Recreating the World Digitally, the Virtual War Memorial project in SA, Social Media Monitoring, Online engagement for Government 2.0, Internal Collaboration, Government Contact Centres, iGovernment and Reasons Against Open Data.

We had 3 main rooms and 5 bays in which to discuss, present, demo and debate.


The other stars of the day, for me, were the organising team. Not only have they been meticulously planning the event for 4 months but they were also busily running around solving the challenges that arose on the day ensuring everything ran according to plan.

We even managed to ensure the left over meals provided for the ‘no-shows’ were put to good use within the homeless communities in Brisbane through the Salvos!.


Of course, the event was only a success thanks to the passion and contribution of all the attendees. It was great to welcome guests from inter state (with the ACT, NSW and SA well represented) but it was even more wonderful to see so many people from our state working on or thinking about so many interesting things.

Session Remorse

For me, I had what John Sheridan described as ‘Session Remorse’. There were just too many amazing sessions happening in parallel and I would have loved to have been at all of them! Twitter is great for capturing the essence of sessions even if it wasn’t possible to attend them. But far from being disappointed by not being at each one, I’m actually delighted by how much is happening in our state and by how passionate this group of public servants and others are to see real and sustainable change within government here in Queensland.

Moving Forward

It’s this passion that encouraged Amelia and I to start the gov2qld community of practice and this passion that will create real waves in our state. The Community will carry on sharing ideas, experiences and learning, and we will continue to be a space to incubate ideas, foster innovation and encourage active participation.

The most exciting thing for me from GovCamp 2012 is the momentum it has created. At least one major initiative has already been seeded out of the day around presenting an evidence based case for Open Data across Queensland government. Stay tuned for more details on this!

GovCamp Queensland 2012 was simply the continuation of an ongoing conversation … but what an amazing day it was, and will, I’m sure, prove to be.

Thank you to everyone who made it possible! Here’s to next year. Follow @gov2qld to be kept up to date with future un-events.

(images courtesy of Matt Murray and David Eade).


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