Local Government Collaboration Challenge

OK, so Local Government Collaboration Day is locked in for 3 November, but what next? What sort of things can you do on the day?

I'm glad you asked! Here are 11 things to do on Local Government Collaboration Day (or any other day) to make Local Government more collaborative.

1. Share local government related information via social media

Whether it is an interesting article you've found somewhere or original content that you've produced, if you think it might be of interest to others in the local government sector, share it via social media. If one person who sees it learns something as a result, it is worth the effort.

There are quite a few social media platforms you can use, why not try 4 or 5?

  • Linkedin - There are a lot of Local Government people on Linkedin, and in a lot of ways it is a blogging site as much as it is a social media platform, so it's a great option particularly if you have a bit of original content you want to get out there. I you have got original content to share, click on "Write an Article" and fire away. It is pretty straight forward.
  • Yammer - If you aren't so confident about airing your ideas publicly, you could try Yammer. There are quite a few Local Government related Yammer Groups out there, the MAV Environmental Sustainability Group, being one good example.
  • Facebook - Enough said!
  • Google+ - Google+ isn't on everyone's radar, but there is a very strong science and technology community lurking over there. If what you want to talk about lies at the intersection of Local Government and the Future, Science or Technology give it a try. You can find me here and there is a bit more information about Local Government Collaboration Day here.
  • Twitter - Not a huge fan of Twitter myself. I've never been able to express myself very well within the character limit, but if you are looking for Local Government people to tweet at/to/with, you can find them via the #YourRatesatWork hash tag.

2. Create or edit a wiki page about a local government related topic.

  • I guess I'm blowing my own trumpet a bit here, but the feedback I get is that the Local Government & Municipal Knowledge Base is a really valuable resource for people new to the local government sector. If a few more people added their knowledge to pages about topics they know something about it would soon become an even better resource.
  • It's not all about LGAM though. Setting up a wiki is pretty easy. I'd love to see a few industry bodies and/or Councils set up there own public wikis and encourage their commmunity members to contribute their knowledge to them. Extra points if the content of the wikis is governed by a creative commons license. For me getting on board the creative commons bandwagon is the single most important thing Councils can do to make collaboration easier.

3. Publish a document under a creative commons license

  • Don't like Social Media? Don't like wikis? You can still share your knowledge via a creative commons license. Just add the appropriate statement at the bottom of your document and that's it. Simple! Here is an example. It is a HTML document, but a Word document or a PDF file would work just as well.

4. Switch your Council website over to a creative commons license

  • If publishing a single document under a creative commons licence is a good thing, then switching your whole website over to a CC Licence has got to be even better. The City of Whittlesea did it and everything went smoothly. If your Council hasn't made the switch already, why don't you spend a bit of time between now and November 3 lobbying your IT department or who ever is responsible for the decision to make the change?

5. Share some code

  • Open Source Software & Local Government seems like an excellent match. All Councils have basically the same software needs, so software developed inhouse at one Council is likely to be useable by other Councils. If your IT Department has developed some software in house why not open source it and share it with the other 500+ Councils in Australasia. Let them build on it and improve it and pretty soon there will be a healthy local government software eco-system that everyone will benefit from.
  • The City of Casey seems to be a leader in this space. They are using bitbucket to open source the code behind their pet registration and hard rubbish booking software. It would be absolutely sensational collaboration-wise if other councils followed their lead.

6. Share some data

  • Govhack has been in my news feeds quite a bit over the last few weeks. Apparently 2,300+ amazing, creative, clever, good-looking participants have developed a whopping great 379 projects/apps based on government open data. Imagine what they could do next year if more Councils opened up their data?

7. Join a special interest group

  • This one is easy. Join a special interest group, and share your knowledge with your peers both online and in person. LGPro is pretty active in this area. They sponsor nearly thirty special interest groups covering a wide variety of topics. If you are based outside of Victoria or can't find what your interested in already there, Collaboration Day could be the perfect day to find others with similar interests and create your own.

8. Network

  • Build up a network of Local Government contacts and get to know what makes them tick. A pretty old school concept this one, but social media, makes it easier than ever. My goal is to get to know one person (hopefully the one most passionate about inter-council knowledge sharing) at every Council around Australia. (Send me a connection request now!!)

9. Share a photo

  • A picture paints a thousand words. Photos are used on a daily basis by Councils for a whole range of reasons.

They are or can be used to:

  • improve reports, newsletters, strategies, procedures & work instructions, by making them look better and/or help explain the points being made,
  • illustrate asset condition scores,
  • keep a record of a construction projects,
  • help explain a particular topic or situation.
  • etc., etc.

These days, photos are easily captured by anyone with a smart phone, and 9 times out of 10 it will be easy to find the photo you need for whatever your purpose. Occasionally however you just can't find the exact photo you need for the purpose you need. This is especially true if the photo needs to be published online, and you aren't sure of a particular photo's copyright status.

So if you have some photos of a local government related activities and/or assets share them around. Not sure how? Read this.

10. Share a video

  • If a picture paints a thousand words, how many words does a great video equate to? If you've ever watched a TedX or an RSA Animate video, you'll know how informative they can be, and the Khan Academy is doing some great educational video work, but where are all the local government related videos? If every Council created one video about a council function or service that they are really good at delivering explaining how it is they do it, wouldn't that be a great resource for the sector? More about the idea here.

11. Join and/or contribute to a mailing list or internet forum

Join a mailing list or internet forum and ask questions and give answers.

There are probably hundreds of them out there to choose from. Here a just a few I know about:

If you know of any others please feel free to add them to the list.

Related Pages


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