Julie Williams from the Public Service Transformation Network.

What a great event I attended on Friday 17/7/15 hosted by iNetwork!

Despite leaving the directions at work and having to rely on my unfailingly poor sense of geography, I arrived on time spurred on by curiosity, what exactly is an Unconference?

All was quickly revealed. At a conference you have an agenda but all the really interesting stuff happens in the breaks. Well at an Unconference there is no agenda, so it is up to the delegates to make it interesting.

Folks could come pre-armed with a problem they needed help to solve or a topic that they would like to debate more widely. Those forearmed gave a two minute ‘pitch’ to the rest and we quickly had an agenda of interesting sessions to attend, including permission to duck and dive between sessions held in parallel. Facilitators helped the day flow with ease, including holding impromptu sessions where people just wanted more information on topics that been generated through creative exchanges. So plenty thinking on your feet.

I readily ducked and dived between sessions, keen as mustard not to miss an opportunity. I attended sessions on

  • How to create space for innovation?’ How can overworked social workers find the time to innovate?
  • What exactly is devolution and what will it mean for me?
  • Children’s Mental Health – how to spend money and get the best results?
  • How do we inject speed into change?
  • Helping Carers – is it really a minefield out there?
  • Behavioural Economics, a game changer?
  • Asset Based Communities – ideas for community resilience
  • Social Innovation – zeros to heroes

Hopefully the titles will intrigue because the sessions certainly did and some of the ideas, whilst specific, are portable and will be used much wider to create better services and outcomes.
The day was fast paced, enjoyable, fascinating and motivating and I would like to thank the organisers and facilitators for a day well spent.