I see a number of groups these days called ‘digital leaders’ which made me reflect on:
who/what is a digital leader?
how many are there; is there a finite number?
what elements constitute this kind of leadership?
Some common features of leadership are:
leading from the front and setting an example
taking a calculated risk
being willing to make mistakes, learn and move on
be different from the crowd
If there are a large group of people now called digital leaders can/do all these attributes apply to them? Are some people now digital leaders due to being in a post called digital leader?
Are we looking in the wrong place for our digital leaders?
What about the first people who blogged about what they do in the public sector without explicit permission that they could do?
Or the pioneers who set up the social media channels at their own risk; channels that are now taken a core communication tools?
How about the people who give up their weekends or evenings to attend Meetups to talk about digital issues; or go to events such as the various unconferences or camps.
What about the people who take the initiative to set up and run such events which eats deeply into their personal lives?
Or the person who championed the users or open data long before it became fashionable?
Surely these are the people showing true digital leadership? They live these values every day and show/ed their commitment by doing what they say and making significant personal sacrifices.
What do you think?
On 30 April we held our first Public Sector API meetup at the National Audit Office. We had about twenty people turn up from a wide variety of backgrounds.
A few people have asked what happened at the meetup? So I will highlight a few points here though I did miss a fair amount as I was letting people into the building.
We did discuss in passing how to keep in touch and share ideas so I have set up a Google group. There is already a discussion taking place about tools and techniques.
In addition we also thought it was worthwhile trying to crowdsource what public sector APIs exist. So we have started a list in a Github wiki. Feel free to chip in with any more public sector API that you are aware of.
We are hoping to link across to the wiki from the page on Government Digital Service Design Manual pages about API.
These are pretty positive outcomes so far but perhaps the biggest one it that there is a group of people with a common interest in APIs who are finding it a bit easier to find and talk to each other.
Oh and we did go to the pub…
Last week I provided the space for an event that we grandly called the Community Managers Camp. These are my reflections on this event.
Firstly which Community Managers attended the event?
All the people were, as far as I know, from central government. To me that was a shame as I would have liked to have some colleagues from local government also be present.
The other thing that was highlighted was that some people thought the event was purely for social media community managers, funnily enough that had not occurred to me, or some of the other community managers present, whose role was to help build specialist internal communities around some tech issues.
This highlighted that we all have our preconceptions about what kind of community managers exist.
As the discussion progressed it became clear that there were a number of common issues such as generic tech problems; problems with other teams in the same organisation and other fairly familiar points from the digital engagement perspective.
We then turned to the question of which communities were actually being managed which is when the conversation became rather fascinating.
We seemed to conclude that the initial remit of a community manager was to manage external communities and examples were given of good achievements in this area.
However it then become apparent that community managers wanted to spend more time managing their internal communities. The reason being that it was people inside the organisation who should be digitally capable and best placed to interact and manage their own external online communities. The community managers role then should be to facilitate this happening. So, in theory, by managing internal communities external communities are better managed by the people best suited to do so.
So if you are a community manager does any of this sound familiar and match your aspirations?