Silicon Valley comes to the UK - democracy and digital
This is a great, innovative four day programme where some of Silicon Valley's A-list entrepreneurs come to the UK.
They come to inspire, be inspired and help us learn from looking through a window into their world. Over the next few days, there are a series of events in London and Cambridge where all sorts of groups get access to the Silicon Valley party.
Morning one – digital democracy and royal weddings
Morning one was at the Houses of Parliament where the session was hosted by the speaker of the house John Bercow - there was a fantastic panel set up to consider how the digital/internet world is impacting on democracy and how governments should think about engaging with citizens through technology. The panel included: Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn; John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla; Megan Smith, GM of Google.org, Joi Ito of Creative Commons; and Nancy Lubin, CEO of Do Something.Org. The debate covered a wide range of areas, but I was struck by how the takeaways for how government should engage with citizens are direct parallels for how digital and other businesses should engage with consumers:
- Take simple steps. Try things. Don't plan in a vacuum.
- Make sure you put yourself in the shoes of the citizen when you think through your ideas.
- Disseminate views and seek feedback through multiple channels not just your own.
- Learn from others and users; there is more knowledge outside the room than in it!
All things that may seem obvious are worth coming back to as you either build a business or run a government!
My other key take-out: if Nancy from the panel is right, William and Kate commemorative plates are going to be next year's big thing!
Watch this space for what comes out of session two.