Reflections on Cabinet Office Open Innovation Team secondment

Having spent three months on secondment with the Cabinet Office’s Open Innovation Team (OIT) during 2017, tasked with helping to establish the team and develop the Digital Government Partnership (as announced in the UK Digital Strategy), I can safely say that it was a fantastic learning experience.

The Office – 1 Horse Guards Road

My eyes were opened to the complexities of the Civil Service and the processes of getting quality advice to senior civil servants and ministers. During my time in Whitehall, I experienced:

  • how the Civil Service works (or doesn’t so much during purdah, elections and ministerial changes!);
  • some of the challenges facing innovative teams within a highly structured environment;
  • how to position my research much more effectively within a policy context;
  • how to communicate effectively with time-poor, information-hungry policymakers;
  • much more about the wider digital landscape than I had explored during my PhD research;
  • and how many police officers and vehicles it takes to move a Prime Minister three hundred metres down the road!

Better still, I met a lot of good people, including a wide range of civil servants from the Treasury, HMRC, Home Office, GDS, DEFRA and DCMS, as well as other academics and PhDs from different departments and universities across the UK. I had many interesting conversations and was able to attend a number of fascinating events, from Damian Green’s first speech to the Cabinet Office after being appointed (and before being removed!), through a workshop on the Future of Work in the face of automation and artificial intelligence, to a lovely trip to Swindon to visit the UK Research Councils.

I should also say that I enjoyed the heady feeling of being near the centre of power, and the sense of being somewhere which mattered and being involved at the start of something exciting. As a result of all these experiences and learning, I found myself genuinely missing Chris and his great Open Innovation Team on leaving and would strongly advise anyone who is interested in politics, digital matters and/or power to take maximum advantage of future placement opportunities there.

Peer Learning example from Designing Your Research Project MOOC on Futruelearn

This was a useful post made by one of the students on the MOOC concerning: Digital Literacies — Information Literacies — Searching Literacy.

Many other coursemates (and the odd mentor!) were able to learn something from this student. I found suggestion 7 especially useful.

“For literature searching, there are many strategies;

1) Use Boolean operator like AND, OR, NOT
2) Use Bracket like ( Digital AND Literacy ) AND Government..
3) Use File type like literacy:pdf
4) Use wildcard e.g. Literacy*
5) use quotation e.g. “literacy”
6) use keyword of topic then search synonyms and then apply Boolean operators.
7) Use domain or site. e.g Digital Literacy Site: .edu

in which you can search website with name of literacy in education sector.

8) you can use URL e.g InURL: Literacy

9) If you want to search literacy in any website then type

Intitle:Literacy

10) if you want to see literacy in title of any journal then you can type

Literacy[ti]
ti stand for Title

similary many short form used in brackets;

ab stand for abstract
tw stand for text word”

Feel free to add any more good ideas, even if you think they are a bit old or that everyone knows them. It all helps!

Doteveryone

I was lucky enough to hear Anne-Marie Imafidon speak at the EDULEARN16 conference in Barcelona in July and Martha Lane-Fox at the WWW2016 Conference in Montreal in April. I was also able to talk with both inspirational speakers after their keynotes were finished.

From these talks and subsequent chats it became clear to me that the Doteveryone organisation is a vital and very interesting set of intiatives which include, among others, the:

50/50 strand – which aims to fix the gender gap in technology

Doteveryone Campus – which aims to network interested partners for transformational change

and importantly for me,

Digital Skills – which has a focus on developing digital literacies and Powering Up MPs (both topics close to my heart)

I really hope that I will be able to be involved with this work at some stage (as opposed to a keen supporter) and advise anyone reading this post with the energy, skills and knowledge to help the organisation to check out the links above and get involved.

EDULEARN16 (IATED Conference)- Barcelona 4-6th July

I will soon have the pleasure (and nerves!) of presenting our work with the ‘Living and Working on the Web’ module (University of Southampton) at the IATED EDULEARN16 Conference, the 8th annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies.

My presentation slot is on Tuesday 5th at 10.30am in the Collaborative Virtual Learning Environments strand in room H2.

The accompanying paper will be available through Google Scholar and the Conference Proceedings.

An earlier draft can be viewed here:

EDULEARNpaperdraft2

WWW Conference 2016 Montreal

Have just finished the paper for the Digital Workshop that I will be involved with at the WWW Conference 2016. Hope to see it appear in the conference proceedings later this year! The workshop will present an innovative module entitled ‘Living and Working on the Web’ under the session title ‘Collaborative social learning: rewards and challenges in mainstream Higher Education’. I am very excited by this as it will be my first major conference as a presenter (albeit a workshop).

www2016