Some time ago I blogged about not doing keynotes anymore, because I was frustrated by the futility of words towards generating action and change. So when the Swiss government invited me to give a talk at its Communication people, I said yes but only if we do it together with an interactive workshop where we actually address real-life daily problems and try to build gov20 solutions. Luckily, they accepted.
I’m just out of the workshop now, and it was a really good experience.

The preparatory effort was significant: we use google moderator to collect questions and concrete problems to be solved with gov20. Here’s my introductory talk, based on the question proposed.

After the talk, we started the interactive workshop:

  • We picked one specific problem, among the five that were proposed by the audience, and we discussed on possible 2.0 solutions for 30 mins.
  • We then split into groups for 30 mins, and each groups had one problem to address.
  • Finally we reconvened for 20 mins to discuss the solutions reached by the group and propose improvements.

The effect of this interactivity was twofold.
On the one hand, it generated excitement and raised attention level, because it located the learning process into the real context of the audience. I know this is an obvious pedagogic technique, but hey I’m not a teacher and never used it before.
On the other hand, it showed clearly the benefits of horizontal collaboration: participants realized hands-on the benefits they could gain by sharing the process, and how much insight you can get from colleagues. The greatest satisfaction was that it was a participant who at the end proposed to follow up this event through online collaboration.
Another lesson learnt is that the equilibrium between top-down and bottom-up was good: the introductory talk provided the big picture, the first joint exercise offered a lead into the collaboration effort, so that the bottom-up working groups were fully able to work autonomously. The final reconvening offered the opportunity to bring it all back together.
The level of the debate was very good, and all the key issues of government 2.0 that I generally address in my long talks were addressed by participants during the interactive workshop, located in specific concrete problems.
In the end, we all went away with the energizing feeling and motivation to kickstart new projects.
So thank you very much to Marcel for setting this up and for the 50 participants who really provided good debate, ideas and motivation. I hope we can follow this up!