#DPSX Jan 2016 meet up – Drupal Distribution for local government

Our January meet up was in the making since the #DPSX BoF at DrupalCon Barcelona in September 2015, the sign up for the 13th Jan event was great but logistical challenges mid December left quite a few folks confused. In retrospect the meet up needs a permanent abode, if you’d like to host the next meet up please get in touch.

Despite that the turn out was good, we had 11 from a possible 29 and one late arrival found the venue doors locked! apologies Chris, have expressed much annoyance with the venue management. Continue reading

DPSX @ DrupalCon Barcelona

As a digital activist I want a forum that brings together individuals from private, public and the third sectors, to share ideas, address issues of waste, service improvements, development and innovation in the delivery of front line public services so that we can collectively work towards the betterment of public services.

Between the day job, give back and the fam little time remains for anything else, none other the DPSX initiative (now in its 4th year) has suffered because of it. After an epic turnout at Prague, completely forgetting to schedule it’s BoF in Amsterdam, I got in early on making it happen at DrupalCon Barcelona and it paid off, perhaps a gap year had built up an appetite for it.

DPSX-BoF-Dcon-Barcelona-02 Anyhow the attendance was epic; we had four continents represented and discussions focused on issues faced by industry and the public sector in sourcing, adoption and innovation of open source content management systems. A huge thank you to the attendees:  Alex BlandfordChris SkeneKristoffer SoderlundJohasn Du BoisChris Hartigan,  Andrew HoppinSuchi GargHolger KreisTom Dean.

The news from Australia was both good and bad, whilst the Australian government is spearheading adoption with the GovCMS distribution, efforts are we were told loosing steam as the distribution in its current form is quite restrictive requiring significant customisation by individual departments adopting it. The question is why fork it? why not modularise it? having said that I am too far removed from the ground to comment on it, as such have reached out to my colleagues and the community in Australia to shed some light on the matter and shall keep update this post as and when I hear back from down under.

The news from home (UK) was a mixed bag too, whilst G-cloud is working for central government the word is it isn’t working so well for the local government (councils) and is being exploited by big corps for labour arbitrage. There were names mentioned (the usual suspects), large central gov contractors who outsource their wins to the smaller co’s in the eco-system which goes against premise for G-cloud to be set up in the first place.

Though there is truth in the big corps abusing G-cloud via labour arbitrage the SMEs have to share some of the blame too, there is a dearth of experienced Drupal resources and should the SMEs choose to they can set their own terms and put a dent in the exploitation we were so passionately informed of. Yes yes I hear you, they are not exactly a digital OPEC but then they are not powerless either.

The message here has to be ‘do more for all concerned’; GDS should do more to ensure local government (councils) have the train, skill sets and tools necessary to make the most of G-Cloud. Local government ought to conduct regular retrospectives on their success and failures using G-cloud or other means of sourcing and course correct their approach so that they can up-skill their procurement departments, cut unnecessary red tape and do more to encourage bidding and procurement from local SMEs.

As for curbing the big corps abusing their position and exploiting SMEs, GDS could improve monitoring down stream resourcing to ensure its not a marked up pass-through.

As for the challenges of contribs back to the community, central governments ought to make it mandatory for government departments to contribute back to the community (with exceptions for good reasons of course). To this end one single legislative change can transform the ecosystem from the ground up. A law for corps who provide frontline Public services, who as a service provider must make the data available for free (or a capped transaction fee) via standardised APIs to all actors in the ecosystem following the Open API principles. However it is clear that corporate service providers will need to be pushed towards Open Data principles and in making our data more widely available to prospective service providers to encourage innovation in the ecosystem.

As a tax payer I want companies who provide frontline public services to make the data they gather in the provision of such services available through Open APIs to other actors in the ecosystem, so that such actors can utilise that data to provide new and innovative services to the public. Last but not the least and a regular topic of discussion at DPSX meetups is cross border service development and waste, as expected it was raised at the DCon Barca BoF too. The issues remain the same as they did a few years ago, as do the candidates options to addressing the challenges, some of them have been touched upon above, other’s I think we’ll keep for future meetups, which brings me to my new year’s resolution! more and regular DPSX meetups and that is going to be possible since a few folks from the community have agreed to get involved and share the load as and when need be, for that I’d like to thank Farez Rahman and Mark Taylor, thank you gentlemen.

DPSX-Register-now-EventBrite-2015 So the next meet up is scheduled for 13th January 2016 at Google Campus in London from 18:00 to 19:30, we don’t have any speakers as yet but that will change closer to the time, shall be reaching out to them lovely folks at GDS and DHUK and shall keep you posted of their likely attendance. In the mean time if Drupal and OS in the Public Sector is of interest to you please sign up for the meetup here and see you in the new year!

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User-centered content design with empathy maps

DrupalCamp-BE-logo-intro Thank you to the organisers at DrupalCamp Ghent for the invitation and the opportunity to share an awesome tool that for me is the foundation of user-centered design.  Empathy Map as a tool was developed by Dave Gray at XPLANE  and since then has found its way from design agencies to digital transformation consultancies as we all seek out better tools and techniques to understand and empathise with our audiences and markets to design and build products and services they want. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, it is a close cousin of but not the same as sympathy.

Using the Empathy mapping technique we develop better understanding of our audiences by understanding:

  • Who they are in their world (their persona and current state)
  • Where they would like to be (their desired future/altered state)
  • What influences them (social and otherwise)
  • What they say their aspirations are (who and how they influence)
  • What feelings and motivations guide their behaviour

You can use Empathy maps at a macro level say for a brand or at a micro level for a user type/segment, you can download a blank Map to work with here, and there are two sample maps to help guide you; one for a persona seeking content to help inform his/her decision to buy a particular brand of a Digital SLR and another sample Empathy map that is  somewhat left field. (these are large SVG files best viewed in a PDF viewer post download)

As Drupal/CMS consultants we can deploy Empathy maps to better inform our client’s content strategy by using developed Empathy maps to narrowcast messaging at specific content touch points. If you’d like to explore how Empathy maps can empower your team to drive innovation, improve stakeholder engagement or address unmet user needs feel free to reach out.

If you think you have benefited from what has been shared then #GiveBack; please do the absolute minimum and follow @Bringptp on twitter, like them on Facebook and share their videos from Vimeo, thats the least you could do… but if you like… don’t let me stop you there, you can donate here; 2015 is a big year for Bring Peace Through Prosperity they need to raise US $100,000- to work with another 500 entrepreneurs of circumstances and transform their communities and society.

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Drupal Public Sector Exchange (DPSX) – BoF at DrupalCon Prague

Drupal Public Sector Exchange Though DPSX has been a tad bit quite since July we did kick up a mini-storm in Prague at DrupalCon last month! The BoF was a hit with relevant attendees from Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, Netherlands and Slovakia represented on the table. in majority the attendees other than Steve Purkiss and myself were from the public sector which was a result!

 

DrupalCon Prague BoF Drupal Public Sector Exchange The discussions centred around:

  • The political challenges of having a single platform in government
  • options of multisite Vs Domain access and of course creating distributions
  • Managing diversity in government
  • Selling by building business cases
  • When Open becomes closed and proprietary

The audio from the BoF can be downloaded from here.

Looking ahead we are planning on one more DPSX meet up in Blighty prior to Christmas, so if you are interested please drop us a line or comment on D.O.

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Drupal Public Sector Exchange (DPSX) – G-Cloud 101

Drupal Public Sector Exchange Our second event adopted an alternative format not by design but its usefulness has us thinking it may well be the way to go!
Speaker at the seond DPSX event:
Mark Smitham  – Cabinet Office (G-Cloud) A huge thank you… Mark, we appreciate‏ the knowledge shared; old hats, newbies and the curious, we all took away a lot from the discussions.
And the key points shared and discussed:
+ G-Cloud is about engaging the SME sector – it is access to the eco-system #GCloudJoinin
+ has delivered the equivalent of £180m+ in savings; introducing innovative SME enterprises into the eco-systemDrupal_Public_Sector_Exchange_meetup_2_May_2013_1
+ G-Cloud is about greater transparency: there are 29,000 Govt. customers on G-Cloud – the access to opportunities for the SME sector is unparalleled  Drupal_Public_Sector_Exchange_meetup_2_May_2013_2
+ The new G-Cloud Store interface by the way is a sight of relief! job well done. Note: G-cloud is a non transactional store but a marketplace for Govt. customers to have access to selected SME suppliers that they can engage with
+ on the CloudStore good old SEO is handy for searchability and visibility
+ There are challenges to getting the critical mass from the Govt. customers… SMEs could assist and inform their clients and prospects of the G-Cloud route to product/service acquisition.
+ a short guide to understanding Impact levels and Pan-Govt accreditation

some useful links:
G-Cloud
CloudStore
if you are a buyer
if you are a supplier

if you are not on the G-Cloud as a supplier  and as a Customer/buyer
LocalGov Digital

The next meet-up for Drupal Public Sector Exchange will be held next month and stay tuned on our Twitter account DPSX ‏@DPSXchange

DPSX: @Alanpeart @Calert @Greenman @Kubair @MarcDe_ath @shaunwilde
#Drupal #PublicSector #Innovation #G_Cloud_UK #LocalGovDigital

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