How we learn from unconferences: What you told us about #OneTeamGovGlobal Part One

This is the second in our mini series following on from James Reeve’s How not to suck at unconferences: What we learned from #OneTeamGovGlobal

The human connections of the One Team Gov community made and nurtured at #OneTeamGovGlobal.

One Team Gov are committed to living our principle of working in the open. That’s why we are sharing what we learned by the feedback you provided following the #OneTeamGovGlobal Unconference, which took place on 16 July 2018.

The first part of this journey starts with learning: what you told us about your experience. Following the event, we emailed all attendees and asked you to provide your feedback on the event. We’ve complied all your insights and ideas. This post sums up what you shared with us. We’ve amended people’s words slightly for clarity.

To date, we’ve had 50 responses to our survey, approximately 7% of our total attendees. 49 people told us what country they were from. The majority of our respondents stated that they were from the UK — England, Scotland or Wales — around 73% of respondents. That’s not really surprising as the majority of our attendees were from the UK. Though we also had respondents from other countries including Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland.

We asked:

Was this your first One Team Gov event?

For the majority of attendees (80%), this was their first One Team Gov event.

Even though respondent numbers were relatively low it shows that we were able to attract people from outside of our usual sphere, from different backgrounds and experiences. This was one of our objectives to “improve the way we work by opening up public sector practices and having informed discussions between different groups about how to improve”.

How did you hear about One Team Gov Global?

A pie chart showing the categories and split of how attendees heard about One Team Gov Global. The majority of attendees attended after a recommendation from a friend, a member of One Team Gov, a colleague or Twitter.

We had 48 responses. The responses were varied due to a free text field. We analysed the responses, drawing on commonalities between them to develop categories and generate the pie chart above.

By talking about the unconference on Twitter, at events and to other people, the One Team Gov team were passionate advocates, making positive conversations and connecting with people. This increased the visibility of the event and spread the word, igniting people’s curiosity. If we had known the power that getting the word out held, we would have done so more widely into communities that we didn’t have in attendance this time round.

How did you enjoy your day?

We had 49 responses. Nobody voted that they didn’t enjoy their day though two people voted mid to low. The majority of respondents voted 4 or 5 that they enjoyed the day very much.

What did you enjoy most about your day?

We had a lot of free text responses that we’ve tried to summarise here for you.

‘Unconference’ Format

  • Style, process, nature and approach of the day.
  • Respondents told us that they perceived that the event would help to close the gap between policy and design, with both professions / fields at the same place taking part in the same discussions.
  • Respondents told us that the unconference format generated a sense of possibility about the day as the agenda wasn’t fixed.
  • Going to a Government event that actually felt relevant and exciting.
  • Talking about issues that really matter.

People — What came up overwhelmingly in the feedback was YOU. Everyone that came open to sharing and learning, from different backgrounds and experiences. People noticed the those in attendance came from a variety of roles. However, we can do better still. We can reach out to other areas, bring them in and invite them to join the community.

  • Being around other public servants from around the world who want to make a difference
  • Respondents told us that they liked that attendees showed enthusiasm for breaking silos.
  • The wide range of people from different backgrounds, the diverse conversations
  • Respondents told us they enjoyed making contact with others working in the same field as them internationally.
  • Seeing lots of public servants who want to do their best to improve the machinery of democracy.
  • Respondents told us they thought attendees were energetic, passionate and action focussed.
  • Meeting new people, and realising there are similar challenges in many places / countries.

Sessions

  • Thought provoking discussions, topics and sessions.
  • Great discussions on topics that important to the job we do.
  • The sessions had a real buzz about them, very interesting to jump from quite tech-y conversations to more people-focussed ones.
  • The listening. The kindness. The candor. The amazing experiences people were willing to share. The generosity of thought and heart.

Did you make new connections that will improve the work you do?

A pie chart showing whether attendees felt that the event would made an impact on their day-to-day work at the time of completing the survey.

18% of 49 respondents said they didn’t make connections that would help their day job.

14% weren’t sure and responded with a variation on “potentially”. We believe this might be due to the time that had elapsed between the event and survey responses and some relationships may take longer to materialise.

One respondent told us that they found the event useful for making connections in the area they wish to work in in the future.

What did you find most useful about the event?

Connections

  • Getting to speak with five strangers within the first 20 minutes at the conference. This lowered the barrier to speak with others later during the day.
  • Respondents told us that facilitation of each event in promoted networking.
  • Meeting people through the 1:2:4:All structures in each breakout session.
  • The conversations. Never met that many people in one day.
  • The opportunity to connect with other governments across the world.
  • Networking / finding out what is *really* going on.
  • Contacts with people interested in joining up.

Emotional Connection

  • Respondents told us that the event gave them renewed faith and hope in being able to make a difference and create a Government that serves its citizens well.
  • There are other optimists out there.

‘Unconference’ Format

  • Respondents appreciated being able to move around within sessions rather than being stuck
  • To hear perspectives from other countries.
  • The format of the talks which allowed to network with people and share our views easily, even for introverts.
  • Respondents were interested to see how an unconference worked at scale.
  • The method of identifying sessions worked really well. By the end of process, you’d already spoken to 5 people you’d never met before — which was a great start to the day!

Learning / Professional Development

  • Respondents told us that they appreciated learning about the policy process and how design thinking can influence and be a part of that process.
  • Learning about how to run unconferences and facilitate sessions to use in everyday work.
  • Meeting and learning from so many people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Learning more about liberating structures, definitely something to go away and read about.
  • Learning about how people think about community management.

Market Place

  • The marketplace provided a good space for respondents to have 1–2–1 conversations between sessions.

Sessions

  • Hearing different perspectives on common issues, and potential solutions (or things that others have tried that didn’t quite work)
  • Range of like minded people from different backgrounds, wide range of topics discussed.
  • Chance to engage in sessions with genuinely interesting topics.
  • Opportunity to talk to different people within government to share problems and how to solve them
  • Ideas and creativity of other people. Openness in discussions.

Where we go from here

We are the change we want to see, and the opportunities to learn are endless. We are taking our reflections and channelling them into One Team Gov’s goals for the coming year. We’re doing this in the open, with you.

We are privileged to see people to bring their ideas to life. Thank you for being a part of our community, and for the impact you’re making. If there is anything else you’d like to know, or that you think we should do, please let us know by replying to this post or on Twitter One Team Gov.