Making infrastructure organisations more resilient Taunton 20 March 2009

Last Friday, I spent most of the day at this NAVCA ICT event in Taunton. (There’s another similar one in York this Friday if you’re interested.) The event was a sandwich, with a Steve Bridger social media session as the filling between workshop halves.

platform
Conference

I went to the workshop for support workers. I’m not sure whether it was quite the right label, but the others were for managers/trustees and for accidental technical supporters, which definitely weren’t. There seemed to be at least three other ICT specialists there, so I wasn’t the only one.

The best thing about the workshop was the mix of specialists and generalists. I was really interested in what the generalists had to say, but sadly the workshop was more of a lecture and I don’t feel I got as much out as I could. I’d be interested to know if that was the same for other participants.

I’m not sure what I thought of Steve Bridger’s session. It was a difficult one: the strange mix of an audience was all together, the room felt pretty warm and it stood between us and lunch. I had trouble concentrating but posted a few updates to identi.ca about it.

The worst thing was all the needless promotion of certain companies’ products. They didn’t talk about blogging and syndication, they talked about Blogger and Google Reader; they didn’t talk about photo-sharing, they talked about Flickr; they didn’t talk about spreadsheets, they talked about Excel.

Nevertheless, I left the event feeling really positive about other ICT specialists, with some hope that the generalists were “getting it” and quite impressed by the people I met from the other tracks. It was pretty good to help someone towards the autosuspend setting on their GNOME-based netbook within ten minutes of arriving, too. I’ve just updated software.coop with Richard Stallman’s explanation of why proprietary software is a social problem, to see if that helps put the community-based view across.

I’ll look again at some of the grant-funded resources mentioned and see if we can improve them, but I’d welcome any comments from the voluntary and community sector about how best to do that.

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