The Effective use of Information Technology seminar was the first event that I directly worked on for the Good Practice Exchange, but it wasn’t just a first for me – it was the first time that a seminar had left us with as many questions as answers. The cloud session had provided an interesting starting point for organisations that were looking to work differently, but practically how were they going to get through the red tape to this brave new world?
As anyone who runs events know, they can be an expensive business. We’d already run events in both North and South Wales, and we wanted to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to have their questions answered.
As the session would be looking at cloud computing, a more specific topic than our IT seminar, it wouldn’t run for as long. We plumped for a webinar, which fit nicely with the topic, as it was a cloud based platform. This was new ground for everyone involved, but equally an exciting prospect for us all.
As this webinar was a pilot we kept it small scale with 20 attendees. The presentations themselves were great, with Evan Jones of the Welsh Government breaking down the issues of Cloud Computing, and Peter Middleton of the Cabinet Office talking about the merits of the G-Cloud. One of the benefits of the platform we plumped for was that we were left with a video of the webinar, which you can view above and below.
We were also given an audio of the webinar, which we used to breakdown the question into bite-sized podcasts on Audioboo, so that people can quickly navigate to the issues that affect them.
Unsurprisingly for a pilot, the whole thing didn’t go without a hitch and gave us a few things to mull over. Having multiple laptops in the same room also meant multiple microphones, which in turn meant an echo of the sound for the first half a minute of the webinar. In retrospect we could have avoided this had the presenters and facilitator been in separate rooms.
In future there are also elements that we would like to expand upon. We felt it best not to bite off more than we could chew on our first go, but we would definitely like to encourage interaction on social media so that we could reach more participants and solve wider issues. The question and answer session meant we could directly address people’s concerns, so it would be great to elaborate on that potential by using a hashtag.
All in all the webinar has given us much to think about. It didn’t give the same potential to network, share ideas and solutions as the seminars do, but it did allow us to look at a topic in depth at participants’ convenience. It isn’t a solution for all ills, but it is another tool that we can use that can hopefully help us to share knowledge and improve Welsh public services.