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16/06/2009 Update: Add your thoughts to the final Digital Britain report launched by Ben Bradshaw and Lord Carter today!

The final Digital Britain report – your views?

June 16, 2009

Now that the final Digital Britain report has been released by Ben Bradshaw and Lord Carter, we’re looking for your views so that we can put together a response to the report.

In the comment section below please state:
1. Your over all impressions (excellent, good, satisfactory, bad etc.)
2. Your thoughts in more detail – either on a specific area or overall. If anything, what was missed?
3. Possibly suggest where we should take things next


Birmingham: Digital Britain ‘Final Report’ Unconference

June 2, 2009

A word from Digital Birmingham:

Birmingham: Digital Britain ‘Final Report’ Unconference: Weds, 17 June, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Digital Birmingham and Aquila in association with Fazeley Studios will be live streaming Lord Stephen Carter’s speech at the first regional debate and launch of Digital Britain ‘Final Report’ event.

Plus, there will be a day of panel/fun sessions and networking opportunities as part of Fazeley Digital ’09.

Watch Lord Carter, who is heading the government’s Digital Britain project, announce his findings that will set out the aims needed to address the challenges of the internet and other digital technologies that were highlighted in his Interim Report. His talk at the ICC will be followed by a Q&A session, which will give the Unconference attendees in Fazeley Studios a chance to join the debate via Twitter and discuss the issues that arise from his report.

The official event at the ICC will bring together some of the regional experts and stakeholders across the digital economy with representation from media, telecoms, creatives, technology, inclusion and industry sectors to review with the Minister his report.

Digital Britain ‘Final Report’ Unconference is the official fringe to the structured ICC conference, driven completely by energy, passion and a room full of people who want to make a difference.

Lunch and refreshments will be available on the day.

Register here to attend.

Reports from the London Digital Britain unconference

May 27, 2009

We’ve been busy editing a report covering all of the unconferences that have taken place, and finally submitting it to the Digital Britain team yesterday.

We wanted to put the reports from the London event at the ICA on the 6th May 2009 up online, and so here they are consolidated into one PDF.

Thanks to all who have been involved, and particularly those who wrote up a session – this couldn’t have happened without you.

London Session Reports – pdf and audio

Andrew Wise – Broadcast pdf audio
Bill Thompson – Rights pdf audio
Brian Condon & JP Rangaswami – Uploaders’ Manifesto pdf audio
Ellie Louis – Billionaire Businesses pdf audio
Helen Milner – Digital skills and inclusion pdf audio
Mike Kiely – Data Trans & Wifi pdf audio
Ghislaine Boddington – Community Usage & Inter-authorship pdf (sorry – no audio)
Jim Killock – Privacy pdf
Vinay Gupta – Digital NHS pdf
William Perrin – Community pdf
Andy Gibson – Digital Britons pdf
audio for all four of these

Thanks to Laura North for recording the audio reports.

Embedded slide show and audio from the event can be found here on Tom’s blog.

A short explanation of the unconferences

May 15, 2009

We’ve been asked to put together a short, formal explanation of the Digital Britain Unconferences, so we thought we should put it up here too:


The Digital Britain Unconferences were a set of UK-wide, volunteer-organised events quickly set up in reaction to the British Library hosted ‘Digital Britain Summit’ on 17 April 2009. Their aim was to produce a representative ‘grassroots response’ and gather set of positive, realistic contributions for the report.

A week after the Summit, and with a nod from the Digital Britain team that they were listening, a website was launched with these simple instructions:

“Anyone can attend or hold an event and associate it with Digital Britain Unconferences, you’ll just need to summarise your discussions and hold it by 13th May 2009! Yes, time is very tight.”

By the 13th May, twelve unconferences had taken place from Glasgow in the north to Truro in the south west. All attendees were encouraged to read the Interim Report and the level of engagement and serious thinking across each event was exemplary. The events included a virtual discussion focusing on rural issues related to Digital Britain and a family unconference held in Tutbury, Derbyshire, as well as large events of over 50 people in London and Manchester.

Such a speedy reaction was made possible by the free social media tools such as Yahoo Groups, Twitter, wikis, blogs and instant messaging. Few phone calls were made by the organisers. The process exemplifies what is possible for Digital Britain when these tools are combined with channeling existing loosely connected networks and motivations.

As Clay Shirky describes this phenomenon in Here Comes Everyboody:

“When we change how we communicate, we change society.”

Digital Britain Unconference for Nottingham confirmed

May 5, 2009

The Nottingham Digital Britain Unconference will take place as part of MediaCamp Nottingham, details as follows:

Saturday May 9th, 2-5pm:
Lace Market House, 54-56 High Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 1HW

MediaCamp Nottingham is a free unconference running from 9.30 – 6.30pm on Sat May 9th, please sign up to attend here (or just turn up on the day):

The Digital Britain Unconference part of the day will take place in three hour long episodes from 2-5pm to drop in and out as you wish as follows:

Session 1 (2pm-3pm)
Introduction – what is Digital Britain about? What do we think of its key messages?

Session 2 (3pm-4pm)
What are Nottingham’s views on the challenges of Digital Britain? What local solutions can we develop to meet our challenges (including the recession)?

Session 3 (4pm-5pm)
Wrap up and write-up session to formulate MediaCampNottingham’s official response to Digital Britain.

Follow @susioneill for updates

Links and tags for Yorkshire & Humber event today

May 5, 2009

The Yorkshire & Humber Digital Britain Unconference event starts at midday today and finishes at 5pm. You can follow the event virtually as follows:

Hashtag – #dbucyh
Follow – @johnpopham

Live video feed, from about 12.30pm.

Facebook group

Digital Britain Unconference Oxfordshire – a brief personal report

May 3, 2009

A very select bunch of people met at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on Friday 1 May for the first DigitalBritain Unconference. I had initially been worried that with only seven people it would be a bit of a waste of everyone’s time but in the event the small numbers made it possible for us to sit around a table and have a really good discussion. Due to the short timeframe involved this is a personal report on the meeting rather than an agreed formal report. You can find the gathered raw output of the meeting on the Wikidot Wiki we set up.

We had a wide ranging conversation that spread from infrastructure to rights management to government monitoring via education, health, and enterprise. However despite that we kept seeming to revolve around one or two specific themes. The most important of these revolved around user generated content and how this changes the playing field.

The Citizen Content Producer

The interim report focuses on the existing broadcast industry and their existing business models. Yet the promise of a Digital Britain lies in enabling the users to be content producers. The report barely includes the words “people” or “users”. The potential for real innovation, particularly in the current ecnomic climate, lies in enabling microindustries, user/content producers, and communities to compete on a level playing field with existing suppliers. This means:

  • Net neutrality is crucial – anything short of this stifles innovation and content production
  • Infrastructure must enable the upload path – if we’re producing content we need to be able to upload it easily
  • We need a social and legal infrastructure that supports content production – simple and easily understood rights and management approaches based on enabling rather than limiting the ability to create content.

Walking the walk

The second main theme that came out of our meeting was the need for any response from this community effort to demonstrate the values and principles that it proposes. While it seems likely that the formal response will have to be a couple of sides of A4, it should still be possible to embed examples, case studies, multiple media, and links back to the raw material we generate through the various meetings. The key principles identified at our meeting were:

  • Transparency – all the material should be available if someone wishes to dive into it, no hidden process
  • Use the medium/media – collect video, audio, tweets, and above allow people to comment on them. The Read-Write web is key to both the potential and what is missing from the report.
  • Detail and real numbers – it was pointed out the notion of “2 megabit” is totally meaningless without details of contention. We need to provide examples to backup assertions and to query the report where needed and where things are vague.

Thanks to all who came and were involved either in person or remotely and good luck to everyone involved in the rest of the meetings!

Cambridge Event Details

May 1, 2009

The Cambridge Digital Britain Unconference is going to be a two-pronged beast:

Part 1
On Thursday May 7th we will hold an ‘unpicnic’ on Parker’s Piece in the centre of Cambridge, from 1100-1400. Please bring lunch. If it’s wet we will move to the Arts Picturehouse on St Andrew’s Street (upstairs, don’t go to The Regal by mistake!) and occupy space there.

We will convene at Reality Checkpoint, the lamp in the centre of the piece, since our goal is to bring a bit of network reality to the discussion.

As there’s space for 15,000 people on Parker’s Piece there is no need to register in advance for this event – though if you could drop me an email at bill at andfinally dot com it would be useful to give me an idea of roughly how many people to expect and also let me contact you if plans change at short notice.

The format will be flexible.

Part 2
On Monday May 11th there will also be a Digital Britain session at the
Amplfied 09 event taking place in the Picturehouse Bar from 1400-1800. To register for this please go to

Agenda and links for the Oxfordshire unconference today

May 1, 2009

For those wishing to drop by virtually on the Oxfordshire Digital Britain Unconference here are a few links and the agenda:

@CameronNeylon is hosting the event and will be one of the folk to follow, as well as @Alheri.

The hashtag they will be using is #dbuc09

Listen/watch live
Cameron is aiming to webcast the meeting at

Meet at 11:30(ish) – plan out agenda
12:30 – lunch
1:30 – tackle a few specific issues in blocks and see what we can put together. They will probably work on the Fake Digital Britain Report as a template.

More details on twitter as they evolve!

London Digital Britain Unconference announced

April 29, 2009

Thanks to the very generous assistance of the ICA the London Digital Britain Unconference will be happening next Wednesday evening, details as follows:

Time: 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Date: Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Where: ICA (enter through rear door)
12 Carlton House Terrace
Westminster, Greater London SW1Y 5AH

For further details and to book please go here

The aim of the unconferences is to develop a coherent response to the Interim Digital Britain Report.

For further details about what this is all about see this previous post by Bill Thompson.