A Blue Light on the horizon

Character from the Harry Enfield Television Show
“You don’t want to do it like that…”

A month or so ago I blogged: Reflections on Events, in which I looked back at some of the events I’ve attended over the last couple of years. I suggested some ‘tweaks’ for organisers, and how physical attendees might help improve the experience for those attending remotely.

I re-read the post recently and was reminded of one of Harry Enfield’s characters who makes it his business to tell others what they should and shouldn’t do.

It’s one thing turning up, participating and returning home again. It’s quite another to find sponsors and sort out a decent venue, and then there’s loads of other stuff to do, like:

  • marketing and promotion
  • registration and waiting list
  • Organising food and drink (cake is particularly important)
  • recording and tracking expenses
  • Testing equipment (and checking it still works on the day)
  • making sure people can
    • a) find
    • b) get in to the building
    • c) locate sessions they’re interested in
  • that there are post-its that will actually stick to white boards
  • that at the end of the day people leave feeling it’s been worth giving up a weekend…

I don’t think I made it clear that my experience is as attendee, not as an organiser, but it seems that is about to change.

BlueLight Camp 2013

The Ghost of Blog Posts Past?

BlueLightCamp was one of the best events I attended in 2012. There was a great mix of people, some really interesting sessions, the wifi worked, there was cake…

I don’t know why, but Sasha Taylor – the founder – has asked me to join him and Kate Norman in organising the the next event, which will be at the end of April 2013.

I was so chuffed to be asked, I said “yes” immediately, without thinking too hard about what that actually meant. We held our first planning session a week ago, and I must admit I’m a little anxious my earlier post will come back to haunt me.

Looking forward

Anxieties aside, it’s really exciting to help to plan a major event. We’re at that point where it could go a number of ways, and that’s part of the reason I’m writing this post now – to ask for your suggestions on how we approach the 2013 event.

In 2012 BlueLight Camp was held on a Sunday.  There was easily enough to fill a full day and some of this year’s attendees suggested that next time we should allow more time and run the event over a couple of days instead. We’re assuming this would be the Saturday and Sunday which we know is a ‘big ask’ for people who are already really busy and have families and other commitments.

If we did hold the event over a whole weekend, we could split it and, say, have an ‘unconference’ on Saturday and hack day / exhibition on the Sunday. This would tie-in quite nicely with British ACPO who are holding an event in the  same venue on Monday and Tuesday.

Theme idea

We were also wondering about a theme for next year. Young Rewired State took place this week, and brought young people together from across the country to build exciting stuff with open data:

Perhaps BlueLight Camp could provide facilities, data and expertise to help young people create apps with public data around BlueLight Services?.

It’s early days, and these are just a couple of ideas. We’ll be writing about it some more over the coming weeks. We’d love to hear your suggestions for the 2013 event, particularly if you work for, or with, emergency responders.






By Mark Braggins

Walking, usually with my two ex-racing greyhounds. Interested in lots of stuff. Work: Business Development and Research at Drawnalism