I went along the Gov Camp 2012 event on Saturday 21st Jan. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was there with my laptop, and an eagerness to roll up my sleeves and bash out some code.

The day started with the ~200 delegates introducing themselves in turn. It was clear that there was some real talent in the room. We had an army of developers as well as UX people, PR and media types, and most importantly – people who understood Government. What could we accomplish? What could we build? The possibilities were endless.

After the intros, people were invited to pitch for workshops or tasks they would like to undertake/run. Lots of ideas were put forward, and a few of them were ‘let’s build this’, ‘let’s design that’. I went for one of those workshops.

We had some great discussions, bounced ideas around, and expert opinion and experience was injected in to that. However, we failed to really get anything done. The same for a later session, what was advertised as  ‘Design and Build’ was just a talking shop. Don’t get me wrong, if other people in the session got something out of it, then it was a success, but I didn’t leave with a sense of achieving anything. I can’t help but think that if there was a little more focus on creating solutions rather than discussing problems, something real and worthwhile could have been produced.

I did enjoying meeting some interesting people, I took away several business cards of people I intend to contact to continue conversations. I was also inspired to see that Government are taking open source very seriously and embracing technologies like GitHub to collaborate both internally and with the public.