Making Change

My previous blog entry was intended to lead into a discussion around a platform for open government but in doing so I would have missed a critical step. 

Before this platform can be useful we need to start a conversation – a conversation about apathy and disillusionment – about feeling powerless and voiceless. 

Most of us feel very insignificant where our city and its politics is concerned. We turn out every few years and vote – some of us vote for a person or party based on perceived ideologies, some vote out of habit, a few take the time to really learn about the issues but a very large proportion of us just don’t vote at all. 

There are a number of initiatives out there to try to reverse the tide of declining participation in our democracy – the most notable Canadian effort being the youth-focused Apathy Is Boring. While technology can play a key role in tackling voter apathy I think we need to start by establishing personal connections. After my experience at SMarts London I’m convinced that an unconference type of event is the way to go.
By way of co-incidence I was at a conference in Toronto recently and had an opportunity to meet Mark Kuznicki (website + Twitter). He’s a very inspiring guy and has been involved with a number of really great initiatives but it’s his role as the founder and organizer of ChangeCamp that captured my attention. 

“ChangeCamp addresses the demand for a renewed relationship among citizens and between citizens and our civic institutions. We seek to create connections between people and their civic passions by using new tools of communication.” 

When I read that the first time I thought: we need all of that. We need it in London. Nobody is going to do this for us, we have to do this for ourselves. Apathy and disillusionment can be vanquished with positive, actionable ideas

So let’s have a ChangeCamp here in London. 

We need a diverse group of people who will check their egos at the door, throw their very best ideas on the table and then merge/edit until we have a shortlist of attainable goals; then we need to go beyond the talk – start building teams, plans and taking real action. 

That will just be the start of the conversation – the first step in building a culture of involvement and empowerment.


What do you think? Does London need a ChangeCamp?