Digital evolution, local action: a date for your diary

Ah, November. The nights are dark, we’re all wrapping up warm and enjoying bonfires and fireworks. Christmas isn’t the only thing I’m looking forward to – we’ve got an exciting conference coming up in a couple of weeks about my favourite things – local communities, technology and making things happen at scale.

The conference aims to encourage and support community organisations to do more using technology. The fantastic line-up of speakers are all people who have inspired me personally to do more with technology, so I’m sure they’ll inspire others too.

Marcelle Speller from @localgiving had a massive success with Holidayrentals.com and now she’s using all her expertise and experience to make a social impact. After going on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire show she realised that there would be lots of other people who aren’t millionaires and who want to give to organisations in their own area, so she founded Localgiving.com – a site that lets you do just that. She really embodies the spirit of the conference – local + technology + scale.

We’re also really lucky to have Ken Banks from Kiwanja.net coming along to lend an international angle to the conference. Ken’s a real revolutionary and has done fantastic things with SMS communications in Africa – using the technology that’s widely available to reach the greatest number of people and having the biggest possible impact. I wonder if we can bring social innovation from Africa to UK communities?

Plus a brilliant line up of workshops that will give people really practical and useful advice that they can take back and use in their own communities. This is the principle we built the whole conference around, so I’m pretty pleased with the experienced and diverse group of workshop leaders we’ve got – from Lloyd Davis at #WeWillGather, who will talk about how this new platform can help individual people to find other people to make big and small things happen in their communities, to Will Perrin for Talk About Local, who has masses of first hand expertise about making the web local and has helped lots and lots of communities up and down the country to do just that.  Plus great people from Southern Housing Group, Lasa, Media Trust – and we’ll be running a couple of workshops ourselves.  Just looking at the list of workshops inspires me and I’m disappointed I won’t be able to make them all myself. I do hope if you’re coming you’ll find them really interesting (there are just a few tickets here if you haven’t got round to it yet).

And If you’re not coming, we’ll make sure you can keep in touch with what’s happening. You can follow all the action on the day using the #dela2012 hashtag, and we’ll be putting together a video and report after the event. I’m pretty confident that it will show that we’ve got a bunch of really passionate people in their communities who see the real step change technology can bring them. But we’ll just have to wait until the 27th!

Hope to see you there!

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