NB: This blog post was written on 23rd June and posted at http://www.Ilovelambeth.com
After 9 years in local government, the last 2 as a politician, I’ve just had the most exciting, productive and innovative 48 hours of policy development AND delivery. It flies in the face of how things are usually done, not least because we’ve actually developed and delivered something that’s real.
From an initial brief of ‘improving Lambeth’s parks’ we discussed as a group, visited green spaces, met people, came back, made, created and delivered – we moved the brief from parks to open spaces and in particular ‘unloved spaces that need some tender loving care.’
Residents have tweeted pictures of ‘unloved spaces’ in their neighbourhoods using the #loveyourspace which then appear on a map, we’ve made physical comment boards and placed them out on real open spaces and had real comments back; we have a platform to respond and link people who want to agree, comment or take action, with guidance, a kit on how to make your own comment board and case studies of where it’s already been done.
There were no hierarchies, no risk register and the participants were not limited to council officers. Residents, creatives, politicians, officers and some kids worked together, tasks we’re agreed and different skill sets were utilised – the guiding attitude was JFDI and openness. The pace was fast (most officers, politicians and residents biggest bug bear of existing practice) and it was all about getting it done and creatively responding to gaps, not getting it perfect before anything can happen.
As well as being enjoyable (I have made lots of new friends), it has been informative (working with people from a diverse background of skills I’ve picked up some practical skills and different mindsets. Everyone should try this and I’m convinced this will fast become the way we do things in the future. I am shattered though.
Watch the video here http://vimeo.com/45186753 to get a feel for the energy and achievements (It’s only 5 minutes long)