The commscamp ideas fund is now open

As the dust settles on commscamp for another year, it’s a chance to reflect on the positive things that have come from it.New idea fund

Already we’re seeing a glut of blogs, sharing and ideas and it’s good, really good. We know we’re biased but it’s excellent to see it all come together and people embrace it to such a level. Whether a volunteer, a sponsor or an attendee, everyone has played their part to make commscamp 15 a real blinder of an event.

But we’re determined it doesn’t stop there so we now have the commscamp idea fund up for grabs to help create something new.

And thanks to the brilliant Musterpoint, the ideas fund has doubled in value. That means there’s now £700 in the pot. The plan is that this could help kickstart an idea and be the start of something good. We’re looking for a little bit of inspired innovation.

It could be anything from an open data meets comms camp, a new piece of technology to a nifty little way to share new ideas. Whatever it is we’re just keen to do a little bit to pay back that goodness that we’ve benefited from in bucket loads.

Christine Townsend, MusterPoint CEO and Founder said, “Creativity and innovation are at the heart of events such as CommsCamp. MusterPoint came about as part of a similar event and after three years of hard work, it’s starting to pay off. This is why I want to support anyone who, like me, enjoys coming up with ideas to solve problems that would ultimately benefit the public or those who work in the public sector. I’m really looking forward to seeing what people come up with and then helping to make it happen.”

So how can the idea fund become yours?

It’s really simple. And you don’t have to have been at commscamp 15 to take part, it’s open to anyone to get involved. All you have to do to be in with a chance of tapping into the fund is tell us a few straightforward things on one side of A4.

  • Your name and your contact details including your @Twitter handle
  • Name of idea/project

In no more than 100 words describe your idea and then answer the following questions:

  • How would your idea make a difference and who would it benefit?
  • How much funding do you require to make a start?
  • How long would your idea/project take to be delivered?
  • How will you evaluate the success of your idea – how will you know it has worked?
  • What is the social part of your new idea?
  • List those colleagues who would be involved in delivering your idea

Send it to us by Friday 31 July. We’ll be really excited to see them.

And based on your responses, we’ll decide alongside Christine from Muster Point who’s been successful by Friday 7 August. There, it’s as simple as that. So don’t rest on your laurels, do it now.

Christine is also offering a year of free full use of MusterPoint and mentorship to the lucky winner. This involves providing feedback on the idea, helping to shape it and – potentially – looking at how to get further investment or support. You couldn’t ask for more really so do give it some thought and put your idea in.

Want to check anything before submitting, email


***MusterPoint is a social media management and monitoring platform created by Christine Townsend who has previously worked in the emergency services and central Government managing crisis communications. @muster_point @ctownsenduk


Christine Townsend

New invention image under licence from Creative Commons


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The commscamp ideas fund is now open

A crystal ball for communications

At commscamp 15 last week, I pitched a session on the future of communications teams. Planet from Creative Commons

We all know that the model of communications has changed massively. People now have the ability to have their voice heard more than ever before. It means traditional communications models can fall well short and that we need to be up for listening, engaging and acting on what communities and others are telling us.

I was keen to hear what good stuff people are doing and what ideas they had for the future of communications teams in this context. Made all the more helpful for me as I grapple with what is coming down the track for a head of communications in a unitary local authority.

It seemed others were more than willing to share their sweets and knock about a few thoughts. A real mix of public sector peeps took part – from police, central government and local government and health to name but a few and even more helpfully communications and non-communications people too. Here are some of the things I took from it.

  1. There seemed to be two trains of thought in the room – one focussed on it being about communications and how we better ‘sell what we do’, the other about the need to recognise that fundamentally communications can never be the same again and we need to embrace this
  2. We need to get better at showing the alternative and stop being so transactional – people can’t see the difference we make. Be brave and help them to see – don’t just rely on their imagination.
  3. While we do need to be more technical, it is about attitude, flexibility and adaptability not skills. If we’re lucky enough to be recruiting, that’s where our focus should be.
  4. It shouldn’t be that we only get good at selling ourselves when we are forced to. There was a really on the money point made by a participant that they had only got better at doing it with they took their budget away. It was made clear that this wouldn’t have happened otherwise. And why when our role is to sell something, aren’t we good at doing it for ourselves. One to challenge when back at the ranch I reckon.
  5. Build your relationships and connections with community groups, neighbouring communications teams, businesses, health and others. It’s about the wider ‘Place’ and we need to be leveraging our influence to work together to best effect. We may be becoming smaller in size but we need to become bigger in influence. We are lucky to have ‘helicopter views’ of our organisations and we need to use that.
  6. It was so hard to hear people present recount that still the main challenges and battles they face are from within the organisation. The words ‘soul destroying’ was used to describe how externally others bought into what was being achieved but this was not being recognised internally. We need to think about how we can make sure this doesn’t happen in the future.
  7. We need to ‘let it go’ and stop trying to control everything. We need to trust others inside and outside our organisation to do it and make sure communications becomes everyone’s job – not just ours.
  8. Recruit the disrupters and people who like change and help people to be clear on why they are there and the role they play in the team
  9. Look at an organisation’s problems and understand their context so that you can anticipate the next big challenge and respond.
  10. Think about new technology and the implications for you, your team and your organisation. Digital disruption is happening and it’s happening now – we have to adapt, move away from the here and now and the institutional and force change, on behalf of our residents, for the future of our organisations and of communications. It’s scary but loathe the fool that thinks it can be simply be ignored, it can’t.

These are tough messages to take away and personally and professionally it’s challenging. I do believe though if we get in the right space with the right attitude, it can take only take you forward. And it will hold you in good stead while we wait for that crystal ball.

Thanks to everyone who contributed. You were awesome.

Emma Rodgers


Image attributed for free use under Creative Commons

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A crystal ball for communications

An ever-updated summary of blogs and pics

IMG_20150709_092710So, there we are. Commscamp is over for another year and didn’t it go well?

Thank you if you came, pitched, spoke, tweeted, volunteered, sponsored or just watched from afar.

Of course, one problem with commscamp is that you think that three pieces of cake a day is somehow normal.

But you successfully raised £137.46 with your mammoth amount of cake eating that went to Macmillan Cancer UK and British Red Cross. Pat yourselves on the back.

Here’s a post event blog which pulls together the links from blogs that emerged from it.


Steph Gray 20 things I learned from commscamp

Sarah Lay commscamp

Dan Slee 29 things from #commscamp and a thank you

Kelly Quigley-Hicks commscamp 2015 round up  including four session write ups

Kelly Quigley-Hicks on Whats App

Kelly Quigley-Hicks Is Facebook Dead?

Kelly Quigley-Hicks Video Beyond YouTube

Nick Booth Libel and learning at commscamp

Emma Rodgers  A crystal ball for communications 

Francis Clarke Memories of commscamp

Ben Capper Lessons on staff engagement 

Touch Design Warning: Older people communications in progress

Kate Holmes – Stories from #commscamp15

Amanda Nash #OurNHS24 Twitter chat

Liz Copeland It’s the intranet, Jim, but not as we know it

Dave Musson Right back at it again: What I made of #commscamp15

Dan Slee static v social intranets Knowledge Hub chat


Nigel Bishop two minute video 

Nigel Bishop longer video with interviews

Other resources

Nigel Bishop cracking photos 

Sasha Taylor more cracking photos

Albert Freeman slides on better video

Emma Rodgers on the commscamp new ideas fund

Emma Rodgers storify of the day

Recommended reading

James Cattell recommended campers read social media from a teenagers perspective.

Steph Gray suggested video skills from DFID.

Kelly Quigley Hicks recommended GCS’s work on evaluation.

Dave Musson recommended Warwick University’s social media framework

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on An ever-updated summary of blogs and pics

GOLD SPONSOR POST: How does your digital reach measure up?

5643713521_afc9d770cf_bBy Paul Sharp of GovDelivery

Let’s start with some simple questions…

  • What percentage of your population are you actively, digitally engaged with?
  • How does this differ from this time last year?
  • Can you demonstrate meaningful engagement and dramatic growth?

Are you satisfied with your answers or could you be doing more?  Should you be doing more?

Let’s reframe the question…

  • Are you reaching enough people?
  • What are you doing to increase your reach?
  • How are you measuring the impact of your digital outreach?

Many public sector organisations spend significant time and money updating their websites and online systems. Improving the online experience and making services more transactional is all the rage. However, without promoting the new website, online services and the information they contain, how will those who need to use it know it’s there and engage with you?

Build it and they will come?  It’s true that some users may stumble across it but not enough to make significant impact and justify the investment.  You need to be proactive and market your digital services, but how do you do this.

You have another important question to answer. Are you maximising every opportunity to build your digital reach?

How do you reach and engage with those people who are not using your services or visiting your website?  Residents; businesses; tourists; visitors, these are important audiences if you are looking to reduce costs, drive self service and stimulate the local economy.

Traditionally you might turn to the local press to publicise events and campaigns. Often at additional cost every time you want to reach out to the population, with information which may affect their quality of life, local amenities or their property.  However, most of the local press are experiencing significant falls year on year in readership numbers given how we consume information has drastically changed with advances in technology.

I think it was Einstein who said that one of the definitions of madness is “To continually do the same thing but to expect a different outcome”.  So perhaps the time has come to consider a different way to do things?

At GovDelivery we believe that organisations that inform and engage citizens create an environment for change. We understand people: people in government and people in the community. More than UK 100 government organisations use our communications solutions to connect with more than 5.5 million citizens. No one knows how to help you reach and engage people better than GovDelivery.

The unique GovDelivery Network allows you to quickly expand your audience and communicate effectively.  You can collaborate with other public sector organisations to reach more people and maximise engagement.  You can cross-promote your services and information to users not actively engaged with you.  You can even reach users who not using your website.  Importantly, you can target local users and specific audiences based on location and relevancy of the services you provide.

Public sector organisations that have chosen to use GovDelivery’s service have been able to grow their reach up to 35% of their total population.  When reviewed locally, the GovDelivery network generally has more people subscribing to public services in an area than readers of the local newspaper. Whilst the newspaper readers could be taking the newspaper for a variety of reasons, we know what interests and motivates the GovDelivery subscribers by their choice of topics providing a detailed understanding of residents needs.

Ask yourself this final question…

What difference would it make if you could connect with 35% of your residents or stakeholders on a daily basis?

For more information on how you can improve your digital reach connect with us at:



t: @GovDeliveryUK

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on GOLD SPONSOR POST: How does your digital reach measure up?