Political Innovation: Building in your own agenda…

You may have seen the announcement post for the Political Innovation event that we’re holding at NICVA’s HQ (thanks NICVA!) on the 20th (tickets and detail here – and there’s a Scottish event planned for the 13th as well).

We’re keen not to set the agenda too tightly. It won’t have any named speakers or a timetable. If you want to bring something up, you can – as long as other people are interested as well. Have a look at this page – it allows you to suggest ideas for sessions and rate the ideas that others have.

I want to do some sessions on how we – the readers of Slugger / plain people of Ulster can make politics better. This year, we’ve been asking the readers to tell us what the Slugger Awards should be, rather than just run the usual ‘best this’, ‘best that’, this event will allow us to discuss and identify what kinds of behaviour we should be rewarding politicians, the media and the various public bodies that work on our behalf.

Also, I’ve had a bit of interest from various quarters in using the event to explore other political innovations that could happen in Northern Ireland. There’s a bit of interest in ‘post sectarian politics’ and I know a few of our regulars here have ideas of their own for sessions on this.

There’s a few sessions already booked in on post-sectarian political formations from a number angles. There seems to be a shared view that centre-right politics is only possible if there’s a centre-left alternative, so I’d be happy to hear from anyone who wants to do sessions on any of these issues.

How do you do a session?

  • Think of an idea you want to float. Try and make sure that it has some ‘action points’ coming from it – something that attendees can agree to go off and do together at the end
  • Get a dozen or so people to agree to discuss your subject on the day (a good bit of support on the Uservoice page will help here)
  • Kick the session of with no more than five minutes talking from yourself, and then act as the session’s ‘moderator’ – keeping it civil and on-topic
  • Key rule: everyone (probably) has two ears and one mouth – be civil, listen more than you talk and keep it going towards a conclusion
  • Keep everyone focused on the need to do something useful together following the session
  • Try and blog it – there’ll be WiFi there, you can tweet with the #picamp hashtag – and be ready to report back what you all agreed to do at the end to the wider group of attendees at the conference.

So come on! Tell us what you want to talk about!

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