Final report live!

The final report is publicly available. Rather than embed it here, I encourage you to go to the main unconference website: read it there, and please leave a “signature” in the comments if you wish to be part of the sign off process

Now read the report


Following things up and keeping things moving…

A belated thanks to everyone who came along to our event. As you will see from earlier posts, the report has been submitted to the main unconferences. A compiled version of reports from all the unconferences will be available soon. Here’s a number of ideas as to how to keep the debates moving along:

  • Dave Harte mentioned a website he had set up to continue this debate, you can find that website at DigitalStrategyWM
  • You can listen again to content from the event at Rhubarb Radio
  • Follow Julia on Twitter for news of a forthcoming unconference that is running in parallel to Digital Birmingham’s Digital Britain Final Report event on Wednesday 17th June

You may also want to follow some of the following people, or update your contact book with the details of those who booked and attended (from our EventBright page):

Continue reading ‘Following things up and keeping things moving…’

Flip chart notes from the Unconf

These notes have been submitted to the main Unconference organisers for collation with the partner events around the UK. Feel free to continue developing these points in the comments.

General observations:

  • The report seems to be concerned with protecting existing businesses rather than encouraging new entrants to markets;
  • The report is focused on the needs of business not the needs of the public


  • ISP’s should see opportunities as well as threats
  • DAB – What standard? Report needs to be specific
  • Report should recognise that uploading is a majority activity e.g. flickr, facebook
  • Consumer rights need to be championed
    • tech that is good for consumers
    • The public are not CONSUMERS but PARTICIPANTS
    • Get people included in conversation, not just businesses
  • ISP’s should see opportunities as well as threats
  • Networks should be key in conversations about DIGITAL INCLUSION
  • Producers at grassroots need fast UPLOADS as well as downloads
    • Require ISPs to charge proportionally for up and down stream. Don’t penalise uploaders by charging them for fast uploads: this effects creative SMEs
    • Parity for urban and rural communities in connectivity – support for rural creative and cultural industries who need access to good network infrastructure
    • Web on TV especially in areas we can’t get networks to
  • Pre-empt demand for bandwidth
    • is 2Mbps really enough?
    • is 2Mbps a minimum, if so what should most of the country expect
    • how was the minimum chosen?


  • An overview of Birmingham & West Midlands
    • Lots of support activity from AWM, 4ip to accessible funds are good
    • WM are ahead of the game in terms of funds
    • The public support for creative & cultural and digital business in West Midlands attracts further investment (from private sector) and creative talent to the region
  • What sort of funds and investment?
    • Grants or investments?
    • is government looking to support for digital industry? Or creative industry? Or Cultural industries?
  • How do we help creativity (not just chasing funding)?
  • Government commitment to projects in digital content e.g. Wellness agenda – in establishing digital content, as key purchases of services
  • Universities need investment for knowledge transfer and research
  • Opportunities for Birmingham and West Midlands:
    • Longbridge as another digital cluster
    • Attract organisations like building societies who would bring infrastructure investment as well as jobs
  • IT businesses and their concerns are part of this discussion too


  • Its broken: Start from scratch
  • Some ideas for the carrot (encouraging legal behaviour) as well as the stick (policing IP)
  • Commitment to alternative models of IP within the discussion
  • Education for businesses not just consumers: they need to know opportunities not just threats from digital and its effect on IP
  • Copyright laws and rights agencies seem to be already moving ahead based on old models: how do we make them stop?
  • Free up old media products: media as culture. If content isn’t being used to generate revenue anymore, then it should be freely available
  • Some acknowledgment of consumers position not just media companies
  • What do artists/producers want? People to consume their products! They don’t want their audience to be criminalised
  • IP roles need to work for all types of media

Public Service/Broadcast production

  • Opportunity for independent producers
  • A clearer vision: Producers can’t see more than 12 months ahead, so show them there is a longer term strategy and get them to invest time in that
  • Independent producers should be more innovative in approach to IP and to co-working with both their peers and their audience
  • Clarity is needed as to what Public Service means in a digital age.
  • Ad inventory: why is this a problem?
    • In a free market new companies should be able to enter the market and sell advertising space
    • Concerns over ad inventory contradicts references to ensuring “competitiveness” in the report and seem protectionist
  • Ad models need to change: recognise Google as an innovator
  • Recognise small producers in these policies

Education & Skills

  • Links between industry and education: report asks what there should be – so what should there be?
  • Training vs. Education: training has limits education will produce flexible digital media literacy and workers.
  • Beyond online tutorials: proper education
  • Education for the cultural role of digital media, and for digital citizenship
  • Move the debate beyond business and technology
  • Open up general debates around role of digital media in society: more away from “facebook rots your brain” (Daily Mail) angle of mainstream media
  • Lets not throw away pedagogy it’s still education: don’t get distracted by the kit
  • Meaningful and accessible training for the kit that people have and use
  • Birmingham: we need to shout about what we do already.

Skills for delivery of public services and interface with government (?)

  • Talks about mechanics of e-government but not about underpinning ideas of citizenship, e-democracy
  • Define universal service provision – who for? – how does it work?
  • We need a digital media literacy not just the ability to use a computer
  • Education policies that work towards wider educational goals, that aren’t barriers to other learning.
  • Open access to internet in schools and public places NOT locked down
  • Government sees www as broadcast: government should open up information and let third parties utilise it
  • But we need a conversation about how transparency might work
  • Clear REWARD to encourage engagement otherwise people won’t be interested
  • Access to data encourages innovation and creativity

Live blogging Digital Britain WM

So here’s how the live blogging will unfold.

There are a few options options:

  1. If you simply want to keep an eye on the event in your favourite twitter client, simply follow the hashtag #dbuc09.
  2. If you want the full experience or simply get an overview once in a while, check out the Friendfeed room ‘Digital Britain UC’. This will serve as the live blogging hub; apart from the actual live blogging, it also aggregates all twitter reactions, flickr photos, delicious links and blog posts about the event.

Also remember you can tune in to Rhubarb Radio to get the live coverage.

Schedule for tomorrow – and ideas for after the event

The event kicks off at 10am sharp tomorrow. There is a canteen at Margaret Street so I suggest people arrive early from 9:30am) and have a coffee. They are aware were coming and will put some extra on for us. we will have a brief coffee break at about 11:30am

The event will close promptly at 13:30. Several delegates are going from the event to the Black Country Social Media Café: the tram ride, and the free drinks and food should help things along.

The Brum Bloggers meeting is the following evening and this will again give you a chance to discuss some of the issues with likeminded folks over a few beers.

Call for Panels

Want to be part of the chat and hold a panel?

Discussions will be centred around the digital Britain  five objectives:

  • Upgrading and modernising our digital networks – wired, wireless and broadcast – so that Britain has an infrastructure that enables it to remain globally competitive in the digital world;
  • A dynamic investment climate for UK digital content, applications and services, that makes the UK an attractive place for both domestic and inward investment in our digital economy;
  • UK content for UK users: content of quality and scale that serves the interests, experiences and needs of all UK citizens; in particular impartial news, comment and analysis;
  • Fairness and access for all: universal availability coupled with the skills and digital literacy to enable near-universal participation in the digital economy and digital society; and
  • Developing the infrastructure, skills and take-up to enable the widespread online delivery of public services and business interface with Government.

If you fancy holding a panel please pop it up on the blog @ or alternatively drop an email to with Digital Britain as the title.

Discussions will be pulled out of a hat on the day for optimum randomisation. You may or may not get chosen to hold a panel.

Venue confirmed!

The un’unconference’, to discuss responses to the Digital Britain Interim Report, will take place at BCU’s Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, on Margret Street on Tuesday May 12th.  We will start promptly at ten and continue through to half past one.  Let us know if you have any points for discussion regarding our own potential actions to achieve the five objectives laid out in the report.

Venue & Times

10am - 1:30pm Tuesday 12th May 2009
Birmingham School of Art
Birmingham City University
Margaret Street
B3 3BG
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Live coverage on Rhubarb Radio

Live blogging

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