Re-CoMConnecting


Colin Fairweather CIO City of Melbourne @colfai

Hello everyone, three months ago at the end of CoMConnect I committed to getting back to you with an update.

A lot has happened since then, we have a new council with a renewed commitment to driving the Digital City Strategy and various exciting projects are already underway (more on this to come).

I’ve been overwhelmed by the passion and commitment you’ve shown (and apologies if I’ve been a bit slow getting back to you).


CoMConnect outcomes

Our CoMConnect event partners have provided us with the report below which we think captures the essence and main themes of the weekend. I’m really looking forward to hearing your feedback

CoMConnect had a big impact on me and other City of Melbourne staff who attended and one of our most important discoveries was the strong interest you expressed in continuing to work with us in the same open and collaborative spirit.

Since CoMConnect we’ve been busy sharing what we discovered with other areas of the organisation, while at the same time working out how to enable this way of working to continue.

What we’re doing now

We’ve realised that one of the most important tasks is to find a way that the City and our community can continue to co-create in a way that is sustainable and responsive. In other words, we don’t want to let another 3 months go by before anything happens!

Community and City of Melbourne Council working together

This means that we (that’s the City of Melbourne and those of you interested in helping us) actually have two jobs:

1. Create a Digital Strategy for the City of Melbourne - This was our original aim and one we intend to continue. CoMConnect (and our subsequent engagement and research) have identified a clear need for some guiding principles and priorities that will help shape future projects and investments.

2. Create a better way of working - In order to create the best strategy possible, we have to rethink the process by which strategies are developed. This piece of work is far more fluid and raises a number of interesting (and challenging) questions about our mutual capacity to progress ideas through to outcomes.

I believe that by doing these two jobs together, in a way that combines traditional approaches with innovative digitally-enabled processes, we will create something truly valuable for Melbourne and beyond.

Get involved

This way of working is a bit of a leap of faith for an organisation such as ours, and requires a level of understanding by all participants that there may well be some rough edges and course-corrections as we progress along this journey together.

In the early stages, we’re looking for brave ‘early adopters’ who are ready to roll up their sleeves and maybe get a few splinters. If you think that might be you, then please read more about our process and how to get involved.

For the rest of you, please:

1. stay in touch by subscribing to our updates (hit the rss link above)
2. share this post with your networks (Please keep using #CoMConnect for now)
3. provide your ideas and feedback in the comments below

I look forward to continuing this journey with you.


Colin Fairweather @colfai
CIO City of Melbourne


Digitally Enhancing Public Spaces at the Urban Prototyping Makeathon via wired.com

Digitally Enhancing Public Spaces at the Urban Prototyping Makeathon via wired.com

We did it!

City of Melbourne's unconference - #CoMConnect - 06

Three days after CoMConnect and my head is STILL spinning with ideas, snippets of conversations and possible future projects. The consensus view held here at the City of Melbourne by all those who attended is that the event (and the open space format) was a huge success.

None of this would have been possible of course without the brilliant planning and facilitation by our event team:
- Mark Elliott and Matt Cooperrider from Collabforge, for all their considerable intellectual input into the design of the event and the systems to help us capture participants creative outputs.
- David Hood from the Collaboratory Melbourne and his amazing team of volunteers for all the work they did to ensure the event ran smoothly.
- Stuart Candy from Arup for all that he contributed in the design and planning stages capped off by his exemplary skills on the mic, keeping us (more or less!) on time and focused on the task at hand over the weekend.

City of Melbourne's unconference - #CoMConnect - 18

The biggest thanks however goes to all of you who turned up, both virtually via twitter but more importantly, in person and contributed so much of your time, ideas, creativity and passion over the two days of CoM Connect. (With a special extra thanks to those of you who travelled from outside Melbourne to attend.)

Over the two days 150+ of you ran, attended, contributed to and took notes on 45 sessions spanning the future of work, the future of CBD retail, new ways for citizens to engage with their local council and the vital role of ‘play’ and ‘fun’ in our thriving urban centre.

By the close of the second day the hashtag #comconnect had generated over 1.3m impressions and reached an online audience of over 153 000 people.

One of the best things about the whole event though are all the conversations that are still continuing. In the final session attendee after attendee stood up and outlined their ideas, their fellow co-conspirators and the next steps they plan on taking to further their ambitions and aspirations for Melbourne’s digital future.

There’s still lots of work to be done to analyse the huge volume of notes and contributions we all generated over the weekend but a quick dump of the raw data has generated the word cloud below which gives a rough idea of some of the key themes that emerged over the two days.

It’s very gratifying (and to be honest, not at all surprising) to see the domination of words such as ‘people’, ‘community’ and ‘public’ as one would hope when talking about any aspect of our city.

To date two of our attendees have published their thoughts on the weekend: Tony Smith and Alex Schlotzer

We’ll be back in the coming weeks with a report and further analysis of the event and we’ll keep posting photos and videos of the event as they come through (for starters check out the great photos taken by Samantha Bell on the second day - If you have images or footage you’d like to share please let us know in the comments.)

But for now on behalf of everyone here at the City of Melbourne and on behalf of our event planning and design partners: THANKS!

Word cloud generated from the notes and comments left on the “official” google doc

Word cloud generated from the notes and comments left on the “official” google doc

"The notion of digital play was put forward, as a way of engaging people, delivering more information and doing it in a way that might elicit joy from observers. Technology might therefore act as a tool as opposed to being viewed as a solution. The hyper-lit helmet and RoboJog were two key examples of a smart use of technology to humanize it. I loved this session and would be particularly interested in seeing how these ideas could be scaled to impact on the spirit and culture of the city."

— Michael McConville - CoM Connect Attendee