Thanks to Marilyn and Gwenny’s hard work, I’m beginning to get a better sense for what interests civil servants about digital, and the little things that get in the way.

IT, lack of time and prioritisation of stakeholder organisations and mainstream media, over and above our core audiences, have all cropped up as reasons for slow progress against that all-important Action 14 of our digital strategy.

On a more positive note, there are a growing band of people in the office who have an appetite to roll their sleeves up and get hands-on with digital engagement.

I’ve been wanting to do something to give them a nudge and test my idea that these people could be great advocates for digital.

So, this week I’m sending five of them a package. Inside they will find:

1. A note from me

2. One of Marilyn’s nifty little digital engagement business cards

3. A tablet

4. A copy of Organisations don’t tweet, people do, by Euan Semple

5. A gift card for a coffee

The idea is that by loaning them a tablet we can sidestep any technical barriers and, frankly, bribe people into exploring further. There’s nothing particularly wrong with BIS IT, but I don’t honestly know whether all the recipients have a device of their own.Christmas policy pack

The package is going to some senior people, which is coincidence rather than design. But therefore I do want them to have something to get them thinking about digital culture and their teams, hence Euan’s book.

I want to overcome the whole ‘time for digital’ issue, hence the coffee voucher. I’m hoping that this will incentivise my colleagues to pop next door to a coffee shop with the tablet, log on, and find out a bit more about what their audiences are saying online. The tablet is pre-loaded with a few tools and links to help them on their way. That’s the gist of my note.

All I’m asking is that they provide a blog post or two about their experiences, or some feedback that I can turn into a post. At the least I am hoping it will keep digital in policy making forefront of their minds, but we’ll see.


This is a personal experiment, which I am paying for myself. That’s why I am blogging about it here, and not with the team.

The tablets are on loan from Microsoft for a month, thanks to the brilliant Mat Starnes and Pauline Yau. I am personally liable for the devices.

The book and coffee voucher are gifts from me. I hope this will help avoid any awkwardness with forms and declarations, internally.