Councils clearly want to be on the frontline of digital transformation
With the launch of the Future Fund from O2, local government has demonstrated that it is ready to rise to the digital challenge and innovate.
On 25 April nearly 50 councils were present at the launch event in Stratford, for their chance to win their share of up to £250,000 of technology investment and people expertise to bring their digital ideas to life.
From all corners of the UK, delegates were introduced to the judges: Ben Dowd, O2 business director; Emma Maier, LGC editor; Michael Coughlin, LGA executive director; Simon Parker, NLGN director, and myself.
The local government audience then heard of four possible scenarios in which O2’s technology and people could help innovation around: ‘reducing costs and improving efficiency’, ‘driving economic growth’, ‘improving the customer/citizen experience’, and ‘improving health and wellbeing’.
With a marketplace of 17 business units representing O2’s capability, delegates were able to meet and network with the experts to help inform their bids. From business consultancy to metro wifi to community engagement, the marketplace was buzzing with discussion and activity.
I spoke to a number of officers, and the sentiment was all positive. One said: “We see ourselves as innovators, that’s why we’re here”, and another: “I can really see how our vision can be facilitated by the Future Fund”.
For those who weren’t able to make it on the day, the Future Fund is open to all UK local authorities, who have until 20 June to submit their bid. During that time, supporting material is available at O2.co.uk/FutureFund and a LinkedIn user group has been created to enable further networking and discussion.
Reflecting on the success of the launch event, I am convinced that the fund provides a real opportunity for local government to truly embrace the digital age, and use the funding available to bring their ideas to life.
I was hugely encouraged by the turnout (despite the weather conditions) and by the level of creativity and innovation that the people of local government possess.
On the day I invited the audience to take O2’s technology and people, combine them with their ambition and vision, and create something truly transformative for their council. On behalf of myself and the judges, we are expecting some exceptional submissions, and are eager to support those breakthrough ideas.
Neil Prior, head of Local Government Futures Forum, O2
- LGC is supporting the Future Fund from O2. LGCplus.com/FutureFund
How it works
- Entry deadline, 20 June 2012
- Finalists pitch to judges, July 2012
- Winners announced
- LGC follows progress as projects get under way
Any UK council is eligible to take part