Vancouver ChangeCamp (VanChangeCamp) placeholder and idea bouncer

[UPDATE 3:20pm] You can subscribe to the VanChangeCamp Google Group here.

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[UPDATE 2:20pm] Here is my email blast explaining the surge of VanChangeCamp – hope this makes it more coherent!

Hi all,

Rumor has it that the Vancouver Twittersphere is interested in a ChangeCamp Vancouver. We had talked previously about organizing an unconference (camp) about web 2.0 and effecting social change. You all have an interest in changing the world in one way or another. Some of you have been involved in sustainable farming, or empowering the disenfranchised and marginalized through non-profit work, etc. I have been always interested in enabling citizen participation in government policy making, particularly environmental policy. And well, I teach public policy and environmental policy, so …

My understanding of ChangeCamp (from the ChangeCamp Toronto site and a Summize search I did) is that the conference looked at citizen participation and the relationship of government with society in a web-enabled era. I might be wrong, of course, but this is what seems to transpire from it.


I also know that some of us had been wanting to speak about sustainability, web 2.0, etc. Furthermore, many of us do work on stuff that while not sustainability related is focused on effecting social change. So I think we can embed both aspects. Certainly, sustainability DOES require citizen participation.

I created a placeholder blog post that will definitely have to morph into a wiki.

All ideas obviously welcome. Feel free to forward my email to whomever might be interested.

Twitter is an amazing tool to bring people together. As I recently wrote, Twitter has enabled me to build new friendships and create networks that make things happen. Several of my Tweeps have been involved in using Web 2.0 tools to empower people (particularly the disenfranchised) and effect change. So, this post will serve as a placeholder to bounce ideas off about an upcoming ChangeCamp in Vancouver.

What is ChangeCamp? From the Toronto ChangeCamp website:

ChangeCamp is a free participatory web-enabled face-to-face event that brings together citizens, technologists, designers, academics, policy wonks, political players, change-makers and government employees to answer one question:

How do we re-imagine government and citizenship in the age of participation?

ChangeCamp addresses the demand for a renewed relationship among citizens and government. We seek to create connections, knowledge, tools and policies that drive transparency, civic engagement and democratic empowerment.

People that I have noticed talking about a local, Vancouver ChangeCamp (please don’t be upset if I didn’t mention you yet – I am more than happy to add you – remember, this post is a placeholder).

Karen Quinn Fung (@counti8) – social media, transportation – Karen attended ChangeCamp Toronto!
Joe Solomon (@engagejoe) – social media strategy, nonprofits
Lorraine Murphy (@raincoaster) – social media strategy, nonprofits
Ben and Heath (@urbantastic) – social media, nonprofits
Tom Williams (@tomwilliams) – – nonprofits
Tamera (@tamera) –

Sustainability Tweeps -

I’m particularly interested in having people who work at the intersection of social media and sustainability, because citizen participation is key in creating environmental policy.

Government Tweeps -

Um, this is perhaps where I should place government officials on Twitter?


1.- Purpose of Vancouver ChangeCamp (I assume we’re still going with the same vision of ChangeCamp on the web-enabled relationship between government and civil society?)

2.- Scales of government who should be involved (I assume Federal, the Province of British Columbia and the various municipalities in Metro Vancouver)

3.- Logistics (we’ll have to talk about location, sponsors, speakers, etc.)

Feel free to add stuff in the comments and I will be reshaping this perhaps as a wiki.

[UPDATE - Paul from Mojave and Make Good also asked to get involved - feel free to drop me a comment or email me and I'll add you to the distribution list]

[UPDATE – I will add the folks who have asked me to be included to the list by the end of the day – please keep the comments coming – Lisa, Beth, Jason Mogus and David Eaves and everyone, no I haven’t forgotten you either!)

Related posts:

  1. David Hume on BC as Citizen Engagement Lab: Designing Citizen Engagement with the Province of BC – #VanChangeCamp
  2. My upcoming (to-be-pitched) talk at @VanChangeCamp
  3. VanChangeCamp – June 20th, 2009
  4. VanChangeCamp liveblog
  5. Notes from the first #VanChangeCamp meeting

Comments (6)

Lisa MightonJanuary 26th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I wonder if we’re talking about creating two different events (both would be great) – a ChangeCamp, and a GreenCamp.
My take on the focus of ChangeCamp is that it’s citizen-driven initiatives to get more mass participation in public policy creation (via everything web, social media, mobile).
There are eAdvocacy events – I think tomorrow – in Toronto and Ottawa. Might be interesting to bring a Vancouver version of that into ChangeCamp.

BenJanuary 26th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Hi Raul et al,

I am excited about a possible Van Changecamp. I’ll try and make my suggestions brief:

1) Focus purely on civil society. Collective Citizen engagement. This incorporates sustainability but perhaps moves the tone from “how do we, the people, change government” to more of “how do we, the people, collaborate to change [the city, the environment, the economy].”

Distinction: Government and Corporate interaction with civil society becomes a branch instead of the trunk of the event…

2) Encourage only light scale political involvement. A true open space or ‘un-conference’ is like the knights of the round table, all members with equal standing. From what I understand a too-heavy focus on government changes the balance of openness and mutual respect.

3) Reach out to a new, non-technical crowd. Barcamp, Northernvoice Wordcamp Whistler- on some level all seem to be preaching to the same converted few. Would a tweaking to the format and marketing allow for more traditional civil society to enter the conversation?

Paul CzeneJanuary 26th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Hi Raul and all

If all politics are local can web 2.0 link neighbours around local issues or concerns and increase a sense of local / neighbourhood community?

Paul Czene

Anthony PETITBOISJanuary 26th, 2009 at 3:52 pm


As I just tweeted you this question : “Do you think OpenSource could be a subject at a VanChangeCamp ?”. I wanted to add a few ideas, Open Source is not only changing our technical world (WordPress is FOSS, Linux, Apache, etc…) but also changing our way of sharing information/knowledge to the rest of the world. If you want, I can ellaborate more via email, and why not participate at the event.


MaureeJanuary 26th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Maybe it’s just me, but I think that creating a division between ‘Government’ and ‘Corporation’ discourages the understanding that these spheres of influence are not separate but rather overlapping and inextricably connected. Some of the major issues I hope to see at Change Camp is how politicians realize the strength of having direct conversations with the people they serve. Obama is only one example of that and social media helps keep companies accountable to their corporate social responsibility claims/mandates.

I agree that there should be more of a participatory, non-hierarchical format to the camp. I think politicians and business reps would benefit from being part of these round table discussions and that moderators (or self-moderation) should ensure that everyone has a voice (without becoming a PR stunt).

On the other hand, I was involved in the Smart Growth YouMap events this year, where participants were able to map their own neighbourhoods and the opportunities/areas of improvements they were looking for. It was a great way to engage people around local issues and capture both narrative and hard geographical data (GoogleMap) that I believe will be transcribed on the website This has gone for review by the Planning Commission of the COV. I’m sure they might have some good ideas around this or at least want to be involved.

It’d also be neat to do some liveblogging initiatives, surveys via laptops/3g devices/phones and other social media initiatives for those who can’t attend the conference directly. Not sure if this is already a part of it, as I haven’t had the pleasure of such a conference yet.

Looking forward to everyone’s great ideas and insights!

Lisa MightonJanuary 26th, 2009 at 8:41 pm

I think Anthony’s suggestion of open source as one of the potential topics for ChangeCamp discussion is a really good one.

The organizations that are using the eAdvocacy application I believe
have all scrounged money for it – not sure the cost – but there must
be great open source eAdvocacy tools out there.

It’d be unfortunate if an organization’s potential for online advocacy &
citizen engagement & taking action was limited by cash.

Open source possibilities would be a great ChangeCamp discussion.

New topic:

If the BC Liberals get in again in May, I think it would be worth considering involving the head of communications (in addition to a key BC gov’t person championing social media internally). She used to be a reporter at CTV. Her level of influence would be important in affecting real policy change in citizen e-participation within the BC gov’t.

I’ll cross-post this to GoogleGroup with Anthony’s post below.

Anthony PETITBOISJanuary 26th, 2009 at 3:52 pm


As I just tweeted you this question : “Do you think OpenSource could be a subject at a VanChangeCamp ?”. I wanted to add a few ideas, Open Source is not only changing our technical world (WordPress is FOSS, Linux, Apache, etc…) but also changing our way of sharing information/knowledge to the rest of the world. If you want, I can ellaborate more via email, and why not participate at the event.


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