A Leadership Seminar on Community Information Management

When/Where: TBD

Presenter: Jon Udell

Invited attendees

About 15-25 leaders from key local organizations including: the public schools, the colleges, the city government, the newspaper, the public library, the hospital, the chamber of commerce, the downtown merchants association, the arts/culture nonprofits, the sports leagues, social services, local agriculture, etc.

(Note: The seminar involves technical subject matter but the invited attendees are explicitly /not/ IT staffers from these organizations. The ideas and methods we will explain and demonstrate are simple enough for anyone to understand and apply, and we especially want organizational leaders to know that.) Format: 2 hours: 1 hour of presentation, 45 minutes of workshop, 15 minute wrap-up


Everybody lives online now. No matter who you are, a Google search will find some mention of you somewhere, and someone will have posted a picture somewhere that you're in. Knowing how to collect and exchange information is now as important a skill as knowing how to drive, but it's not enough: in order to make the web really work for you, you have to know how to project yourself online, and how to manage the boundary between what's private and what's public.

Cities and towns need to know this too. From the mayor's office and local schools to the slow-pitch league and the local music scene, communities need to have these same skills if they are to survive and thrive in the 21st Century. This seminar will explore what those skills are and how we can use them to make our communities stronger. We will use one particular case --- sharing and synchronizing event calendars in your city --- to illustrate ideas, but the basic principles we will discuss can be applied to almost every aspect of community life. And while we'll be talking about the web, this seminar is not for IT specialists, any more than knowing how to drive is something that only auto mechanics need to know.

Presentation (1 hour)

We ask and answer these questions:

- How can we, as a community, most effectively inform one another about goings-on in the region?

- How can our collective information management skills improve quality of life in the region?

- How can they also help us attract tourism and talent from outside the region?

- How do these same skills apply in other domains of public life such as political discourse and education?

Workshop (45 minutes)

In the second hour of demonstration we show how organizations not yet sharing calendars online can easily do so. Among the skills you will learn and perspectives you'll acquire:

- Why and how to use "cloud-based" services like Google Calendar and Hotmail Calendar

- Why some kinds of online information remain stuck in "silos" while other kinds can flow through networks

- How to publish information online in ways that maximize its utility and reach

- How this approach puts you in control of the information you publish and why that matters.

Conclusion (15 minutes)

We'll review two important learnings from the seminar, one specific and one general.

Specifically, you will have learned how to share your organization's online calendar in a way that enables it to propagate reliably through the web while remaining under your authoritative control.

Generally, you will have learned a way of thinking about community information management that you can apply to other aspects of your organization's mission.