Last week the Microsoft UK Government team travelled to Birmingham’s NEC to take part in SOCITM 2011. Celebrating 25 years service, the conference focused on collaboration, innovation and re-design in government services.

We took part in the roundtable discussion on the Channel Shift strategy in public services, which Microsoft’s Jason Burton co-chaired. We also sat in on all of the plenary sessions and a number of break-out talks and live-tweeting, as well as blogging the highlights. And we had some great discussions with this year’s delegation at the Microsoft booth about joined up services, digital inclusion and innovation, along with our partners Ascribe, bbits and IEG4.

Reflecting on the event as a whole, what stood out was that all of the public sector organisations taking part demonstrated a thoroughly progressive approach to fostering technology for innovation in ways that can achieve efficiency gains going beyond just cost saving and the back office. From Mike Bracken’s talk about how focusing on usability and long term digital trends can pay dividends and create an innovation culture, to Jamie Kirk’s presentation on how mobile websites can bridge the digital divide. The entire conference, considering the austerity measures the UK is experiencing, was refreshing and thought-provoking.

Coming up we have an exciting few months. As Mark Walker from SCIP mentioned in day one of SOCITM, the BarCamp movement is gathering pace, and in January Microsoft is privileged to be hosting  UK Govcamp 2012. We will be posting more about that closer to the time.

Finishing the year with SOCITM though we look forward to a 2012 filled with more discussion and innovation, and thank all those that joined us last week in Birmingham.

Posted by Drew