BREWCAMP: How we can innovate with tea and cake

As Mrs Doyle herself said, didn’t the Lord himself pause for a nice cup of tea?

With a cup of tea comes conversation, learning and sharing.

And cake.

Over the past few months, I’ve been involved with something called Brewcamp.

This is about 20 people meeting up at the end of a working day at a cafe in Birmingham.

How did it come about?

Back in 2010 myself and a team of others – Si Whitehouse, Stuart Harrison, Mike Rawlins and Andy Mabbett – staged the unconference Hyperlocal Govcamp West Midlands.

This was a big shindig. We hired Walsall College with catering, there was 12 sessions and it all cost just over £1,000 to put on.

It dawned on us that the planning meetings were actually a sociable chance to catch-up and bounce ideas.

We looked at the idea of Teacamp in London and quite liked the idea of a meet-up between like minded people with a £0 budget and minimal organisation. All power to the Teacamp people.

A few Warwickshire people Kate Sahota, Sasha Taylor and Kaz Ramsey-Smith have now come along too.

There is now talk of similar events in the North of England and Derbyshire.

How does it work?

There’s three topics of about 30 minutes, a ban on powerpoint and space for questions and debate.

I’m increasingly struck how this happy accident with milk and one sugar has something more to offer than just a post-work chance to eat Victoria Sponge.

What does one look like?

A bit like this. Storify is a good way of capturing resources. Andy Mabbett spoke about how wikipedia can be used by local government, a debate about transport open data here and Walsall 24 here.

Why is this a good idea?

  • Because tea and cake are good.
  • Because as training budgets vanish the informal offers a good alternative.
  • Because it’s a chance to meet like minded people.
  • Because some good work is being done by people who are just innovating.
  • Because anyone can go.

What’s the Brewcamp recipe?

A budget of zero.

An eventbrite page like this one.

A cafe. Or a pub with an owner who doesn’t mind reserving some space.

Wifi optional.

A flip or a livestream if you like. But it’s not vital.

A few people who have a case study to share or a problem they want help cracking.

A supply of tea.

Some cake.

And if you don’t fancy those rules you can tear them up and make your own.

Simple.

https://danslee.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/teaandcake/

Join the Conversation

11 Comments

  1. Hi Dan – liked this idea so much I am going to try and do a series of brewcamps to form part of my MSc project research on open data. As a woman of a certain age, a non-technical person who seems to entering the technological world, this is just my cup of tea! (sorry could not resist).

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