As the Digital Engagement team in DWP Digital, we're used to highlighting how our communities of practice are coming together to collaborate in order to work more effectively.
But Digital Engagement is a community of its own, so it was time for us to practice what we preach by getting colleagues together for a day of learning, sharing and collaboration which we called Digital Engagement Live.
A mix of practical tips and community collaboration
Around 90 people from across DWP Digital have aligned to the Digital Engagement community. This means that their role or part of their role involves some element of communications, so Digital Engagement Live was a chance for people across the community to pick up practical communications tips while building a sense of community.
We asked the community what they wanted to learn about at the event and the response was overwhelmingly in favour of learning about the six topics of key messages, blogging, photography, the new DWP intranet, designing events and writing and delivering presentations.
So we structured the day around each of these topics, running multiple short, sharp, interactive sessions to allow attendees to get to as many as possible.
I ran sessions on how to get started with blogging, as well as writing and delivering presentations. Joanne Rewcastle and Claire Metcalf shared their experience of designing events, while Ben Lister ran a lively session with simple tips on improving photography. Jackie Bryan and Pat Pybus talked about focusing on key messages and Rob Jennings and David Vilain-Shields updated delegates on the internal engagement possibilities of the new DWP intranet.
A learning experience for everyone
We designed a series of takeaways for people to keep after each session each containing key points related to each topic.
We had a really enjoyable day collaborating to bring the community together and sharing our learning. For some of the team it was their first time in the spotlight talking about their work, so although it was great to build capability with the wider community, it was a learning experience for us too.
The feedback from the community was positive. After the event one delegate commented: “I loved the format and the top tips cards. The blogging session has given me more confidence to get started.”
Another attendee said: “The photography session has really inspired me to practise and use apps to edit my photos. The whole day was a reminder for me about 'telling the story' across everything we do.”
We’re already thinking about how to build on the momentum of the day by doing further events and perhaps running similar sessions for other areas of DWP Digital outside of the Digital Engagement community as a way to further develop capability. But overall the day was perhaps best summed up by this comment from a delegate:
“It’s the people who make it. The day was just right for our first get-together, paving the way for the type of community I hope we become.”