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02 August 2011, 11:41

TransferSummit: Government Skunkworks founder to present

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TransferSummit 2011 is all about the transfer of knowledge on how open collaboration and open innovation can work, not just for developers but also for managers across industries and organisations. This year, TransferSummit has announced that the founder and head of the UK Government's "Skunkworks", Mark O'Neill, will be presenting a special plenary session at the conference on how and why the government has created this special IT division. O'Neill was previously CIO (Chief Information Officer) for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and of the Government's Open Data Campaign; he is now applying his experience to the Skunkworks project.

The term "Skunkworks" originated in World War II as an alias for Lockheed's Advanced Development Projects Division, where many famous aircraft designs were developed. It has become a term for divisions within organisations with a high degree of autonomy to develop advanced projects. For the UK Government, the IT Skunkworks is looking to develop fast, agile ICT solutions; it is also a major component in the strategy to level the IT playing field and open it up to new and innovative solutions from open source and open standards-equipped SMEs.

Zoom Keble College chapel

TransferSummit 2011 will run from 5 to 8 September at Keble College, Oxford. The H talked with Ross Gardler, programme leader, about how, beyond seeing Government participation, the conference was evolving. Gardler explained that one new element this year in the scheduling would be virtual tracks running through the three tracks, Open Innovation, Open Development and Case Studies, which would cover mobile, community and business. Last year's conference was predominantly about software, but this year will see more open hardware with a Gadget Playtime area showing a range of innovative and open hardware.

Very effective last year was the extensive networking between attendees, and the organisers are making sure that the schedules provide plenty of time for that to happen again. There is also to be a Gala Dinner held in Keble Hall, the inspiration for Hogwarts Dining Hall in Harry Potter, where attendees will be able to chat. Gardler does point out that the conference is about spreading the open word, noting that they are "not preaching to the converted at this conference." Attendees should be able to leave with a knowledge of how open source, open innovation and open development could contribute to business strategies and where to begin implementing the processes that can make them happen.

The H is a media sponsor of TransferSummit and will be covering the conference live.

See also:

And last year's coverage:


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