There are few things that will get me out of bed early on a wintry Saturday morning. ChangeCamp is one of them: an unconference dedicated to re-imaging (Canadian) government and citizenship in the age of participation. My friend Mark, who is passionate about government, change and unconferences, is one of the ringleaders here, but there’s an amazing group of people who made all this come together in less than a month. I’ll be doing some wiki gardening, Twittering and live blogging about ChangeCamp today.

Why do we need an unconference about government? Because the usual methods of providing input to government aren’t, in general, working; unconferences shake things up and tend to get the communications lines unclogged. TransitCamp was a start to this, getting citizens involved in generating ideas for public transit and resulting in the ongoing Metronauts community, but also engaging with the TTC and causing some real change. HoHoTO showed how quickly people can come together to become something that’s bigger than themselves, raising over $25k for the Daily Bread Food Bank at a 600-person holiday party that went from inception to reality in 13 days.

And here we are today, pretty near a full house at the MaRS Centre to address the long tail of government.

There’s a couple of modifications to the usual open space format of unconferences: we’re being organized into groups up front to exchange some ideas and define problems, and there’s an opportunity for people who have a specific idea that they want to dive into and start developing something in ChangeLab.

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