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Max St John

YRS 2010: a look back

The YRS Brighton team celebrating

After a long and hard week wireframing, coding, arguing (a bit, and mainly over the music) and eating a lot of biscuits, we headed up to London to the event at Engine, not without a degree of nervousness.

The standard of entries was incredible. Teams from Manchester, Norwich and London had, in the space of a week, built the most amazing apps.

Particularly worthy of note was Isabell Long’s Gov Spark (an app for monitoring Government Department energy consumption) and WhatBlock (a pupil-powered crowdsourcing app for compiling lists of blocked sites) but there were so many great ideas (which you can see here).

The great news for Harry, Damon and Lawrence, Brighton’s YRS team, was that TubeSmart won a runners-up prize while SocialLibrary won Best in Show, generating a lot of interest from the audience and judges.

This is all no mean feat when the judging panel included Andrew Stott (Director of Digital Engagement), Helen Milner (MD, UK Online Centres) and Mark O’Neil (CIO at the DCMS), amongst others.

Wot I learneded

I feel I learned a lot from the week too, which I won’t bang on about, but in short…

1. It seems IT/ICT teaching schools needs to change. While it’s been 16 years since I experienced it, this is something I heard a lot about at the event on Friday (and since). What I do know is that our team were all self-taught and self-motivated; that at least one of them ditched IT through lack of interest and that events like Rewired State are their only opportunity to do something really creative with technology.

Harnessing their motivation, imagination and lack of baggage (that us embittered, elderly people come with) is extremely powerful and inspiring to be a part of.

2. Rewired State is amazing, as are Emma Mulqueeny and Dan Morris. We need more organisations (and people) like this – and investment in them – if we’re really going to harness technology and imaginations for a better society.

Brighton’s digital community rock

I was also bowled over by the number of offers for support from the Brighton digital community – so many I couldn’t actually accommodate everyone! Big thank yous to those who dropped in to help over the week – Alan and Jesse from Cubeworks, Jon Markwell, Anna Debenham, Joe Holdcroft, Cennydd Bowles and Mike Parris – who gave some added inspiration to the team.

Words from the team

It seems only fitting to end on something from the team, rather than me, so here’s a few words from Harry, Damon and Lawrence.

Lawrence on how the ideas came about:

“The biggest challenge of the week was by far coming up with ideas. We spent the majority of the day in the sunny NixonMcinnes office racking our brains for ideas. Having thought about it recently, I think the secret to our success was not staring at the endless list of incomplete/hacky data, but actually asking ourselves what the government was doing wrong.”

Read his full blog post here

Harry on progress mid-week:

“Tuesday and Wednesday me and Lawrence (@lawrencejob) spent coding TubeSmart (the code was pretty bad – mostly due to some functions I wrote late at night that we hacked around with to do some other stuff and integrated with a DB class from Lawrence and partly due to a lack of time), while Damon (@damonhayhurst) spent most of his time doing wireframes for SociaLibrary.”

Read the rest of his post here.

Here’s Damon being interviewed on behalf of the whole team after they received Best in Show for SocialLibrary:

Check out all the photos from the event on our Flickr page

Here’s to next year!

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  1. Congratulations on the success guys. Sounds like it’s been a really inspirational event for all involved.

    Posted 11th August 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
  2. Inspiring. Seriously. Would’ve loved to have met the team and witnessed the birth of the coolness. NICE.

    Posted 12th August 2010 at 10:09 am | Permalink

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Wired Sussex, Anna Carlson, NixonMcInnes, max st john, slipmatt and others. slipmatt said: RT @Carlsonator: RT @nixonmcinnes YRS 2010: a look back < some very cool and inspiring happenings in our office … [...]

  2. By Young Rewired State 2012 - NixonMcInnes on 17th July 2012 at 4:13 pm

    [...] tough but I think the Brighton kids will do just as well as they have in previous years (that is, very well). I think some of the kids already signed up for Brighton could do my job better than I can! [...]