Agile Content Lightning Talks featuring the Government Digital Service

Feb 3, 2014 · London, United Kingdom

On Mon 3 February our lightning talk event returns to the Book Club in Shoreditch. Our 11 speakers each get 5 minutes and 20 slides (15 seconds per slide) to share their unique perspectives on agile content in a blur of energy, passion and intensity. The buzz is incredible! Our lightning talks events always sell out, so be sure to get your ticket early.

11 speakers, 5 minutes each

Our 11 speakers come from a range of backgrounds, including content, UX, PR, and three from the Government Digital Service (the team behind GOV.UK.) Meet them:

David Adams: Is Adaptive Content a holy grail or complicated fad?

Adaptive content can offer the holy grail of Write Once Read Everywhere and a user experience tailored to both the user and their device. With that promise, content people are interested and maybe even excited. But is it really the answer, does it deliver, and does it have to be complicated?

Rahel Anne Bailie: Content First: COPE Made Easy

Although NPR socialised the COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere) acronym, the concept has been around for a couple of decades. There are two basic COPE variants, which work in very different ways. Learn the differences and application for each type, in five easy minutes.

Rupert Bowater: Why trouble with triples? An introduction to the semantic web

Rupert will give us a beginner’s guide to the semantic web’s alphabet soup (RDFa, JSON-LD, rNews…)

Graham Francis: Agile and the army

Graham works at the Government Digital Service (GDS) which created the single government website GOV.UK. While GDS is known for its agile approach, Graham learned about agile 10 years earlier—when the Army introduced similar techniques to help the civil service deal with an emergency situation.

Andy Freeman: Gaudi and the marriage of content and design

Andy asks what Gaudi’s architecture can teach us about the marriage of content with design. Often a website redesign focuses on look and feel, so what happens if we start like architects with the message and then shape our content to maximise this? Gaudi worked in this way in his Barcelona architecture.

Lana Gibson: Using search data to find out what our users want

GOV.UK is the radical website of the UK government. It’s radical because user needs are at the centre of everything it has become. The design, the content, the use of tools, the navigation—everything is built around user needs, not organisational needs (in this case, government needs). Lana will explain how she uses search data to find out what users want, and how they monitor GOV.UK to understand how user needs are changing.

Rob Grundel: When is the song over? What digital teams can learn from music

As well as being a digital producer, Rob plays improvised music. There are many metaphors within the life of just one song that relate to working together with people to produce something for other people. All of this includes trust, fear, failure, responsibility, vision, change, respecting your audience, and mortality.

Paola Kathuria: How will you change my life?

Paola will present two case studies, 18 years apart, about how to organise and present products and services. Companies often present products in terms of technical detail or business areas, but people think about what a product can do for them.

Heleana Quartey: Make friends and influence people online

Brands are under increasing pressure to remove the middleman and tell their own story across channels. But how do you do that without coming across like someone at a party who only talks about themselves? Heleana will explain how to use brand journalism to make friends and influence people online.

Cress Rolfe: Content, custom templates and formulaic experiences

Web content design is steered by prevailing trends and imitation, like fast-food delivery: disposable, predictable, often alluring yet somehow disappointing. Why do we have these formulaic display conventions, and what are the new kids on the block? Learn about the benefits of using templates and modelled content—structure, re-purposing, ease of discovery—and how might they constrict us.

Kate Towsey: An agile content case study: process, team, tools, and lessons

During 2012–13 Kate worked with a groundbreaking team to develop a new website presentation for the University of Surrey. Their process wasn’t stepped, it wasn’t even sprinted—instead they developed the architecture, the code base, the visual design and the content strategy over 6 months and all at the same time. In 5 minutes Kate will share the project process, the tools they used and, what she learned along the way.


• 6pm: Arrive, grab yourself a drink, order some food from our basement bar.

• 6:30pm: Lightning talks start (first half).

• 7:15pm: Break (grab another drink.)

• 7:30pm: Lightning talks start (second half.)

• 8:20pm: Lightning talks end.

• 8:30pm - 10pm: Drinks and informal networking. Stick around to meet the speakers and chat to your fellow agile content enthusiasts.

What you can expect

Check out these talks from our June 2013 lightning talks event.

Our venue: The Book Club

We’re delighted to be back at The Book Club in Shoreditch, which is hip, intimate, and friendly, all at the same time.

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