At the end of the sandpit, I closed proceeding by what at the time was an aspiration of the three things that I hoped that attendees might have got out of the event:
– an improved network,
– increased insight, and possibly
– involvement in an exciting project.
One-to-one feedback sessions with attendees confirmed to me that the attendees had actually got these things out of the event and that it wasn’t just self-publicity; but they genuinely gained and learnt from the experience.
Firstly, no-one knew everybody going into the sandpit and most people were lucky to know up to half of the attendees. Hence, as a minimum attendees got an improved network out of the event. I am absolutely certain that one of the three resultant projects from the sandpit itself was from a consortium who wouldn’t have met without the sandpit. The composition from the second team was also certainly added to, as a result of the mixing up at the sandpit. However, improved networking is not enough of a reason to hold a sandpit ……
The second tangible benefit is all about improved insight. Each attendee is looking into the world “from their own drinking straw” and doesn’t see the whole picture. A large proportion of attendees fed back to me that they came away with a broader and sometimes substantially different viewpoint on the future of their market-place. For instance, one attendee from my sandpit took tangible steps the week of returning from the sandpit to find out more about one of the main themes emerging from the sandpit – the impact that the whole Web 2.0 (and user-generated content) phenomenon will have on the transport industry and in particular on the provision of traveler information.
Some lucky people will walk away from the sandpit involved in exciting collaborative projects. Let me tell you more about those exciting projects which the TSB chose to fund later in this blog. However, perhaps even more interesting are the collaborations and projects which spin-off from the sandpit, where the attendees don’t bother to come and get funding off Government but just want to press on anyway. We had those as well ….