PSNGB "Groovy Boots" video story

This is the story of the production of this video. Foden Grealy (under our Eggvids banner) produced the video for the PSNGB - the industry association for the Public Services Network. It explains in about two minutes what the PSN is and what the PSNGB is doing to make it successful.

Summary of what happened...

7 May - Neil Mellor - a director of PSNGB approached us. 8 May - Eggvid man Mark Hainge and I had a half-hour telephone discussion with Neil and Stuart Higgins - another PSNGB Director. We explained our approach (see pic below). 7 June - The four of us had a 3-hour flipchart session to work out what should be in the video. It was an excellent interactive session where we ended up with the bones of the story. 14 June - We produced a full-length rough & ready first version of the video, which Neil and Stuart provided feedback on. They liked the overall style and the way we put over the main messages; they also gave us a list of revisions to consider and some ideas about the humour (which is where the "groovy boots" came from). They also asked us if we could get the video ready for the PSN annual conference on 25 June. 21 June - We produced an improved version that was discussed by the board of PSNGB. It was approved with a few changes. 23 June - We produced the final version (after a couple of late-nighters). 25 June - The video was shown at the PSN Summit.

This production went smoothly. Neil and Stuart were great to work with (the reason it went smoothly) and were keen to participate - it felt like an interaction rather than a transaction. I'd say that it would be near-impossible to produce a video like this in a transactional way from a traditional written brief. The humour, always a potential sticking point, came easily with some super suggestions from the PSNGB folk.

I was at the first showing of the video at the PSN Summit yesterday. There was laugher, spontaneous applause and many positive comments.

We wish the PSNGB and the PSN huge success.

More info

More stuff about the video and its production.


We work iteratively. Here is a pic we used to explain our approach to Neil and Stuart...

Eggvids iterative way
Eggvids iterative way


This was the output of the flip-chart session. Scientific, this...

PSNGB video flip-chart
PSNGB video flip-chart


PSNGB We are the industry association for the Public Services Network

The GB bit originally meant Governing Body but we aren't one Instead, think of Growing Benefits, Government Betterment, General Blossoming, Any of those

Our members are companies supplying either the PSN, or the services delivered over it,

So, the PSN itself Public Services Network

It's a computer network. Think of it as a house-trained version of the Internet for the public sector.

Any organisation providing public services can connect to it.

It replaces a whole lot of terribly disparate network wherewithal from the past that made it very hard for people in government to do internetty things.

Most public sector organisations are on it now and are shifting their services across from existing networks like the GSI (God bless them and all who sailed in them).

Of course there's box ticking and IT faffing about involved but we are getting to the end of that.

The PSN will carry the services that existed before but the important thing is it's not just a replacement network, it is a jolly sturdy foundation that some people call a platform for building all sorts of completely new stuff . Like...

Organising public services around citizens by linking the operations of different departments Or... Enabling third parties to create new dead-funky services that no one has thought of yet Or... Making it possible for people in the public sector to use the latest technologies to work flexibly Hurrah!

And this totally new stuff will bring new ways of working, new communication, new policy, new support, new procurement, new structures, new management, new thoughts and new almost anything else you can think of

PSN can change the shape of government

Which brings us back to the PSNGB:

Yes, we'll do the usual industry association things: standards, technical palaver, all that helping suppliers to get their boxes ticked and their faffing faffed helping customers to get with the right suppliers

But we've got a bigger ambition. We want to do our bit to enable this change We want to connect people, spark ideas and make a genuine contribution to the reshaping of government

Right nuff said.

PSN, GB The industry association for the PSN... bringing Great Bounty and Glittering Breakthroughs So, fill your Groovy Boots.

Video - The future of local government services

A new video... The future of local government services

It was made with Anthony Kemp of London Borough of Hounslow and Mark Thompson of Methods to support an event - called "#HashHounslow" - which was a discussion between local and central government managers about shifting to more customer-centric services using cloud technologies. See the Computer Weekly write-up.


Right! Here we go: 4 minutes on future of local government services

Meet Martin Gaffer, Chief Executive, Citytown Council.

He and his team have been jolly busy lately. “Gosh we’ve been jolly busy lately”, says Martin

And they have been. Councils have been working hard to improve services. But this is a slog. Technology is a big part of the problem and frankly the council piggy bank has been taking a bit of a pasting.

I’ll explain Here is Citytown Council Delivering services to local people It’s one of hundreds in the country All doing the same kinds of things

Look inside Here’s are Citytown’s major services Housing, Children, Adults, Environment, Public Health

Let’s wind back to Environment... It is itself a collection of services, say: Development, Waste, Parks, Cleaning

In one way or another these all depend on technology Usually separate, proprietary technologies that are not very flexible and not easy to join up.

Looking at just one of these services. It’s made up of components... doing very similar things to the components of the other services. Things like Case Management, Mapping, Addresses, Payments and so on.

Usually only a small part is specific to the council’s own way of doing things.

Look at it all together. There’s quite a lot of costly stuff that could be more effective.

Now, Martin’s been thinking. Here’s a picture of Martin thinking.

What if were possible somehow to group the common tasks together. Putting all the red bits - lets say case management - one technology. Then the blue stuff - maybe mapping. Similarly with the green bits and the yellow bits.

Not only that, what if it were possible to group these, not just across a single council’s services but across all councils.

And perhaps we could find ways to put those specific, unique bits of the councils service together too.

So, this is where Martin’s Head of IT comes in. Meet Steve Techyman. Yes he does look a bit potty, but he knows his stuff; and he’s got good ideas.

“I think I know how to do this”, says Steve

And I think he’s right. It’s now becoming possible to access computing capabilities over the internet and to knit them together to create better services without many of the restrictions of traditional technology.

“Cloud”, shouts Steve

Which is quite a popular thing to shout nowadays. Many technology companies are getting involved. All of the big ones. lots of medium-sized ones and gazillions of small ones.

Together providing a rainbow of capabilities and funky new ways of doing things. At - much - lower - cost, than now.

Councils can package together whatever combination of these technologies they need Steve cos he’s a tech bloke, gives this a name - “platform”.

Whatever, the good thing is - this could make a huge difference for residents..

Here’s a Cynthia a Citytown resident.

Using Steve’s platform thingy the council can knit her just the services she needs

And knit different services for Cynthia’s son Cyril And also for Cyril’s mate Aziz And Aziz’s cousin Issi And Issi’s friend Lizzy And perhaps even knit a bobble hat for Steve

And there’s another thing... says Steve

This will change what council staff do. Because they will be less burdened with running the council machine and gluing its non-joined up bits together, they will be able to focus more on providing vital people-facing services that machines just can’t.

And there’s another another-thing... says Steve

This doesn’t have to be restricted to the council - It will be possible to knit in other services like... Health, Police, Charities, and Third Sector organisations

So… ...Councils all over the country could turn from deliverers of a standard set of services for all residents to providers of exactly what each resident needs.

All this enabled by new technology platforms made from bits of cloud.

OK. Hands up. All this does mean big changes in technology and in ways of working; and it certainly won’t happen overnight. But there are big prizes...

Better, more responsive, services, more openness, people more connected, increased growth, maybe even improved democracy.

Which is nice... Martin is showing signs of making friends with his piggbank. And steve’s so chuffed... he’s phoned his Mum

And that… as they say it

Video - How new technology will change the mechanics of government services

Lately, I have had some blank looks from Mrs Foden when I have been talking about my work, particularly about how new technology ('cloud' computing et al) will alter the workings of government. I thought I'd have a shot, with the able help of John McCubbin, at a simple explanation in this video... How new technology will change the mechanics of government services (in plainish English)

There was a positive reaction to it, including...

See other reactions from folk like Mike Bracken, Liam Maxwell in this Storify.

Using this video

You are free use this video and its content according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. If you feel you might want to go beyond these terms then please do get in touch.

In attributing the work you must make it plain that the ideas and rights belong to me - Mark Foden. Where material based on the ideas in the video is displayed on a website you must provide a plainly and continuously visible link to this page. Where it is presented in media - such as videos, images or slide presentations - the text "Mark Foden -" must be plainly and continuously visible.

Not a condition but if you do use this material I would really appreciate it if you let me know how it has been useful to you.

Foden Grealy and G-Cloud III in 60 seconds

This post was originally an announcement on - Changes in Foden Grealy explains why it is here. ---


We are delighted to hear this week that our services have been accepted for the G-Cloud III Cloudstore. The 60 second video above explains what we do and was inspired by the G-Cloud in 60 seconds video we made for the G-Cloud programme in 2012.