A bit about our speakers - Catherine Howe
Posted on: 26 June 2012 by: Carl Haggerty - No Comments
Continuing our speaker series – we’d like to introduce Catherine Howe – Chief Executive of Public-i.
Public-i have been working with the Public Sector since 2000, responding to the new opportunities the internet presented to Local Authorities for re-engaging with their citizens. Public-i recognised the increasing democratic deficit meant a new approach would be needed to facilitate improved interaction and engagement with citizens.
As the leading supplier of e-participation products and services to the public sector Public-i continue to innovate and challenge thinking.
Catherine is an expert in social media and eDemocracy, with a background in technology delivery. She has worked with online communities and social networking tools for more than 15 years.
Initially developing learning applications at the London Business School, she was founder director of Etribes.com – an online community consultancy, which specialised in working with third sector organisations such as Christian Aid, YMCA and YHA. Catherine has worked with local government in the UK since 2001, looking at ways of using new technologies to deliver innovative democracy and engagement projects. She explores the tensions between formal and informal participation, and online and offline engagement.
As well as working in the UK, she also leads European project work. Her research interest is the social impact of Web 2.0 tools in a democratic context and the creation of online civic spaces. She is currently writing up her doctoral thesis on the civic impacts of new technologies. You can read more about that on her blog:
A regular speaker at conferences and events, Catherine is also a highly experienced consultant and workshop facilitator.
When asked about why Open Space South West is a must attend event and needs to develop beyond the other unConference events, she said:
“I do think we need to see if we can make this kind of event work a bit harder and accommodate not just the new people who get so much from being exposed to a different way of working but also to create the space for longer standing ideas and projects to be worked on and extended. I also think we need to try and ensure that we expose more senior decision makers to this kind of event. The need for social innovation in the public sector is huge – and we have to start working together more effectively across sectors and across organisations if we are going to start putting together some of the bigger projects that we will need to make significant change happen.
This question of working across boundaries is something which I think is critical to creating change and to the way in which we start to develop new kinds of relationships between citizens and state. I think this blurring of boundaries is a defintive element of the network society.
Events like Open Spaces South West should help to break down boundaries and create spaces for people to lead”