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What the rise of the trillion dollar tech company means for policymakers 0

The ascent of Amazon and Apple into the trillion dollar valuation club is a landmark corporate achievement. Together, these two firms are worth as much as the annual gross domestic products of Spain and Switzerland combined. But, beyond the accolades, what does the rise of these digital titans mean for policymakers? One key challenge is that a borderless...

Public service in Canada’s North: An interview with Dr. Janet King 0

George Ross, editor in chief of Canadian Government Executive spoke with Dr. Janet King, president of Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency about public service in Canada’s North. Here is the full interview. Janet, when I looked over your bio, I think its fair to say you have a remarkable background and set of experiences. You are a trained geologist, and...

Sustaining Progress 0

In the 5th century BC, Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. The governor’s transitional problem was how to maintain what had been gained. At the threshold of a renewed covenant, the people of Israel needed different leadership ideas and skills. Being of service, value, and impactful meant transitioning from the leader as catalyst-designer-motivator-entrepreneur to the...

Immigration 2.0: What Role Will Cities Play? 0

Canada’s international reputation for welcoming and integrating newcomers is unparalleled. At a time when much of the world seems intent on pulling itself apart over disputes around immigration and placing formidable barriers in the path of newcomers, Canada is raising its immigration levels. In November 2017, Ahmed D. Hussen, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and...

Alert? What alert? 0

Tornado warnings broadcast a few weeks ago in Eastern Ontario and parts of Quebec are being praised for saving lives. But, as is too often the case in the high-tech world, people who didn’t receive the warning are being told they have themselves to blame. Emergency alerts in Canada have traditionally suffered from inadequate last-mile...

EP 53: The practice and challenges of Enterprise Performance Management 0

In this episode of CGE Radio, J. Richard Jones talks with Suzanne Nickerson, National Lead for Defence Sector at KPMG in Canada; Partner, Management Consulting and Linda Lizotte-MacPherson, who held a number of deputy minister positions in the federal government from 2005 to 2016. These included President of the Canada Border Services Agency, President of the...

Innovating social services in Canada by giving clients greater choice, control, and flexibility 0

Everyone wants to change, become more efficient, and drive better value – all code for greater cost savings. But one important global trend in social services delivery that is only just starting to be investigated in Canada is that of providing greater choice and control to the client. True transformation in the sector For all...

Evaluation and Government Decision-Making 0

The Canadian federal government has had an internal program evaluation system in place for over 35 years. Virtually all departments and agencies with budgets over one billion dollars have an evaluation unit that regularly examines the relevance and performance of their programs. Of the federal organizations with smaller budgets, about half appear to have a...

 

 

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Bookshelf with Harvey Schachter
 
A few years back, consultants with ghSMART told us the biggest question we face is “who”: Picking staff is our most important decision, even more critical than “what” – the strategy we will employ. These days, in an era in which purpose is prized, “why” can often be the biggest question. But recently, best-selling author...
 
At work, we are often trying to satisfy a bundle of expectations, which can be boiled down to those expectations we place upon ourselves and those placed by others. In government, of course, those outer expectations can be powerful, handed down from the public, the minister, and our immediate boss. But we all react differently,...
 
We learned in grade school that one plus one equals two, but when we are faced with two choices in decision-making – and usually decisions end up framed around two possibilities — our approach might be described as one versus one equals one. We discard the lesser choice and move on with the better one....
 
Did your high school valedictorian go on to achieve greatness? High schools select their valedictorians because they show promise and exemplify the best the school has to offer. So it’s not unreasonable for us to expect them to achieve great things. Many achieve success in their future careers. But greatness tends to be rare. And...
 
Yogi Berra, Maurice (The Rocket) Richard, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, and Derek Jeter. Five elite athletes who led championship teams. However, there’s a difference between them – a critical difference – that could be important to government executives seeking to be more effective at work. Three of those stars – Berra, Richard, and Russell –...
 
Radical candour sounds rather outré as a prescription for government executives. Careful caution is often the norm. But consultant Kim Scott believes candor is critical for relationships and internal organizational communications. And if that doesn’t convince you, her new book, Radical Candor, still has some terrific ideas to improve your weekly schedule of meetings and...
 
Innovation is prized and praised these days at work, even in government. We are supposed to relish creative change. But what if the reality is that humans instinctively reject such change? Jennifer Mueller, a social psychologist at the University of San Diego who has focused on creativity, is making waves with her claim that our...
 
Leading the Unleadable By Alan Willett Your team probably includes some difficult people. You may not have chosen them – they could have been inherited – but they are your responsibility, even if at times you don’t know what to do. Should you shunt them off onto a project? Chastise them in public? Ignore the...
 
If you want to learn from mistakes in how to handle an interview, you could take a lesson from Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Edward Kennedy, and Alexander Haig. The three public figures all had celebrated careers. But each also had one moment when they badly flubbed an interview. Jimmy Carter admitted to Playboy he had...
 
As understanding of social behaviour increases through intensified research, many government executives are learning about the art of nudging. Governments are establishing nudge units to encourage the citizenry to adopt desired behaviours and, less formally, ministries are trying other routes than laws and regulations to get results....
 
We curse meetings, but they are essential to today’s collaborative leadership approach. We may long to eliminate them – and no doubt some could be trimmed – but the bigger issue is to make the ones we have more effective. Richard Lent, a Boston-area consultant who has spent 25 years trying to improve his meetings,...
 
Government is replete with silos. Like the weather, everyone complains about them but nobody does much to change it. And if they try, they often find the silos sturdier than expected. That’s why Gillian Tett’s The Silo Effect is an interesting book for government executives. Primarily about business, it still includes government, which is rare...
 
Words, words, words. Blah, blah, blah. Our days – our work lives – are punctuated by a sea of words. We use words to communicate. We use words to not communicate. We use words to share our ideas, to propel our innovation. Think of a recent meeting and you’ll likely think of blah, blah, blah....
 
Government executives are writers. Maybe not like Margaret Atwood or Joseph Boyden, but they pound out words every day themselves on their keyboard, in emails, memos, and other missives. Unfortunately, a lot of what they write is crap—poorly composed, jammed with jargon, and designed in parts, perhaps large parts, to obfuscate in order to avoid...
 
Gladwell made Anders Ericsson famous—or, at least, his research work. A professor of psychology at Florida State University, Ericsson conducted the study of violinists that the best-selling journalist glamourized in his book Outliers, imprinting on our consciousness that 10,000 hours of practice will make you a master at whatever task you devote such attention to....
 
Every evening, Marshall Goldsmith pays an associate to call and ask a series of questions about his behaviour that day. As a high-profile executive coach, he knows how difficult it is for top leaders to cleanse themselves of destructive behaviours. He makes his clients accountable to the people around them in order to heighten the...
 
Let’s resume last month’s discussion on effective change initiatives with some popcorn. Specifically, an experiment some psychologists dreamed up in which they handed a soft drink and a free bucket of popcorn to everyone arriving at a suburban Chicago movie theatre in 2000 to catch a Mel Gibson flick. It may sound like a good...
 
David Dingwall is familiar to many government executives for his role in the Chrétien government where he held several cabinet posts, from public works to health. He later became a government executive himself, presiding over the Royal Canadian Mint, improving operations to the point the organization secured its first surplus in a number of years....
 
Are you an undermanager? We’ve all been warned not to overmanage – become a hen-pecking, micro-manager, obsessing about details, instead of delegating wisely. But consultant Bruce Tulgan believes the opposite, under-management, is epidemic. Indeed, he insists it’s hiding in plain sight, but we don’t notice. “It is so often what’s going wrong in so many...
 
A leader’s job is to illuminate the path ahead. It’s vital to keep employees engaged and aligned with end goals on every project you undertake. And that challenge might be made easier–illuminated for you–by presentations specialist Nancy Duarte, who developed former U.S. vice-president Al Gore’s powerful climate change slide show, and colleague Patti Sanchez in...
 
Ottawa’s Chris Bailey turned down a number of attractive job offers after university graduation in favour of something even more attractive: Figure out how to be productive. It was a personal Odyssey, as he tested the ideas peddled by productivity gurus to see what worked and what didn’t, and added his own twists. The result...
 
At the height of World War Two, a clever scheme was developed to disrupt the Nazi regime behind enemy lines in occupied territory without being detected. It involved a variety of obvious tactics such as slashing tires and draining fuel tanks but also included some unusual ideas to sabotage internal workplace processes. Those might seem...
 
Leadership BS By Jeffrey Pfeffer Harper Business, 259 pages, $36.99 If you think that much of what you read and hear from leadership gurus is BS, you have a supporter in Jeffrey Pfeffer. At first glance he’s an unlikely backer since he’s a leadership guru himself. But he’s a professor of organizational behaviour at the...
 
If you want to improve your management procedures, search Google. No, don’t put those words in the search engine’s magical white slot. Instead read Laszlo Bock’s Work Rules. The head of Google’s people function shares insights gleaned from the company’s rapid growth and its many experiments with different procedures, to see what works best. Of...
 
Mentoring can be one of the most critical – as well as challenging and rewarding – tasks we undertake in the workplace. Sometimes it’s formal. Sometimes it’s informal. But always, when effective, it’s important....
 
In recent years, it has been customary for government – and government executives – to be looked down upon, while business has been exalted. Somebody who hasn’t succumbed is management guru Henry Mintzberg....
 
Many studies have shown that women are socialized to fit in, not stand out. But fitting in can leave you a follower, forever. To advance at work, you need to be noticed. You need to stand out....
 
In 1994 psychiatrist Edward Hallowell coined the term “attention deficit trait” to describe a common problem he saw emerging in the workplace: The tendency to hop from task to task in a rush, without proper focus on what people were doing or should be doing....
 
Leaders motivate. They nudge and cajole staff into inspired work, wielding monetary incentives when required, at least in the private sector. Without motivation, employees might wither and certainly wouldn’t shine. That’s a basic premise of leadership and managerial thinking. And it’s dead wrong…...
 
When you think of creativity and innovation in government, John Lennon and Paul McCartney probably don’t spring to mind. Neither worked in government and, indeed, they were anti-establishment types who you can imagine sneering at “government bureaucrats.”...
 
You can’t appear for your important presentations in a black turtleneck and jeans like Steve Jobs did. And you don’t have alluring electronic gizmos to talk about. So suggesting you might learn from the presentation approach of the hallowed Apple pitchman might seem ludicrous....
 
We know feedback is good for us. We know it can help us improve. But receiving feedback can often be difficult. We tense up, even get irked or angry. Only part of the message, or perhaps none of it, slips through, as we slide into defensive mode....
 
Leaders need to know how to inspire and manage, and have a solid understanding of the policy field in which they operate. But that’s not enough....
 
As I rush-rush-rush through the day, I occasionally remember the notion of “cool time” from a book published 12 years ago by Toronto time management consultant Steve Prentice....
 
Before a presentation, uncertainty and fear can lead us to try to include all the information required to answer all the questions recipients might have. There’s also a temptation to pack in as much detail as possible, to show the extent of our research, knowledge, and hard work in preparing....
 
Much has been written about decision-making in recent years, as we learn more about how the brain works and behavioural economists devise experiments to understand how we approach choice. But much of it could lead us astray…...
 
Elections can bring a change of government. They certainly bring a change in the face of government, as some ministers lose their re-election bid and others are shuffled by the returning prime minister....
 
Evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould warned that “the most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question.” He was referring to sacred cows, beliefs that don’t stand up to scrutiny and lead us astray if clung to zealously....
 
Governments monitor monetary inflation, and have kept it in check in recent years. But there’s another inflation, rampant, that isn’t monitored and walloping all of us: communications inflation. Technology allows us to connect – and communicate – in a host of ways not available to us just a few years ago, let alone a couple...
 
The dramatic clandestine rescues by Navy SEALs and their daring raid on Osama Bin Laden’s lair may make their work seem a world apart from that of government executives. But in their 2003 book Leadership Lessons of the Navy SEALs, advertising executive Jeff Cannon and his brother, Lt. Cmdr. Jon Cannon…...
 
If you can be a better leader through healthy living, the key to success in your job may lie in three words: Eat, move, sleep. Certainly Tom Rath believes they are important. And Rath, a Gallup researcher, has offered cogent advice before to government executives, in his writings on using their strengths at work and...
 
Finding mentors has been one of the holy grails of career progression, hammered into us by innumerable career consultants and the lessons of our own career. Yet now, someone is telling us to forget them....
 
Today, when emotional intelligence is treasured, Sherlock Holmes would seem like a poor role model for government executives. The man lived in his mind and seemed remote from humanity. He could get enmeshed in a drug stupor or sidetracked by some obscure experiment or offbeat intellectual interest. Definitely not the model for modern, progressive governance....
 
No. The word jars us. Just two letters, but it makes us decidedly uncomfortable. In the workplace, Yes is the golden word, the winning word, the expected word that garners plaudits....
 
Our days are a series of decisions, some minor, some medium, some major – and the occasional one humungous. It might seem daunting to think of your day in that fashion, since it’s obviously hard to get every decision right....
 
Presentations make the world go round, particularly in government. Unfortunately, too many of them are ineffective. Incomprehensible graphics, too much text, and garbled messages....
 
Your first instinct might be to deny it, but you are probably a salesperson. Most government executives are, even if the public service is seen as galaxies away from the grubby world of commerce and sales....
 
Getting subordinates to take responsibility in the appropriate situation can be a mind-boggling pursuit. Often we find ourselves lurching into frustrating tugs of war, where they take more responsibility than we want and then take absolutely no responsibility when we are hoping – and perhaps insisting – they do....
 
To improve your job performance and prepare for promotions, should you work on your strengths or weaknesses? What about your subordinates? In getting the best performance from them, should you prod them to enhance their strengths, or shore up or eliminate weaknesses?...
 
We seek success in our daily endeavours. But it’s often through failure that we can learn best....
 
We seek success in our daily endeavours. But it’s often through failure that we can learn best....
 
As the World Bank in the 1990s was preparing for a major transformation to mark its 50th anniversary, consultants Chris McGoff and Michael Doyle met to discuss the plan developed…...
 
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A few years back, consultants with ghSMART told us the biggest question we face is “who”: Picking staff is our most important decision, even more critical than “what” – the strategy we will employ. These days, in an era in which purpose is prized, “why” can often be the biggest question. But recently, best-selling author...
Digital Governance with Jeffrey Roy
 
A decade ago as a Presidential candidate, then-Senator Obama was asked how he intended to pay for his signature promise of expanding health care coverage to all Americans. A frequent response was to invoke new technologies and the digitization of healthcare records as a source of significant savings. Such is the contrast between campaigning and...
 
As governments have sought to go digital, one of the most common barriers stymying progress in many jurisdictions is that of privacy – and the protection of personal and otherwise sensitive information. Despite the rhetoric of open government and information and data sharing within the public sector, the reality is a good deal more complex....
 
Cultivating more intelligent government has long been a hallmark of public sector reform, as more agile and learning-based forms of governance are essential to innovation. The rise of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is an extension of this logic – albeit with one important difference. In place of human ingenuity, the machines take charge. Well, perhaps not...
 
As the world grows more digital – and increasingly mobile – workforce development inside of government and digital literacy across all of society are interrelated challenges facing all countries. Government’s threefold task is to: first, nurture new skill sets for its own employee base (comprising multiple and distinct demographic segments); second, innovate and incentivize the...
 
The Trudeau Government’s decision, in August 2017, to split the Indigenous Affairs Ministerial portfolio offers a potentially important inflection point in Canadian Westminster governance. Although skeptics have good reasons to be concerned that such a move is mere political window dressing and, worse yet, could yield the creation of two underlying and eventually even more...
 
As the Liberal’s assumed office, three big democratic reform ideas were floated: electoral reform, e-voting, and mandatory voting. The second and third were never seriously entertained – swatted away by the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform. The first quickly became a quagmire due largely to the Government’s own failures in process design....
 
The promise of web 2.0 was the emergence of a user-driven Internet where content was produced organically through online engagement, notably via social media. The simultaneous rise of big data reflected a similar trend: extracting value from the patterns of user interactions, transactions, and contributions. The enthusiasm for web 3.0 is pinned on connected and...
 
In recent months, Canadians have borne witness to a new cycle in the perennial spectacle of federal – provincial negotiations on health care. The federal government dangled new funding for items deemed high priority, notably mental health and homecare. As always, consistent with constitutional dictates, the provincial stance was to seek new funds while rejecting new...
 
The last few months have showed a complex and potentially ominous relationship between digital content and community engagement. While Netflix announced stellar results in October (the result of a relentless global expansion), Shomi, the Rogers and Shaw domestic on-demand service was abruptly shut down. In November, Canadian Heritage ended its public consultations on the digital...
 
The arrival of President Trump in the White House marks a new and potentially ominous phase in the evolution of digital government, one reflective of Mr. Trump and an emerging world order that may be less open and less democratic. Along with consequences for the United States, there are wider implications for the world. It...
 
In 2001, the OECD published The Hidden Threat to E-Government. The first line summarized the essence of that threat: “Most governments experience problems when implementing large IT projects.” Alas, fifteen years later, the Phoenix payroll debacle in the Government of Canada brings to mind the old adage: plus ca change… The impacts of Phoenix have...
 
As team Trudeau would tell it, this past summer saw spirited barbeques and campfires with gathered Canadians debating the wisdom and perils of alternative voting models. Presuming, however, that enthusiasm was more tempered, it has largely fallen to a Parliamentary Committee to consult and devise a path toward 2019 for electoral reform....
 
The fact that Shared Services Canada (SSC) has struggled mightily under the weight of its immense agenda is hardly news: press reports and a recent Auditor General report weigh heavily in this regard. In this outlet, Patrice Dutil’s recent and insightful interview with the President of SSC, Ron Parker underscored the breadth of the challenges...
 
In January, the BBC and BuzzFeed jointly released an exposé on gambling in tennis, aptly titled “The Tennis Racket.” The year’s inaugural grand slam, the Australian Open, thus featured action both on and off the court as pundits and players alike debated the seriousness of the problem and the future of the sport. At the...
 
Professors are obliged to set regular weekly office hours, something most students today find rather quaint. It’s often a time to catch up on email or chat with colleagues, awaiting clients that never arrive. During one such recent occasion, a colleague was bemoaning this loss of real-time interaction, noting that the Internet’s efficiency in sharing...
 
That the new Liberal Government has embraced ‘open government’ is hardly surprising. President Obama promised much the same in 2008 (passing an inaugural Openness Directive early in 2009), as did Stephen Harper in 2006 with his post-Gomery Federal Accountability Act (an uncomfortable lesson for Liberals, as Ontarians know well, is that scandal is fertile breeding...
 
In 2011, the World Economic Forum presented its vision of a future government creating public value as F-A-S-T: flatter, agile, streamlined, and technology-enabled. While governments at all levels now embrace these elements to varying degrees, such logic also applies to the functioning of our public sector holistically. In this regard, the election of the Trudeau...
 
In late July, Amazon startled investors with the tiniest of profit. The next day, its market capitalization surpassed that of Walmart. Despite strong growth year after year, Wall Street had grumpily grown accustomed to bottom-line losses, most recently anticipating a second quarterly shortfall of 14 cents per share. Instead, Amazon revealed gains of 19 per...
 
With a seemingly ubiquitous Internet and mobile devices at every turn, it is tempting for governments to view online channels as not merely an option but as the preferred means of interacting with citizens and companies....
 
At the end of November, the Council of Europe hosted the second World Democracy Forum, with this iteration examining digital democracy (or e-democracy) and its evolution across both developed and developing nations....
 
For the casual observer, openness and transparency are terms that can conjure up confusion in recent times. On the one hand, governments at all levels are striving to develop open data and open government strategies, lauding the benefits of information sharing and crowd-sourced innovation....
 
At stake is the evolving apparatus enjoining Canadians with the information and services provided by all government levels across all types of delivery channels....
 
Faced with the Newtown tragedy, President Obama has sought to make gun control a signature issue at the outset of his second term....
 
The now, seemingly distant 2012 holiday season proved to be fertile ground for advocates of a cashless society and new ways to virtualize payments – and eventually your wallet....
 
In 2008, President Obama refashioned American politics for a more digital age, leveraging the Internet to both engage volunteers and raise money in a novel and unprecedented manner....
 
As governments seek transformational change to shift from austerity to agility, there is much enthusiasm for social media as a platform for renewal....
 
In recent months, Apple and Samsung have been clobbering one another in court rooms around the world....
 
During the month of October tens of millions of viewers will tune into three presidential debates, and maybe a fourth between vice-presidential candidates....
 
For Egyptians and Mexicans, this past summer showcased the imperfections of democracy....
 
With the federal public service in a state of budgetary retrenchment, for many managers the focus is understandably on the here and now. Yet, there has never been a more important time to think longer term about the government of tomorrow…...
 
Do we read books anymore? Travel on airplanes or trains these days and the evidence is mixed. While books are now rivalled by on-demand television and personal devices offering movies, games, and who knows what else, a respectable cadre of passengers still board with book in hand....
 
In February, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced the formation of a bilateral working group to explore ways to deepen cooperation pertaining to border security and public safety....
 
Is there reason to hope? Once again, the federal government has pledged to empower staff and simplify rules in search of a more innovative public service....
 
Au moment où s’amorce la présidence d’Obama, les spéculations vont bon train sur le genre de dirigeant qu’il sera : sera-t-il un chef dur et tranchant dans ses décisions, ou favorisera-t-il l’écoute et la consultation?...
 
As the Obama Presidency begins, there is much speculation as to what kind of leader will emerge: tough and decisive, or more compromising and deliberative?...
 
A strange paradox has emerged in the quest for Gov 2.0....
 
One of the peculiarities of the 21st century is the correlation between virtualization and urbanization: more people online on the one hand, and more of the population living in cities on the other hand....
 
When President Barack Obama campaigns during the coming months for re-election, odds are he will not be reviving one of his 2008 health reform pledges, namely that savings from e-health would help pay for universal coverage of all Americans....
 
As the iCloud takes hold – along with numerous other private, public and hybrid clouds – openness, interoperability and interdependence must be guiding principles for government action both within their jurisdictions and collectively across increasingly porous borders....
 
A new year is a good time to reflect on the relentless march of time and its close ally, our growing obsession with speed....
 
If only it were so. While Shared Services Canada promises simplicity – annual savings of hundreds of millions of dollars via consolidation and centralization – it instead faces enormous complexity....
 
The securing of a much-coveted majority by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives surely sets the stage for revolutionary changes in digital government. Or does it?...
 
The federal election campaign has not been particularly kind to cities and, by extension, the growing majority of Canadians who live in medium- to large-sized cities....
 
Despite the occasional ministerial tweet and public banter about the federal government’s imminent (always imminent) plans to expand the usage of social media, caution remains the order of the day....
 
More than a decade ago, some enterprising folks at Industry Canada produced a powerful PowerPoint depiction of online service and the potential for massive efficiency gains....
 
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are one of Canada’s most critical assets in a digital world, fighting cyber-crime and terrorism at home and abroad along with all of the functions and responsibilities that come with serving as the country’s only national police force....
 
Toronto’s new mayor, Rob Ford, has pledged to cut city council in half. Although such downsizing is unlikely to be realized (as politicians are understandably reluctant to vote themselves out of a job), the notion struck a chord with many Torontonians....
 
As BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion negotiates with many governments around the world over data access and security, it is perhaps timely to ask whether or not the BlackBerry has improved public sector operations here at home....
 
To start with a timeless question: what do woman want? Presumably, whatever else may be on their list, they want something approaching an equality of genders in society. Are we there yet? First, the good news: in Canada there is much encouragin...
 
One important consequence of climate change is rising ocean levels. The increases are gradual, imperceptible to most and yet potentially catastrophic for coastal communities and residents....
 
Shortly after the Quebec referendum of October 1995 that brought the country to the brink of a constitutional abyss, I recall encountering a graduate student from Sudan....
 
As this column goes to print (literally or online as the case may be), most readers are hopefully captivated by the Olympic spirit, as Canada showcases Vancouver and Whistler, not to mention our talented athletes, to the world....
 
Full disclosure – the Conservative government has serious problems with the Parliamentary Budgetary Officer, Kevin Page, and so do I....
 
Students of public administration struggle with an important contradiction of Westminster governance....
 
L’opération de promotion à laquelle l’Alberta s’est récemment livrée souligne les tensions et les risques inhérents aux communications gouvernementales aujourd’hui – les tensions entre l’ancien et le nouveau....
 
Alberta’s recent branding exercise underscores the tensions and risks inherent in government communications today – tensions between the old and the new....
 
La plupart des organismes se voient affecter des « directeurs des nouveaux médias » par l’administration Obama, afin d’élaborer des stratégies pour le Web 2.0 et de créer un gouvernement en ligne plus ouvert....
 
With Parliament once again open and a new federal budget in the offing, the political spotlight returns to Ottawa....
 
Two important global events are garnering much attention: the upcoming Winter Olympics and December’s global forum on climate change in Copenhagen....
 
The recent scandals plaguing Ontario’s e-health agency carry important lessons for the evolution of digital government and the challenges that lie ahead....
 
The Obama administration is appointing “Directors of New Media” for most agencies, to develop Web 2.0 strategies, and more open, online government....
 
Y a-t-il de l’espoir? Une fois de plus, le gouvernement fédéral s’est engagé à donner des moyens à son personnel et à simplifier les règles afin de favoriser l’émergence d’une fonctio...
 
Dans le numéro de janvier, Ruth Hubbard et David Zussman nous ont entretenus de l’importance de dire la vérité aux dirigeants....
 
In the January issue, Ruth Hubbard and David Zussman discussed the importance of speaking truth to power....
 
The past decade has given rise to tremendous experimentation in public sector service delivery....
 
If 2012 marks the surpassing of compact disks by digital music, equally profound changes are also on the horizon with respect to television....
A decade ago as a Presidential candidate, then-Senator Obama was asked how he intended to pay for his signature promise of expanding health care coverage to all Americans. A frequent response was to invoke new technologies and the digitization of healthcare records as a source of significant savings. Such is the contrast between campaigning and...
The Interview
 
George Ross, editor in chief of Canadian Government Executive spoke with Dr. Janet King, president of Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency about public service in Canada’s North. Here is the full interview. Janet, when I looked over your bio, I think its fair to say you have a remarkable background and set of experiences. You are a trained geologist, and...
 
Recently, CGE Editor-in-Chief George Ross sat down with Patrick Borbey, President of the Public Service Commission of Canada to talk about his role, priorities, leadership approach, the role that PSC can play in the reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people and more. Patrick Borbey was appointed President of the Public Service Commission in May 2017. He has held a number of...
 
In 2016, the community of Fort McMurray, Alberta, located in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB), was ravaged by a wildfire conjuring up images indelibly etched in the minds of all Canadians. The fire, which began in May of 2016 and raged on throughout much of the summer, burned up to 5,900 square kilometers and wasn’t finally extinguished until...
 
At the 2017 IPAC conference in Charlottetown, George Ross, Editor-in-Chief of CGE sat down with Marcia Nelson, Alberta’s Deputy Minister of the Executive Council, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Alberta Public Service. Ms. Nelson assumed her current role in April of 2016 and before that has had a distinguished career in Ontario and Alberta,...
 
Recently, George Ross, Editor-in-Chief of Candian Government Executive sat down with Hillary Hartley, Ontario’s Deputy Minister responsible for digital government. Here is the full interview. First, Hillary, I think CGE readers will be quite interested in your background and how you came to the mission of digitizing government: a daunting and perhaps unglamorous job. So...
 
Peter Wallace has been working in the public service for over thirty years. He joined the Ontario Public Service through the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and worked his way up the ranks. He served as Associate Secretary of Cabinet with responsibility for Policy in Cabinet Office, Deputy Minister of Energy, Deputy Minister of Finance...
 
An Interview with Joe Friday and Craig Dowden The Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (PSIC) has just released The Sound of Silence: Whistleblowing and the Fear of Reprisal, a white paper based on new research. Patrice Dutil, the Editor of Canadian Government Executive, exchanged with Joe Friday, the Commissioner of Public Sector Integrity...
 
There is a new buzz in policy circles. Advances in data analysis, the rising levels of computer literacy, and the new awareness of behavioural factors are combining with a stronger demand coming out of governments who must reconcile a scarcity of dollars with a demand for performance. CGE Editor Patrice Dutil discussed the new horizon...
 
In 2015, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) launched the Service Lab to respond to a recognized need for better government service experiences for Canadian businesses. Shereen Benzvy Miller, Assistant Deputy Minister of Small Business, Tourism and Marketplace Sector, led the charge. CGE Editor Patrice Dutil caught up with the Executive Director...
 
An Interview with Larry Ostola, Toronto’s Director of Museums and Heritage Services As Canada prepares to celebrate its Sesquicentennial in 2017, public servants from coast to coast are planning a variety of special events and commemorations, bringing out their best artifacts and using new technologies to help citizens discover and gain a greater appreciation for...
 
Is government doing a good job in providing services to Canadian businesses? In October, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (which represents 60,000 small businesses) published Obstacles and Opportunities: The Importance of Small Business in Ontario, and asked for a “regulatory concierge service” to make it easier for small business to deal with the three levels...
 
Mario Dion has been noted for the fresh approach he has brought to his office since his appointment as Chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), Canada’s largest independent administrative tribunal, in January 2015. Mr. Dion came to the IRB with almost 35 years in the federal public service. A Montréal native, Mr. Dion obtained a law...
 
Maureen O’Neil has been leading the CFHI since 2008, but she’s been fighting battles in the policy trenches with her signature energy and enthusiasm for decades. She most recently served as President of the International Development Research Centre, Interim President of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, President of the North-South Institute,...
 
The annual APEX Symposium, which is the largest gathering of federal executives of the Canadian Public Service, is being held at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa May 31 and June 1, 2016. This year’s program is aligned with the new Key Leadership Competencies and the new commitments in executive Performance Agreements. The President of the...
 
  The pressure is always on to make government services to the public and to the business community faster, more efficient, better and as inexpensive as possible. Patrice Dutil, the editor of CGE, connected with Nancy MacLellan, the President of the Institute for Citizen Centred Service (ICCS) to discuss what is on the innovation horizon....
 
This year is the “International Year of Evaluation”, an area that is still budding in the Canadian public sector. To discuss the state of the profession and of the practice of evaluation, CGE Editor Patrice Dutil caught up with Benoît Gauthier, President of the Canadian Evaluation Society. Gauthier has been an evaluator for more than...
 
Written by  Patrice Dutil Craig Dowden, President and Founder of Craig Dowden & Associates recently published Civility Matters! An Evidence-Based Review on How to Cultivate a Respectful Federal Public Service. His study was commissioned by the Association of Professional Executives (APEX). Patrice Dutil, the Editor of Canadian Government Executive, sat down with Dr. Dowden to...
 
A key factor driving success has been showcasing the value of the reverse mentorship model during the past three years....
 
This month’s blog features Andrew Treusch, Commissioner of Revenue and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This is Part 2 of our conversation (for Part 1, see below, Sept 17, 2014). Legacy of wisdom Reflecting on his years in the public service, Andrew shares what he sees as his legacy: When I...
 
CGE columnist David Zussman, Jarislowsky Chair in Public Sector Management in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, has published a new book, Off and Running: The Prospects and Pitfalls of Government Transitions in Canada....
 
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George Ross, editor in chief of Canadian Government Executive spoke with Dr. Janet King, president of Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency about public service in Canada’s North. Here is the full interview. Janet, when I looked over your bio, I think its fair to say you have a remarkable background and set of experiences. You are a trained geologist, and...
Transformation
 
The well-publicized scrap between Canada’s Auditor General and the Clerk of the Privy Council questioning if the climate of the public sector is broken got my interest. Research shows that a culture that supports new thinking is crucial for innovation. I do not know if the culture is broken, but there are weaknesses. While Canada’s...
 
Digital government transformation is a massive opportunity. Advanced technologies allow governments to create potential value across departments and agencies. Apps are becoming the common preference for many citizens. A change toward catering to citizen’s needs through online and mobile applications. On today’s show, J. Richard Jones interviews Jeff Smith. Jeff is COO, Global Advisory at...
 
Citizens are embracing technology as it rapidly changes. The experience that they are receiving from this adoption has created an expectation that they are looking for their government to meet. This demand from citizens is pushing governments to create personalized experiences for services similar to what citizens are getting through traditional means like shopping online....
 
Cultivating more intelligent government has long been a hallmark of public sector reform, as more agile and learning-based forms of governance are essential to innovation. The rise of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is an extension of this logic – albeit with one important difference. In place of human ingenuity, the machines take charge. Well, perhaps not...
 
We are excited to share with you the latest issue of Canadian Government Executive. In this issue, we have two interviews, one with Annette Antoniak, Chief Administrative Officer, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta and Janice Fukakusa, Chair of Canada Infrastructure Bank. Also, we are thrilled to announce a new section in CGE called Game...
 
Welcome to the era of Smart Cities where connectivity will drive your daily commute, where internet infrastructure will be as critical as any bridge, hospital or highway in guaranteeing a safe, accessible, healthy and prosperous community for you and your family. Technology and data will be the new tools for urban planners to improve the...
 
Federal efforts to increase the use of data to inform and improve services may soon cross paths with parallel efforts at the municipal level. Smart City strategies have been gaining momentum worldwide. A Smart City uses information and communication technology to manage a city’s assets, such as public transportation or power systems. Using sensors and...
 
Making a successful digital transformation is tough. It can be costly, confusing, and downright frustrating. However, digital transformations come in many different shapes, sizes and over varying timelines. Those in the tech world can get caught up in the “rip and replace” mindset, where the solution is to completely gut old infrastructure to make way...
 
Transforming the way services are provided by governments to match the extent people are interacting with technology is a top priority for any government. Citizens have come to expect and demand that their governments change with the rapid advancement of technology to equal the digital methods they are accustomed to in their everyday lives. This...
 
According to a recent McKinsey study there is a potential for a $4 trillion to $11 trillion economic impact in the year 2025 derived from Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Within that report up to $1.7 trillion of the estimate focuses on cities which includes public safety and health, traffic control, and resource management. In...
 
For policymakers around the world, Canada frequently leads the way on issues such as gender equality, migration or labour laws. In early childhood education though the country has less cause for celebration. An OECD study published in 2006 exposed Canada’s status as a “ policy laggard ”, ranked last of 14 countries in terms of expenditure on early childhood education and care...
 
The use of digital services in the day-to-day lives of most Canadians has quickly become the norm. Over 75 per cent of Canadians shop online, and 68 per cent of Canadians turn to online platforms for banking. These habits and expectations are increasingly common among brands and within the private sector, and as such, has a distinct impact on the expectation...
 
This year is proving to be an interesting one for all of us working in and with the governments across the country. On top of the inexorable and unrelenting pressures government executives face in carrying out their daily policy, regulatory and operational roles, this year we will see even more challenges caused by other factors....
 
As Executive Director of the UK’s Government Digital Service, Mike Bracken faced no easy task. He was charged with bringing all public services online – an undertaking he discovered would be made all the more difficult by Whitehall’s workplace culture. Government departments, he found, were stubbornly siloed, with no inclination to share information or collaborate...
 
For over two days at the end of January this year, over 20 speakers from government and industry shared the platform at TechGov 2018 to talk about Digital Transformation, Open Government, Citizen Engagement, Innovation for Results, Service Delivery and Technology and Change Management. TechGov is an event produced by Canadian Government Executive with the mandate to contribute...
 
Canadian Government Executive (CGE) media team is excited to announce a keynote by Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada at its TechGov Executive Leadership Summit in Ottawa. In the rapidly changing world, Tech Gov 2018 has been conceptualized to empower leaders and executives of industry, government and public sector. This two-day conference,...
 
For many years now, the buzz in government has been around digital transformation. A technological metamorphosis is a must for any government, so as to deliver greater value to its citizens. But this change, even though it has been proclaimed for many years, and in different quarters within government, has been one that was met...
 
In this episode, CGE radio show host J. Richard Jones speaks with a renowned international expert on digital government, Dr. Julia Glidden, General Manager, Global Government Industry, IBM Corporation. In this insightful interview, hear why digital transformation is such a passion of Dr. Glidden’s. Learn about lessons learned from governments around the world who have...
 
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This quote from management specialist Peter Drucker should be the mantra for every senior executive. It communicates a simple, yet essential idea: No new strategy will survive within a corporate culture that is risk-averse, resistant to change or simply protective of the status quo. If you want to embrace change...
 
On a recent visit to Ottawa, I had the opportunity to sit down with some of Canada’s top public service executives to find out what’s on their mind and to discuss CGE. These meetings reinforced what I’ve been hearing from executives and managers at all levels across the country. Namely, with the rapid onset of...
 
Today, the challenges facing governments are increasingly shifting away from traditional, simple problems to those that are more complex and interconnected. At the same time, fiscal constraints and a growing demand from citizens for core services seem to have become a constant in government operations. Although resources are increasingly limited, citizens still have expectations and...
 
Does your organization have a very narrow view of what digital means in today’s economy? If so, then your agency may be losing out on the opportunity to unlock the true value of its digital assets. Overall, Canadians are upbeat about the principles of digital strategy. As many as seven out of 10 executives in...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is pleased to welcome Microsoft as its Platinum Sponsor for its inaugural TechGov Forum, which will take place on November 7-8 in Ottawa. “We are pleased to announce that Microsoft, a leader in enabling digital transformation in government, will join us this year as our Platinum Sponsor of our annual forum,” said John Jones,...
 
Canadian government agencies and departments are modernizing the way they do business with staff, suppliers, and citizens. Going digital – eliminating paper-based processes – is an important strategy towards improving costs, accountability, security, efficiency, and productivity. For this reason, government employees and military personnel have been using electronic signatures to sign forms, task orders, requisitions...
 
There’s no shortage of organizations claiming to have a digital transformation strategy. However, a recent study commissioned by telecommunication company CenturyLink indicates that nearly half of global enterprise companies are faced with multiple obstacles which hamper their digital transformation journey. CenturyLink commissioned research firm 451 Research in to gather information for the global study of enterprise digital transformation...
 
Canada’s top soldier said the Armed Forces continue to be locked in a fight against sexual misconduct within its ranks. And while 30 Canadian Forces members have been punished and 97 other cases of inappropriate behaviour are still ongoing, Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance warned the public to “expect results to be sobering when we...
 
The local electric vehicle industry just got a boost from Ontario as the provincial government today unveiled plans to build nearly 500 electric vehicle charging stations in over 250 locations across the province....
 
CFOs around the world are changing – but an EY survey says Canadians might be getting left behind....
 
On June 7, over 40 senior executives from within the public sector in Ontario gathered for another event in the CGE Leadership Series at the BLG office in downtown Toronto. Deliverology and Implementation was the theme for the breakfast event which was sponsored by Softchoice and organized under the Canadian Government Executive media banner of providing...
 
He is often referred to as the federal government’s first “chief delivery man.” In January this year, Matthew Mendelsohn, a public policy expert and founding director of Canadian think tank Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, joined the Liberal government’s Privy Council Office –sometimes described as the bureaucratic nerve centre ....
 
Are you absolutely clear what the government wants to achieve? Are you absolutely clear what government’s role is? Are you confident that your preferred approach can be delivered? These questions might appear too obvious for many government executives planning a project, but they were actually part of a checklist on “how to turn strategy into...
 
In dealing with the impact on the sharing economy on transportation, Toronto officials want traditional cabbies and limousine drivers to share the city streets with Uber drivers under one bylaw but operate under different sets of rules. The last 18 months have been tumultuous for taxi drivers and operators as they saw their monopoly encroached...
 
As Toronto’s city staff prepares top release proposed regulations for taxis and ride-sharing services in the city, Uber Canada launched a new public relations campaign to get Torontonians to urge city councillors to support “progressive” ride-sharing rules. Toronto councillors are scheduled to vote in May on whether or not to allow ride-sharing companies to operate...
 
In the face of mounting public support for supervised injection sites, Health Canada yesterday granted Vancouver’s Insite safe injection facility another four years to operate in the area. This is the first time the safe injection site has received an exemption that is longer than a year. Insite previously received a special exemption to operate...
 
Growing public expectations on the speed at which they can received services over the Internet, as well as government red tape that hinder the pace of innovation, conspire to dampen the ability of the federal government to deliver online services to the public. Taxpayers can file their taxes online, seniors can use the Internet to...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is excited to announce that the re-launched canadiangovernmentexecutive.ca is now live! The website is a redesign of the previous CGE online property and offers a new and refreshed look with many new design features and updates that will further enhance the reader experience. “Our production and technology team have been working...
 
As the adoption rate of big data technologies among Canadian companies continue to rise there is a growing indication that organizations are shifting towards alternatives to Hadoop, according to analyst firm IDC . Big data adoption in Canada is expected to nearly double through 2016 however, the open-source software framework designed for distributed storage and processing...
 
Written by Jason McNaught Former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page doesn’t put a lot of faith in the future of the public service. Even with new leadership in the PMO, Page has all but written off the current generation of leaders in the public service to affect meaningful change. “Unfortunately,” he tells the National Post,...
 
Successful leaders never stop growing. They continually inform themselves about the emerging trends in innovative thinking and policy development. It can be tough to find the time and best methods to keep up, but a group of public servants in Regina has found a way. They are learning together, at a modest cost, and having...
 
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The well-publicized scrap between Canada’s Auditor General and the Clerk of the Privy Council questioning if the climate of the public sector is broken got my interest. Research shows that a culture that supports new thinking is crucial for innovation. I do not know if the culture is broken, but there are weaknesses. While Canada’s...
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David ZussmanDavid Zussman (19)

David Zussman is a senior fellow in the Graduate School of Public and International Affair...

Government appointments and the Trudeau Government
George RossGeorge Ross (8)

George Ross was the Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Resources, Deputy Minister of Nort...

Exploring public service in the North
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Jeffrey Roy is Professor in the School of Public Administration at Dalhousie University...

Doug Ford’s Digital Dilemma
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