Recently I had the opportunity to be part of a panel discussion at the Collaborative Culture Camp (C3) in Ottawa on the topic of working collaboratively: what it means, and what the challenges and opportunities are for government.
C3’s goals were to contribute to a renewed public service (PS) and to feature speakers and case studies that showcased exceptional instances of collaboration, with a focus on take-away lessons and best practices that could be applied in a variety of contexts.
Headlining at C3 were keynote speakers, panel discussions, intimate speaker series (fireside chats) and interactive participant-led sessions (un-conference style), wrapping up with a social event for attendees. Participants were also able to share their own ideas and challenges related to collaboration, learn from each other, network and develop interdepartmental relationships, become familiar with new technologies and develop their leadership abilities.
From an idea, a small community of engaged individuals pulled C3 together. They collaborated across silos offering various skills and expertise; they worked off the corner of their desks, evenings and weekends through GCpedia, Twitter and face-to-face collaboration. It took hard work, dedication and tons of initiative, but C3 was made possible free of charge to over 200 public servants. This community of driven public servants turned an idea into action. To me this is the true meaning of collaboration.
The Clerk of the Privy Council Wayne Wouters was a keynote speaker at C3. Mr. Wouters, who tweets and has his own GCpedia page, believes that the PS is stronger as a result of its networks. He indicated that common issues exist across departments, which gives us all the more reason to work collaboratively using Web 2.0 platforms such as GCpedia.
As part of the participant-led sessions, one topic of particular interest was moving beyond the initial Web 2.0 adopters and discussing recent successes at various departments including but not limited to:
- VAC: Canada Remembers Facebook, YouTube and Remembrance Day iPhone applications
- Privacy: Del.icio.us bookmarking, a tool to get staff involved in collaborating
- DFAIT: collating briefing notes on a wiki and using online conferences
- NRCan: Collaborative processes of producing a GCWCC video
- CFIA: Social Text Pilot (engagement of staff)
- LAC: Flickr photo collections for Canadians
- CIDA: Using a strategic process as a hub for getting a whole-of-Agency point of view
- CRA: Wikiwizards as part of a wikicop (resources for users)
Stay tuned for more events like C3, as the Federal Youth Network and other groups have expressed an interest in utilizing the Collaborative Culture Camp model in other regions outside the National Capital Region. This type of initiative was so well received that I know it will spread like wild fire across the country. Collaborative Management Day, another community-led event, will take place on December 7th at the Canadian War Museum. This full-day event for managers, team leaders, supervisors and executives will demonstrate better ways of working together using tools and techniques for Gov 2.0 and collaboration.
In my experiences, the benefits of collaboration far out weigh the challenges. The end result is worth overcoming barriers and contributing your efforts toward making a difference in the public service. Engage, be innovative, collaborate often – the benefits will come back to you tenfold.
Jodi LeBlanc is chair of the IPAC New Professionals Committee, chair of the Federal Youth Network and a canada@150 participant. She works as a Classification Advisor with Veterans Affairs Canada in Prince Edward Island.