Renewal
May 7, 2012

Connecting beyond boundaries

Chairing two national networks from Prince Edward Island can be challenging. Thankfully, with the help of collaborative tools and social media, I have been able to successfully strengthen them both, accomplishing more than I ever thought possible as departmental and regional boundaries magically melted away.

Although face-to-face communication and collaboration will always be my preferred method for establishing relationships, I am extremely grateful to have the GC 2.0 tools (GCPEDIA, GCForums, GCConnex and Clearspace) as well as LinkedIn and Twitter to reach out to my networks across Canada.

New connections are enabled through innovative approaches and embracing Web 2.0, which permeates every aspect of our lives from the way we learn, to the way we work, interact and engage with each other. I will be participating in the Next Generation Workplace Ignite session at GTEC this month with nine speakers, representing three themes – people, connections and technology – that will touch on this phenomenon in greater detail.

Recently the Federal Youth Network (FYN) launched a Reverse Mentoring Initiative on GCPEDIA. A large portion of our members are Web 2.0 savvy and we wanted to give back to our traditional mentors – executives, managers and senior colleagues – by offering to share our Web 2.0 and social media expertise in keeping with the Clerk of the Privy Council’s priority of workplace renewal. For more information about the initiative or to contact a reverse mentor visit http://i.gc20.ca/mentoring (GCPEDIA internal link).

For those outside the government of Canada, I challenge you to implement a similar initiative in your organization. There is a high demand for this offering and we have been able to seamlessly launch the initiative across the federal government.

Another successful joint initiative was the “Letter to My Manager” initiative, which was wiki-composed with input from new and young public servants from across Canada outlining the top five things we would like to see from our managers. The National Managers’ Community (NMC) is preparing a wiki-composed response which will be featured in Canadian Government Executive. Our network is thrilled at how social media and collaborative tools have allowed us to have a national voice and work together collectively on joint initiatives with tangible results.

I was also part of the canada@150 initiative. With the help of Web 2.0 we worked together despite time zones, departmental and regional differences. There was so much enthusiasm and momentum built up from that initiative that it sparked enhanced collaboration across other national networks. Although the initiative has since been completed, we maintain a vibrant community. We have recently wiki-composed three articles for CGE and are currently working on a new collaborative initiative. Stay tuned. This is just another example of how Web 2.0 has affected public servants positively, resulting in increased engagement levels of all individuals involved.

Social media has continued to enable connections beyond my typical work boundaries. Using Twitter and GCPEDIA I can connect with the government of Canada Web 2.0 community (#w2p) where individuals share experiences and relevant articles, learn from each other, collaborate on joint initiatives such as the highly successful Collaborative Culture Camp (and Collaborative Management Day series: #goc3) mentioned in the Clerk’s 18th annual report. The community meets every third week in Ottawa and fortunately I have had the opportunity to meet many of these dynamic and creative individuals in-person by attending a few of the mixers while in the National Capital Region. Without social media and collaborative technology I might never have known that this vibrant community existed due to my location in P.E.I.

Blowing up departmental and regional silos, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) announced in June that it has joined forces with Open Text to launch a new and exciting service called Public Service Without Borders (PSWB): www.ipac.ca/pswb. PSWB is a secure environment, the same used during the last two G-20 summits, that allows public servants to connect around the world to collaborate, network, share documents and communicate with each other. PSWB also enables seamless one-stop service delivery, content management, public engagement and management.

I strongly encourage you to support and embrace Web 2.0 technologies in your workplace and help employees collaborate, innovate, share and “work smarter” with a continued focus on teamwork, deliverables and achievement of desired outcomes beyond organizational and regional boundaries. Your commitment and efforts will not go unnoticed and will help shape and prepare the public service for the workplace of the future.

 

Jodi LeBlanc is Federal Youth Network chair, IPAC national secretary/social media lead and values and ethics advisor with Veterans Affairs Canada.

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