Innovations
May 29, 2014

Creativity is key to innovative public engagement

A regulator’s job is to fulfill its mandate in the public interest. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been using innovative ways to engage Canadians in public consultations.

Since 1968, the CRTC has carried out thousands of public consultations with the goal of ensuring that Canadians have access to a world-class communication system. For many years, we relied on tried-and-tested engagement strategies: we’d issue a media release to draw attention and invite the public to participate through online template-forms and mail and fax submissions. For more significant issues, we have held public hearings across the country.

But we found that these methods did not always attract a lot of participation. Our hearings are formal regulatory proceedings, which can be off-putting to some people.

With the opportunities that technology offers, we realized that we could do more. To put Canadians at the centre of their communication system, we challenged ourselves to put the public back in our consultations.

In the fall of 2012, we launched a consultation on a new code of conduct for wireless services. We opened an online discussion forum to make it easier for Canadians to tell us what they wanted to see in such a code. We also turned to social media to stimulate further debate and to draw Canadians to our forum. We judged that wireless users would embrace the opportunity to connect with us via these media. And we were right.

We received more than 4,000 comments on this issue. That input was used to crowd-source a draft code that we published two weeks before the public hearing. During the hearing itself, we invited Canadians to share their views through our discussion forum. This step was unprecedented in the history of the CRTC. It gave us the ability to bring the public directly into the discussion and even challenge corporate executives by reading comments as they were being posted.

In the spring of 2013, we defied convention again. When we launched our public consultation into the need for telecommunications video relay services – services that enable Canadians who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired to send or receive video calls through sign-language interpreters – we translated our notice of consultation into American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ), and posted those videos on our YouTube channel. We also enabled people with hearing and speech impairments to submit their interventions in sign language. And during the public hearing itself, we offered simultaneous translation in English, French, ASL and LSQ. Never before had the CRTC gone to such lengths to ensure Canadians could participate in one of its consultations.

Our experience taught us a valuable lesson: it is important to tailor a consultative approach to the issue as well as the audience.

We drew upon that lesson last November when we launched Let’s Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians, our public consultation into the future of the television system. For example, we wrote our notice of invitation in friendly, plain language to make it inviting and accessible. During the conversation itself, we offered a mix of consultative approaches – among them an online discussion forum, volunteer-hosted conferences and an interactive questionnaire – to collect as many opinions as possible from Canadians. We used those views to inform the issues to be discussed at our public hearing.

If there is a lesson that regulators can take away from the CRTC’s experiences it’s this: be creative. Sometimes the work of regulators is highly technical and detailed – too much so for the average person to fully grasp. Yet there are times when the public craves engagement, when public policy issues touch the ideas and institutions and services that Canadians are most passionate about. In such cases, we must think outside the norm and use our creativity to connect with Canadians in new and exciting ways.

A word of caution: creativity is not always rewarded with success. Sometimes it yields better results than you could ever hope for, and sometimes it falls flat. Yet creativity is essential to public engagement. If regulators are to keep the public involved in the public policy process, we must find new ways to reach out to Canadians. We must rekindle their interests in policy formulation and bring their valuable ideas and input to bear on the work we do, particularly when Canadians interact with their communication system on a daily basis.

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Innovations
 
“What happens when technological innovation outpaces the ability of laws and...
 
Recently, innovation and transformation expert, Max Valiquette, sat down with CPA...
 
In late March the ONS detailed the occupations in the UK...
 
Leadership, service delivery, change management, performance measurement, big data, transparency, digital...
 
As the labour market shifts from full-time work toward short-term and...
 
In this episode of CGE Radio, J. Richard Jones talks with...
 
We all know that innovation involves taking risk and accepting the...
 
My experience in government has spanned across municipal, provincial and now...
 
If your Deputy Minister asked you to identify a dozen communities...
 
In my previous post about Nesta’s  Digital Frontrunners , I introduced four challenges ...
 
“Innovation is a foreign word in the public sector.” “Public employees...
 
Over the years, governments have been adopting Lean management principles to...
 
We have been hearing quite a lot about superclusters. The Government...
 
Design labs make public services client-centred and system savvy, not merely...
 
Today the world is observing International Day of People with Disabilities. The...
 
One of the benefits of living in a federation is that...
 
Ontario Northland is a crown corporation that provides transportation solutions to...
 
The well-publicized scrap between Canada’s Auditor General and the Clerk of...
 
As a new professional working in government, I hear a lot...
 
Most people go into public service because they want to improve...
 
A healthy Canadian economy and opportunities outside of North America are...
 
Studies have shown that the global population will begin to decline,...
 
The US and other Western governments are sinking more money into...
 
By June 2017, the Public Engagement Team at the Privy Council...
 
A single team or lab could never create the volume of...
 
We are excited to share with you the May/June issue of...
 
Everyone wants to change, become more efficient, and drive better value...
 
In July 2017, a local company unveiled a “virtual statue” on...
 
High in the Arctic, the Inuksuk is a timeless cultural symbol...
 
We are excited to share with you the latest issue of...
 
Today’s global and local environments require public servants at all levels...
 
Welcome to the era of Smart Cities where connectivity will drive...
 
“Nearly every problem has been solved by someone, somewhere. The challenge...
 
Throughout Canada, healthcare systems are challenged by population growth, aging, and...
 
Almost every day, I read about a new driverless car or...
 
Making a successful digital transformation is tough. It can be costly,...
 
Transforming the way services are provided by governments to match the...
 
According to a recent McKinsey study there is a potential for...
 
On the global scene, technology has revolutionized and automated the work...
 
Recently, George Ross, Editor-in-Chief of Candian Government Executive sat down with...
 
Emerging technologies are getting faster and smarter. Cognitive capabilities, robotics and...
 
For over two days at the end of January this year,...
 
Today on CGE Radio, we speak with Craig Szelestowski, President and...
 
Canadian Government Executive (CGE) media team is excited to announce a...
 
For many years now, the buzz in government has been around...
 
It’s that time of year when some of us think reluctantly...
 
The adoption of new technologies provides many opportunities, poses unique challenges...
 
We are excited to announce that the October issue of Canadian...
 
Over the last two years, an ever-growing number of organizations around...
 
Canadian Government Executive is excited to announce the agenda for TechGov...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is pleased to welcome Microsoft as its Platinum Sponsor for...
 
We are happy to share with you the September 2017 issue...
 
We are pleased to provide you with an opportunity to help...
 
Innovation is vital in every sector; public service is no exception....
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) and CATAAlliance , Canada’s one voice for...
 
As social media becomes ever-more prevalent in the lives of today’s...
 
How does a mandate for innovation challenge evaluation? Increasingly, the public...
 
In 2016, Deloitte undertook a global internal audit research study on...
 
Excellence in leadership is instrumental in serving the public interest. New-age...
 
“Former Metro banker stole $73,000.”  “Enbridge sues ex-employee.”  “Woman stole $51,000...
 
The recent introduction of the new Government of Canada (GC) IT...
 
Innovation is prized and praised these days at work, even in...
 
As the Liberal’s assumed office, three big democratic reform ideas were...
 
The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA Alliance) is Canada’s One Voice...
 
Orchestrating the transition from present to emergent leadership Millennial is the...
 
As ‘month 13’ for Canada’s Syrian refugee arrivals comes and goes,...
 
As governments around the world move towards the digital transformation of...
 
The way organizations recruit, shape and manage their workforce to find...
 
The promise of web 2.0 was the emergence of a user-driven...
 
Commodity Management (the official term for life-cycle asset management of goods...
 
Over the decades, technology has been grafted into governments around the...
 
We have all heard the sayings: “Home, sweet home”; “There’s no...
 
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with its 28 independent member countries...
 
The rapid advances in digital technology, demographic and societal shift even...
 
The latest issue of Canadian Government Executive is currently available. Some...
 
Bill Gates once said that “Technology is just a tool. In...
 
The last few months have showed a complex and potentially ominous...
 
In the first year of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s term in...
 
Since 2010, experts and academics eager to connect “systems thinking” and...
 
After shifting its focus away from manufacturing smartphones, BlackBerry  announced yesterday that...
 
Earlier this year the Ontario Ministry of Health announced that it...
 
There is already a surging literature on the application of design...
 
As team Trudeau would tell it, this past summer saw spirited...
 
Rules and accountability are helpful in developing and standardizing processes but...
 
Today’s transformative movement towards a more digital and connected government is...
 
At last the the nostalgic fun of the CNE decends upon...
 
In this episode, we discuss the top stories from our latest...
 
Dispersed organisations can be very powerful structures. There is ample evidence...
 
The local electric vehicle industry just got a boost from Ontario...
 
Governments around the world are seeking to tap technologies such as...
 
The Public Health Agency of Canada has long been aware of...
 
Dispersed organisations can be very powerful structures. There is ample evidence...
 
Companies and governments continue to bemoan Shadow IT. Many respond by...
 
The annual APEX Symposium, which is the largest gathering of federal...
 
Protests by irate taxi drivers, roadside scuffles involving cabbies and Uber...
 
Public sector design thinking has evolved from obscurity to something of...
 
LAS VEGAS – Global cloud provider E MC Corp. , has launched a...
 
Here’s some bad news for organizations contemplating projects that have something...
 
Two years ago, Bixi, a not-for-profit, para-municipal bicycle-share firm of the...
 
In January, the BBC and BuzzFeed jointly released an exposé on...
 
Things just get curiouser and curiouser. Lewis Carroll (1865): ’s Adventures...
 
As Toronto’s city staff prepares top release proposed regulations for taxis...
 
If the government intends to push economy-boosting measures, Canadian business leaders...
 
The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Lab is...
 
Nearly half of Canadian organizations are falling behind on implementation of...
 
The Ontario government and telecom gear maker Huawei Canada yesterday announced...
 
Over the last decade we have seen many changes in the...
 
The idea of converged infrastructure and converged systems in the datacentre...
 
VMware is zeroing in on DevOps and day-to-day concerns of IT...
 
Written by Jason McNaught It took approximately 18 years for carbon...
 
Public sector innovation, once dismissed as a contradiction in terms, is...
 
Changes to the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) will help...
 
Innovation (design or change) labs are the hottest thing in government....
 
The rapid growth of unmanned systems for military applications has been...
 
sharing and checking into Google Plus regularly; that only leaves brands...
 
The economic development agencies of 12 municipalities have banded together to...
 
The City of Grande Prairie in Alberta has received a “green...
 
Governments and managers can promote innovation in Canada by crafting a...
 
Two weeks ago, CGE wrote about the selection of Toronto as...
 
Despite the international media circus created by Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto...
 
A regulator’s job is to fulfill its mandate in the public...
 
but what does this mean when plugged back into your starting...
 
Innovate Manitoba is a not-for-profit community-based organization established in 2012 to...
 
as articulated in Thaler and Sunstein’s book of the same name...
 
or is this more or less a way to talk about...
 
Whether we are welcoming advanced technology into our homes, driving vehicles...
 
“Innovation” might be an overused buzzword in defence and security circles,...
 
Ontario and Alberta have joined forces to encourage the development of...
 
For government to fulfill its mandate of serving citizens, considerable spending...
 
The need to innovate has become so common a goal in...
 
While not all cities are created equal, great competition should bring...
 
It has long been postulated that tidy desks are more conducive...
 
In “Public sector, disrupted”, a recent study published by Deloitte, a...
 
We are only at the first phase of the Digital Age...
 
In Smarter Information, Smarter Consumers, www.hbr.org, Richard H. Thaler and Will...
 
A Saskatchewan team of geologists, physicists and palaeontologists is hunting for...
 
The judges are in place. The clock is ticking. The best...
 
At first glance, federal defence scientists focused on research supporting the...
 
What is British Columbia doing to change its approach to scientific...
 
In a knowledge-based global economy, continuous innovation is crucial to enable...
 
There is no reason for Canada to be an innovation and...
 
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment is leading a new approach built on...
 
Governments have long known that although across-the-board percentage cuts may meet...
 
Today, thanks largely to the internet, the kind of creativity and...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.4 April 2007 Education, creativity, research and innovation play...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.3 March 2008 Innovation is one of those concepts...
 
When William Eggers wrote his landmark book, Government 2.0, in 2005,...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.5 May 2008 Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty spoke...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.10 December 2007 David Crombie, former Toronto Mayor, Conservative...
 
You’ve made a good choice. If you’re in the public sector...
 
As the Ontario Public Service readies for its involvement this April...
 
TED is a non-profit community devoted to the theme of “Ideas...
 
Quote of the week “An innovative APS starts with individual public...
 
Becoming an innovative organization takes more than a call to “be...
 
Thousands of other research projects in Canada have become a reality...
 
Conducting a large number of detention reviews under difficult conditions and...
 
What exactly is hunger and why is it an important global...
 
En décembre 2008, la fonction publique de la Colombie-Britannique a lancé...
 
La fonction publique de l’Ontario œuvre dans la lutte contre les...
 
The Ontario Public Service has been in the business of putting...
 
How can we increase productivity, build resilience and enhance quality of...
 
In December 2008, the BC Public Service launched Spark, an internal...
 
Once seen as stable, even glacial, the public service is now...
 
D’abord vue comme stable, même figée, la fonction publique connaît maintenant...
 
Innovation is critical and urgent as public servants continue to improve...
 
Au cours de ma longue expérience auprès de différents ministres d’allégeances...
 
Le leadership au sein des organismes du secteur public est l’un...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.8 October 2007 A modern public service is one...
 
To the reporters who’d gathered in the Alberta Legislature press room,...
 
Le plus souvent, toutefois, nous devons nous affairer activement à trouver...
 
Sometimes innovation happens serendipitously – a Eureka moment, when the answer...
 
2012 has the potential to be an important year for Canadian...
 
Robert Louis Stevenson a déjà affirmé que « la politique est...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
“What happens when technological innovation outpaces the ability of laws and...