Intrapreneurs: How System-Changers Think, Design and Act - Canadian Government Executive
CGE Blog
October 31, 2014

Intrapreneurs: How System-Changers Think, Design and Act

In•tra•pre•neur•ship (n) 1. Successful adaptation of entrepreneurial attitudes and strategies inside of a bureaucratic organization. 2. Implementation of start-up practices within a large organization, producing valued innovation.

Intrapreneurs are institutional entrepreneurs. Their approach to problem solving is innovative and collaborative. They are game-changers, who seek to deploy change through consensus-building. Gifford Pinchot said that intrapreneurs are dreamers who do. They are the people who take hands-on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind within an organization as they work purposefully.

We believe that intrapreneurs represent the future of public service.

The role of the public servant is changing in the 21st century. Increasingly, the public service has been shifting towards a more citizen-centered and accountable format. While dealing with ongoing challenges posed by a smaller workforce and limited budgets, the public service is now more than ever having to address problems that are complex and sticky, which requires an unprecedented level of cooperation, collaboration and innovation if there is any hope for success. We believe that by empowering the intrapreneurial way of thinking, we would be able to mobilize considerable human capital along with the underutilized resources that are embedded at all levels of public administration.

By definition, innovation requires change. Intrapreneurs see change as a necessity when it comes to their approach. They often bring a tempered approach to designing for change because intrapreneurs act based on a set of needs. They want the organization of which they are part of to be better, and they want to see that the organizational mission and processes are reflective of the organization’s deep seated values and vision. The intrapreneurial focus revolves around a deeply collaborative and multilateral set of activities.

They will encourage organizational-wide involvement by insisting on truth and honesty about what’s working, what’s not, and why. In the process, they will catalyze creativity and seek new ways to do business. Key ways of doing so will include empowering, enabling and encouraging others within the organization, focusing on building networks, and rewarding and showcasing intrapreneurial thinking in others.

If you asked us to lay down a few points to describe what intrapreneurship is all about for us, our response would be based on these following assumptions:

  1. We HAVE an abundance of potential and creativity alive yet locked in the public service.
  2. We BELIEVE that government can deliver on innovative products and services.
  3. We KNOW we can do a better job of tapping into collective intelligence across government.
  4. Intrapreneurship is NOT about undermining direction nor the rules of our institutions – effective change agents operate within the system – it is about creating the processes and vehicles to enable robust policies and improve outcomes through building a collaborative culture.
  5. We MUST challenge our own perceptions of how change happens – it happens small and within our own spheres of influence.
  6. Innovation IS happening all the time, all around us – we need to get better at how we discover, share and celebrate ingenuity at all levels!

Ultimately, though, we can say that intrapreneurship is a way of thinking, designing and acting for change. The public sector is often criticized about its resistance to change. While building coalitions, managing risk, and developing a shared understanding of both problems and solutions are important steps in making change acceptable, a strategy of intrapreneurial change management is important.

Over the past few months, Colleen has engaged some of Canada’s exciting government innovators in a series of interviews and dialogues to explore how they tackle the challenge of being intrapreneurs. She asked them to share their methods and strategic approaches to enabling change during their career. Some elements have appeared time and again during these interviews and we are going to share them here with you with the caveat that all intrapreneurial activity is going to be unique because even when we deal with similar problems and similar organizations the details, the history, the access to resources, the clients, and the windows of opportunity are going to be different enough that a one-size-fits-all approach is sure to fail.

Relationship building: all intrapreneurial activities are about relationship building. Innovation in organizations is always about challenging certain organizational cultural norms. This is certainly true – often more so – in the public sector. It is also the case that intrapreneurs ‘build a case’ for the change that they want to see occur; coalitions of like-minded people and of stakeholders are created and expanded over time. Intrapreneurship is inherently multi-lateral and cooperative.

Having a champion/political support: the intrapreneurs with whom we have spoken unfailingly mention that that having political support in their organization was a critical step in being able to engage in innovative thinking and in being able to implement that thinking. This relationship is one based on accountability and honesty. Intrapreneurs must be able to exercise a high degree of both in their connection with their champions.

Fairness and transparency: The activity of anyone who is interested in achieving change through cooperative behaviour must rest on a foundation of trust and openness. This approach extends in a 360 degrees fashion towards all who are affected by the process.

Speak truth to power: this is an extension of the previous point. There is no doubt that honesty and openness are critical characteristics for intrapreneurial action. They are at the basis of building solid change coalitions, just as they are necessary to improve the capacity of the organization to explore its limits and its opportunities.

Seize opportunities: do not shy away from difficult challenges. The intrapreneur must be able to take on difficult challenges because those are often those where the most opportunities for innovation are extant. Often they will require new ways of approaching the issue and almost naturally they tend to discourage people who use ‘status quo’ thinking and approaches.

The power of intrapreneurship doesn’t lie in a formula or a leadership competency. It lies in the creativity one takes to their relentless pursuit of excellence, regardless of the task at hand. Thank goodness we still have thinkers, policy designers and doers in the public service whose obsession with excellence and hunger for greatness reminds us that we can’t continue to accept the limits of our past thinking. The people who have pioneered a path to great progress in the public sector have always been system-changers – intrapreneurial minds who understood the “need for and how to” change thinking from within.

By recognizing and rewarding the intrapreneurial mindset and spirit, the talents of public service innovators might just lead us down the path to that much desired culture of innovation many of us are dreaming about.

This article was co-authored by Colleen McCormick and Andrea Migone. It was originally printed in the Public Sector Management Journal, Volume 25, Issue 3, September 2014.


Colleen McCormickColleen McCormick is Director of Strategic Issues with the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and former Director, Innovative Partnerships where she managed the social innovation file in the Ministry of Social Development. Colleen is also the founder of Social Innovators Network Foundation. Previously, she was a TEDxMileZero organizer and National Chair of the New Professionals for the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. She has an MBA from RRU and a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo. You can contact her on Twitter @SInnovatorsNet.

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

CGE Blog
 
By: Patrice Dutil The MindLab meets every expectation you might have about a post-modern Danish institution that would dare sport such a title. Nestled on the ground floor of a rather non-descript building that contrasts cruelly with Copenhagen’s old stock exchange (the “Børsen”) across the street, the MindLab presents itself as a deep, white rectangle....
 
In this month’s blog, I would like to test out an idea. I have been toying with this idea for some time now. As I share it around, some people seem to think it is interesting albeit disruptive, and others get excited about its potential. Today, I would like to make a pitch to you...
 
Ducks look like they have it All Together. Above the water, all is calm. They glide, expressionless and serene. Below the water, they’re paddling madly trying to stay afloat and to avoid getting eaten. It’s like they’re in an endless, hidden panic. We’re not so different from the ducks. If the world discovered that we...
 
I blogged in November 2012 about seeing Dr. Bernard Meyerson, VP Global Innovation, IBM, at that year’s GTEC. Dr. Meyerson spoke to why innovation matters and how it is linked to growth and growth happens when good people pursue grand challenges to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Last week while watching an episode of Second regard on tou.tv, a similar comment came up in an...
 
Today’s newspapers are once again reading that bureaucrats, this time in CRA, possibly deleted text messages that may be “government records.” A spokesperson for Treasury Board President, Tony Clement, is quoted as saying: “If the (messages) were of business value and deleted, then the rules were broken. If the CRA can prove that they were...
 
When times get tough, we turn to leaders for courage. Yet rarely is courage found in the competency profile of any leadership position. Selection systems cannot abide responding to queries from rejected candidates with “You were not found to be courageous enough for the job.” No one wants to be rejected on the basis of...
 
In this month’s blog, I’m featuring Dylan Sherlock, Policy Analyst for the Natural Resource Sector Transformation Secretariat. I have had the great pleasure of working with Dylan to establish our intrapreneurship network in the BC Public Service. Dylan beautifully exemplifies the mindset of the next generation of public servant. He is a talented policy analyst,...
 
A cryptic title, which may lead you to think this blog post is about new beginnings for 2015. I first thought about doing a piece on that topic, and then decided against it. The truth is, I have been struggling with writer’s block since November, and wanted to share my story of finally overcoming it....
 
In starting the new year, my thoughts go to goals and resolutions, as I am sure they do for many of you. This year, as with every other year, finding and nurturing creative pursuits is high on my list. Early in January this year, however, my mind turned to how I define creativity. As I...
 
In this month’s blog, I’m featuring Bette-Jo Hughes, Associate Deputy Minister and Government Chief Information Officer, who I had the great pleasure of working for directly, while on a temporary assignment three years ago. Bette-Jo’s reputation precedes her. As well as being one of the most respected leaders in the public service, she is also...
 
Before I dive into the crux that is the title of this post, I first need to provide historical context… In 1517, a very pious German monk named Martin Luther wrote the 95 Theses . For those not familiar, this was a document that listed 95 statements (Theses) that condemned the Pope for selling indulgences (sinners buying their way...
 
I know I’m Civic Engagement’s equivalent to being a “Homer” …no, not Homer Simpson. I’m talking about the guy who at the start of each new NHL season will say “This is the year the Leafs win the Cup!”That’s because, at least when it comes to Civic Engagement, I’m tired of the malcontents and media-click-baiters…and...
 
I had a fascinating month of reading. I am smack dab in the middle of Todd Gitlin’s book Letters to a Young Activist and, this week at work while pondering the role of the corporate function, I discovered Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) great article from earlier this year “ Why Corporate Functions Stumble .” The HBR article goes into great depth about the various...
 
I write this blog because I have an unwavering belief in the potential of the public service. With this belief in mind, and with an Intrapreneurial spirit, I use this platform as a way to reimagine, redefine, and redesign the 21st Century Public Service. Intrapreneurs are people who adopt entrepreneurial attitudes and apply start-up practices...
 
“Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room.” – Michael Dell, 2003 Much as it has perplexed my wife, I’m a member of a public administration book club. Yes, such a thing exists. It’s an academically-inclined group....
 
We all love the feeling of being inspired. But what does it mean to be inspired? Millions of people have listened to inspirational speakers and felt as though they could take on the World with impunity. They watch a great TED Talk, or buy tickets to a Tony Robbins event, or witness something that gives...
 
Looking beyond is a practice I try to cultivate daily. I read newspapers, blogs, research articles, watch videos and follow social media accounts that appear to have little or no connection to what I am doing today or sometimes what I have been planning to do tomorrow. The surface of the earth was not mapped...
 
I’m new to Ottawa, and as such, I decided to explore Parliament Hill the other day. Not so much the structure, but the actual grounds. And as I was walking around, I couldn’t help but marvel at the statues of the founding fathers of our country.…and then it dawned on me. I was sitting here,...
 
“So our message to students and graduates is, we need you in the public service and we will be out there and will be recruiting.” — PSC president Anne-Marie Robinson, quoted in the Ottawa Citizen, November 6, 2014 To learn about working for the government, I visited the jobs.gc.ca website. It’s where the Public Service Commission branded the Government...
 
In this month’s blog, I’m featuring Linda Beltrano, Executive Director of Oil and Strategic Initiatives, who I had the pleasure of working with when I first joined the public service over a decade ago. Linda led our tourism policy initiatives within the branch team while I worked on sector development. I have to admit that...
 
My biggest beef about most people is how they keep telling me that we can’t have it any better. That working towards (or even dreaming about) a more collaborative society is a fool’s errand. That such thinking isn’t rooted in reality. That hoping for the kind of societal change I’m hoping for is a valuable...
 
A number of people have reached out to me asking how the mandala became the unofficial logo for The Open Government Tour . Today, I will share that story. I encouraged #OGT14 City Champions to embrace their creative/artistic side; to take chances; to explore areas that have never been explored before; and more importantly, to have fun. That was...
 
It is just past mid-year review time. We sit with our boss and/or sit with our employees, and it is important to look at performance so far: what is realistic to achieve by end of the year and what needs course correction, either to aim higher, lower or maybe even left or right of your...
 
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny8uUVBVzFo]  Last week I attended the 2014 Government Technology Exhibition & Conference (GTEC) for the third time in three years. I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited twice to speak, and once to live-blog the event. Yet, I’ve never published my perspectives on the event itself. Today, I will remedy that oversight…and please don’t forget, this is just my perspective. One...
 
In•tra•pre•neur•ship (n) 1. Successful adaptation of entrepreneurial attitudes and strategies inside of a bureaucratic organization. 2. Implementation of start-up practices within a large organization, producing valued innovation. Intrapreneurs are institutional entrepreneurs. Their approach to problem solving is innovative and collaborative. They are game-changers, who seek to deploy change through consensus-building. Gifford Pinchot said that intrapreneurs...
 
In February 2011, the U.S. Federal Cloud Computing Strategy (Cloud First Policy) estimated that up to 25% ($20 billion) of US federal government IT spending could be was a target for cloud computing. To accelerate adoption, they introduced FedRAMP, pre-certifying cloud service providers (CSPs) who could be used by all agencies. The U.K. government published...
 
Click here for Part 3 of 4 Click here for Part 2 of 4 Click here for Part 1 of 4 The Open Government Tour 2014 is officially in the books. I rode my motorcycle about 18,500kms all in an effort to bring attention to the Open Government and Open Data Movements. One of my goals was to put into practice the theories of Open Government. In a weird way, I (kinda) wanted to put myself...
 
Click here for Part 1 of 4 Don’t be the big @$$hole There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing Goliath trip and fall. That’s why media and malcontents love to jump on government whenever it falters. …but, can you blame them? Government comes off like some sort macho figure that can do it all by itself. Problem is that government – for the most part...
 
The Open Government Tour 2014 is officially in the books. I rode my motorcycle about 18,500kms all in an effort to bring attention to the Open Government and Open Data Movements. One of my goals was to put into practice the theories of Open Government. In a weird way, I (kinda) wanted to put myself...
 
I was waiting in line to have a smoked meat sandwich at one of Montreal’s most famous smoked meat restaurants: Schwartz. It was a very pleasant fall day and we were lining up outside on St-Laurent boulevard, as a group of anti-meat pro-vegans stood across the sidewalk screaming at us how shameful it was to...
 
Measuring employee performance is hard. It’s one of the most difficult managerial tasks, and few managers have training in the art and science of objectively evaluating others. If you are fortunate enough to have experience in this area, most of that experience probably came from the School of Hard Knocks. That fine institution, despite its...
 
I had a busy month reading about governance, risk management and value. First, a great research paper titled Postmoder n IT from Gartner, which had the following quote: Governance prefers the known: Reality revels in surprise.” ( Gartner analyst Chris Howard ) Recently, I wrote about governance and the correct balance in applying governance. Governance needs to be flexible enough...
 
The real problem is not the lack of alternatives, but a lack of understanding of the problem itself. Understanding is a far more valuable skill than problem solving. Asking the right question is only half the answer. The environmental challenge we now face is not about how “clean” we can make things, or how “green”...
 
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...
 
“We have a temptation as human beings to think everyone else has to be the change agent rather than be the author ourselves.” – Andrew Treusch This month’s blog features Andrew Treusch, Commissioner of Revenue and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). I didn’t quite know Andrew’s role when I first met...
 
I have written previously about how metrics are crucial in the world of performance management . Used well, they create a yardstick by which all employees are evaluated. The very act of measuring the right things can lead to better results. Though we are reluctant to admit it, most managers do a poor job of objectively measuring performance. Observing and recording employee behaviour is hard...
 
Back in the 1960s, it looked as if computers might just make forecasting easy – plug in some numbers and the forecast would come out; simple. Except that these forecasts weren’t accurate. They weren’t accurate then and they aren’t accurate today, no matter how hard meteorologists struggle to get it right. Social scientists, environmentalists, urban...
 
For the past two-three years, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been a hot topic for government IT leaders. In May 2013, Gartner called BYOD “the single most radical change to the economics and culture of client computing since PCs invaded the workplace” – even predicting that by 2017, 50 percent of employers will require...
 
As you are all probably aware, we have a new Clerk of the Privy Council. This news (and a reminder tweet from @Jodilynne3 ) sparked the idea of doing something to commemorate the occasion, like visualizing the tweets that have originated from @WayneWouters or @WayneGWouters .   While considering different ways of doing this visualization, I ran into...
 
This month, I shine the innovation spotlight on Greg Goodwin, an accomplished public servant with over 20 years of experience in British Columbia. I have had few opportunities to work directly with Greg yet, in our conversations before, during and after meetings, he has always inspired me. He demonstrates what real leadership looks like in...
 
New Acquaintance: “Hi, I’m Bob. Pleased to meet you. What do you do?” You: “I’m a public servant/executive/lawyer/manager. What about you?” New Acquaintance: “I’m a plumber.” It’s a question we ask all the time, and the question of what somebody ‘does’ is charged with evaluative undertones. While there are a range of possible answers, the...
 
On July 2nd, Richard Pietro packed up his things and set forth on a Cross-Canada journey on his motorcycle. He describes his 20+ city tour as “changing Canada by exploring it” – spreading his passion for Open Government, Open Data and Civic Engagement by facilitating dialogue with citizens. His focus is on education and bringing...
 
From time to time, the popular media jump on examples of contracts awarded without competitive bids as examples of everything that is wrong in government. Perhaps, it is time to make the opposite case that open competition also has some problems and there are times when direct negotiation (or sole source) may be preferable. First,...
 
If you work in government or in a large corporation, you have undoubtedly found yourself on occasion, for good or ill, in a governance committee meeting. While considering the good, the bad and the ugly of governance in practice last week, I decided to learn a little more about it. I explored the Management Accountability Framework (MAF) on...
 
“To be an effective public servant, the most important skills to develop are to be open, to put yourself out there, and just be honest.” – Norman Lee   This month’s blog features Norman Lee, who not only encouraged me to apply to government 10 years ago, but also became my first manager. After serving...
 
“I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced...
 
I’ve been giving 110 percent for as long as I can remember – attempting to do it all, while taking advantage of every opportunity that came my way. I became a master juggler of priorities and thrived on the adrenaline of always being busy. I may have spent my whole life on this track but...
 
I have been working with government now for about 15 years and somewhere in that period I became infected with Public Service Renewal disease. I call it that because that was I how I first learned to articulate it. But you could also call it Blueprint 2020, Destination 2020, Gov.20, Agile Government, Open Government and...
 
Taking a look this week at the vision from Blueprint for Renewing Government Services Using Information Technology , 1994 on its 20th birthday. Happy Birthday! Historical context Jean Chrétien had been Prime Minister only since 1993, Wayne Gretzky tied Gordie Howe’s NHL record of 801 goals and 1994 was a summer of OJ. Summary: The Vision and Key Architectural Principles Vision: Government Services...
 
Commitment to social justice can erode in times of austerity, change, and uncertainty. The divergent views of the blue-ribbon panel that opened the 2014 International Research Society for Public Management Conference at Carleton University are a sign of challenging times: People have never been more dependent on government. Deficits in public trust, consultation, and advocacy...
 
Wanted: Government Intrapreneurs If you’re interested in exploring our collective capacity as collaborative leaders of change, and eager to share stories from the field on how big things get done in government, I encourage you to connect with like-minded thinkers in government and help us build a grassroots network of intrapreneurs. Intrapreneurs are dreamers who do. Those who...
 
As next week marks National Public Service Week (NPSW), I have been working diligently as departmental lead planning engaging and fun activities for my colleagues across the country. The theme of NPSW is “Proudly Serving Canadians” which has made me pause for a moment and reflect on my career with the Public Service. Working for...
 
Remember New Year’s Day? It was a little over five months ago. You may have set some personal goals for 2014—resolutions—and by now they’re completely forgotten. Six months from now, we’ll all be looking forward to 2015 and the new things that year will bring. We’ll set some resolutions, and by June 2015 we’ll probably...
 
Disclaimer: Note that while I work as a public servant, this is entirely my own initiative and what I post here does not necessarily reflect the view of the government, my office or my position there in. Lately, I have been tired. Working long hours and studying a second language, in addition to the time...
 
Maria David-Evans: Part III This is the final post in a three-part series about Maria David-Evans, a career public servant, who has shared her thoughts on intrapreneurship with the author. The final story Maria shared is legendary, from when she was working on the National Child Benefit Program, and which I think so beautifully demonstrates her intrapreneurial...
 
Maria David-Evans: Part II This is a continuation of yesterday’s post , in which Maria David-Evans laid out her five operating principles for intrapreneurship. Prerequisites for Intrapreneuship to Thrive According to Maria, it is very difficult for intrapreneurial activities to survive, let alone thrive, without three key prerequisites. If these factors are not present, it will be...
 
Maria David-Evans: Part I In this month’s blog, I’m featuring Maria David-Evans, who I had the distinct pleasure of working with on the Institute of Public Administration’s (IPAC) executive board when I was the National Chair of the New Professionals. From my first conversation with Maria, I was inspired to become the public servant I...
 
Awards and competition are ways to highlight the qualities that make the difference between sub-par, the average, and the excellent. The fastest runners in a race are the ones who win the prizes. This applies to workplaces too – they can be compared, ranked, and awarded for being the best of the best. Awards such...
 
Public Wi-Fi First Wave: Big Plans, Few Successes In about 2004, the technology press was abuzz with stories of municipal public Wi-Fi. In the United States, projects were initiated in more than 200 municipalities, including major cities like Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. By 2008, most of these projects had been significantly scaled back...
 
This week marks “Mental Health Week” – an annual national event that promotes practical ways for individuals to maintain and improve their mental health and support their recovery from mental illness. Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness; it’s a state of well-being. Approximately 7 million Canadians – 20 percent of the...
 
“The first change we are making is to ensure that every public servant has the opportunity to perform to the best of his or her ability,” said Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, last May in his speech to the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada on Performance Management....
 
Disclaimer: Note that while I work as a public servant, this is entirely my own initiative and what I post here does not necessarily reflect the view of the government, my office or my position there in. Trying something new can be hard, it can be exciting, it can be scary, it can be educational....
 
I’m a big fan of promoting an intrapreneurial culture in the public service as a means to redefine the role of the 21st century public servant, so I have decided to use my blog as an opportunity to interview leading thinkers in government who demonstrate intrapreneurship in action. This month’s blog will feature an interview...
 
A few months back, I phoned Service Canada at their handy toll-free number. My goal: to find out why my mother’s application for pension benefits was taking so long to be processed. After several failed attempts to navigate the maze of options, I successfully reached a human being on the other end of the line....
 
Disclaimer: Note that while I work as a public servant, this is entirely my own initiative and what I post here does not necessarily reflect the view of the government, my office or my position there in. This week, I read an excellent article by James Clear at Entrepreneur.com, entitled Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead. Clear discusses the difference between...
 
“Every organisation needs one core competence: innovation.” – Peter Drucker What if the public service promoted a culture where public servants were expected to drive bold ideas, rewarded for applying innovative approaches to long-standing problems, and honoured for creating impact-driven models that truly demonstrate best, long-term value for Canadians. Would this lead us to a...
 
CODE – the Canadian Open Data Experience Hackathon – took place February 28th to March 2nd with developers from across the country working around the 48-hour clock, creating apps that would increase opportunities and constitute tools Canadians could use to make day-to-day life easier. I was vacationing in the sunny south during CODE but was grateful to be able...
 
Given upcoming municipal elections in some provinces and the current debate around the new Federal Elections Act, it might be time to review the issues around e-voting and, specifically, Internet voting. Recent studies of Internet Voting by Elections Canada, Elections Ontario, Elections BC and others have all been generally cautious or negative, notwithstanding its potential...
 
American President Harry S. Truman famously had a sign on his desk in the oval office, with four simple words: “The Buck Stops Here”. It was a reminder that the President is the final decision maker, with full responsibility and accountability. Here in Canada and in other countries based on the Westminster model , our version is...
 
It’s early morning, and the stage is set. Our panelists will soon be arriving, along with the recipients of our CGE Leadership Awards. Louise Levonian, ADM of Finance and chair of the Sub-Committee on Public Service Engagement, talks about how constant change in the public sector is the new normal. Andrew Treusch, Commissioner of the...
 
Disclaimer: Note that while I work as a public servant, this is entirely my own initiative and what I post here does not necessarily reflect my view of the government, my office, or my position therein. I had some problems finding a topic to blog about this week. I read about several interesting topics, but...
 
In my last blog, I wrote about the need for new institutional entrepreneurial mindsets in government. I am going to explore this theme further over the next few blogs. The following Skoll World Forum video sets the context for the idea that today’s big challenges lie in the hands of an exciting, interconnected and innovative world. [vimeo http://vimeo.com/64103829]...
 
What can the cloud do for you? IT in Canada is holding a free webinar series that will answer exactly that question. The first in the series will be held on February 19 and will feature Waterfront Toronto, an organization that oversees a revitalization project funded by the governments of Canada and Ontario, and the...
 
Canadian Government Executive is pleased to have Craig Killough, vice president of Organization Markets with the Project Management Institute (PMI), speaking at our CGE Leadership Summit on February 25 at the Ottawa Convention Centre. Killough’s talk is titled The Leader’s Role in Strategy Execution and, given that he has more than 40 years of business...
 
It is hard to believe that ninety percent of the world’s data was created in the last two years. I first became interested in Open Data when my colleagues Sean Kibbee and Ryan Androsoff launched their OC Bus Tracker in Ottawa (which has since expanded to Toronto, Vancouver, Boston, Washington and Winnipeg) using real-time GPS open data. I then...
 
Strong leadership is in highest demand during times of unpredictable change. Consider the role of a sea captain during a storm or an emergency room doctor with a patient who is flatlining. Each needs to lead their teams through dangerous, even chaotic, changes in circumstances and, in the end, triumph over them. Today’s government leaders...
 
I was (and still am) an ardent supporter of Canada’s Public Service. It’s a public administration admired worldwide for its integrity and service to citizens. I’ve suggested that public servants need to share their stories more broadly because the media, politicians, and the public certainly won’t do it for us. That said, I’m no longer...
 
As we approach the 2014 Sochi Games, I can’t help but think about the amount of time, excruciating pain, and the pure commitment of athletes that culminates into being selected to represent their country at the Olympic Games.  Having played sports all my life, I am always inspired and hold in the highest regard those...
 
In November 2013, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada issued its report on Access to Online Services.  Not surprisingly, the OAG Report found that while in 2005 an independent assessment ranked Canada first as a world leader in bringing online government to its citizens, more recent United Nations studies show Canada dropping in...
 
The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) collected $419 billion in taxes and duties in 2011-2012. It has over 39,000 employees working across Canada and is probably one of the more thankless departments to work for in any government. “Nothing is certain but death and taxes,” goes the popular expression, repeated at dinner tables and bus stops...
 
It’s the last day of January! Our summit is less than a month away. We’ve had some interesting stories about Blueprint 2020 – which is the theme of our summit – this week. If you’ve missed any of them, look no further; we have them all here. How is the Blueprint 2020 process different from past initiatives that had the same outcome in mind? Ken Rasmussen, professor of public administration at the...
 
I recently read Matt Charlet’s blog post(1) in which he writes that collaborative productivity is increasingly important. Charlet explains that “ten years ago, 78 percent of an employee’s impact on functional or business unit performance came from their individual task performance and only 22 percent came from network performance. Today, the breakdown is 51 percent...
 
Canadian Government Executive is pleased to have Dr. David Ulrich, one of the world’s most distinguished management thought leaders, as the keynote speaker at our Leadership Summit on February 25. Dr. Ulrich, a Professor at the University of Michigan and a partner at the RBL Group, will be discussing The Leadership Code and what leaders...
 
On Wednesday, Jan. 22, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and defence industry gathered at the Ottawa Convention Centre for Vanguard magazine’s first C4ISR summit – C4ISR being the defence industry’s acronym for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The summit was intended to encourage meaningful dialogue within the larger C4ISR community, from...
 
The complexities of the 21st century are creating a “transformational storm,” and public administration is caught in the eye. This storm is shaking up public service organizations across the globe as senior managers begin to realize that the challenges of today require radically different skill sets than those that were traditionally celebrated. In today’s climate...
 
What can often make or break one’s ability to lead in times of change can boil down to a manager’s situational awareness, and his or her ability to adapt to that situation can make all the difference. Karen Ellis is the president of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. She says learning to...
 
It’s week’s end already! Did you miss any of our content this week? We’ve had a few stories either from or about some of our summit speakers, so have a glance down our handy list to see what piques your interest. Louise Levonian, associate deputy minister at the Department of Finance, talks about why a...
 
Let’s imagine for a moment. You’ve flown to England and joined a professional cricket match. You’re not watching the game, though – you’re a player! You’re a member of the Kent Spitfires, and you’re the bowler. You tried cricket once or twice a few decades ago, but haven’t played since. The other players are all...
 
We hope everyone had a great holiday and a happy New Year! We’ve been busy this week. If you missed any of our content, look no further. We have it all here! Editor-in-chief Toby Fyfe talks to David Ulrich, author of “The Leadership Code”, about his thoughts on leadership . If you want more from David Ulrich, he will...
 
In an era where everything we do seems to be moving virtually, this is an opportune time for us to get back to the basics and look for ways to enhance our face-to-face communication and networking skills. Many experts fear that we are losing our ability to have the traditional face-to-face conversations that are essential...
 
To close CGE’s 2014 Leadership Summit, a panel of speakers will sit down and discuss how to put into action the ideas discussed by other speakers and attendees during the event on February 25. The audience will learn from respected government and private leaders how to effect positive change when they return to their respective...
 
During 2013, Canadian governments at all levels were continuing to join the Open Data movement.  As reported on the www.data.gc.ca site, maintained by the Government of Canada, there are now four provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec) and 38 Canadian municipalities with Open Data portals.  (This site provides links to a number of other provincial...
 
The question confronting the Canadian public service today isn’t whether it’s possible for the service to be exceptional without solid leadership, but what type of leadership is necessary to maintain, or even recapture, this status? “Leaders of the public service will need to set the tone and guide by example,” said Louise Levonian, Associate Deputy...
 
We hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday! We’ve rounded up all our news from the past two weeks for you. Never lost in transit: Roch Huppé, CFO at Finance and Administration, talks about CRA’s award-winning mail solution . How is the Penticton Indian Band working toward self-sustainability? Chief Jonathan Kruger spoke with editor-in-chief Toby Fyfe . Our intern Jeff Mackey wrote up a profile on Janice Baker , one of the speakers...
 
Happy holidays, everyone. This blog will be the next installation in our journey through the web archive. This month, I decided to look at the Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada, of which the 20th was recently published. The reports stem from Public Service 2000: The Renewal of the...
 
I believe that the most important things in life should be able to exist without me. I just returned from vacation. I was totally disconnected, including four days with no access to anything digital (hard to do when you are on a boat off the coast of Thailand). I didn’t think about work, wasn’t concerned...
 
The province of Ontario has proposed a new chair to lead the Public Accountant’s Council. Former Attorney General Michael Bryant will replace second term chair John Crow for the position. The appointment to the council, which regulates the province’s public accountants, is subject to review by the Standing Committee on Government Agencies. Bryant currently works...
 
Janice Baker, city manager and chief administrative officer with the City of Mississauga, believes the leadership provided by elected municipal officials is vital to the day-to-day well being of a community. “Having strong leadership provides a vision for the future and ensures accountability for the actions of today,” said Baker, who has 26 years of...
 
Last week Twitter, released its “Best Practices for Government” and it got me thinking about my experiences with using Twitter as a govvy (government employee). I was hesitant about Twitter when I first signed up almost five years ago, hence the reason I didn’t use my full name (first name and birthdate = @jodilynne3), as...
 
In this busy communications marketplace, governments are taking the way they get their message out increasingly seriously so that they can reach citizens. The Nova Scotia government will be introducing legislative amendments, new guidelines and policies in its Public Service Act to unify its communications under Communications Nova Scotia (CNS). The changes were introduced on December 2 and the government believes...
 
Executives today live and work in a fish bowl. They conduct their business independently while the rest of the world sees them from a magnified and 360 degree angle. Being an effective leader under this scrutiny can be difficult but Michael Graydon, CEO of British Columbia’s Lottery Corporation, thinks building trust through one’s character is...
 
It’s Time for Talent Management The public service landscape has changed dramatically since the launch of a recent series of budget reviews, starting with Strategic Review back in 2011.  Since then, organizations have undergone Strategic and Operating Review, the Deficit Reduction Action Plan, and, more recently, Targeted Review for a select few “chosen ones.” The...
 
For many, Latin was one of those subjects that you had to take in school.  We were told that it was good to know the roots of modern languages.  Sceptics argued that Latin is a ‘dead language’ – no longer in common parlance, used only in certain religious and scholarly circles.  What we came to...
 
Innovation is a big deal when it comes to service delivery. Public servants are increasingly being asked to do more with less – so it lifts the spirits to see so many departments and agencies coming up with new ways to deliver service. And it’s even better when they get recognized for their work. Last...
 
I’ve asked ‘Is Change a Good Thing?’ and what we can do about ‘Transition Stress and Innovation’ . I’m starting to realize that change, particularly in the public service, isn’t that unusual. The narrative within government is one of stability – people view their jobs as (generally) static, their organizations as slow-to-change, and their work lives generally similar from day-to-day and year-to-year. This stability,...
 
Kevin Leahy is looking to get the voices of Canada’s middle managers heard. Leahy will be featured in the opening panel on Key Leadership Challenges in the Public Sector at the Canadian Government Executive Leadership Summit on February 25. As chair of the National Managers’ Community, Leahy is looking to bring the perspective of the...
 
A few weeks ago, Roy Wiseman blogged about how, despite the best efforts of many governments, and although an online option may be available to them, people are still standing in line to receive their government services. “Instead of hiding, let’s proudly promote ‘modern government’,” he wrote, “taking full advantage of the cost-saving opportunities (and...
 
It’s the last week of November! We hope everyone’s been bundling up warm! We’ve had a lot of content this week, so we drew up this handy list for you in case you missed anything. It’s perfect for evenings huddled by the fireplace. In September, John Wilkins wrote a piece – Does Blueprint 2020 hold Wouters? – that has since...
 
We keep hearing about how governments don’t appreciate their employees, so it’s always nice to hear stories that go against this notion. Case in point: The government of Manitoba celebrated its first Nurse Practitioner Day last week . To commemorate the occasion, the ministers of health and of education and advanced learning announced that 30 newly funded nurse practitioner positions have been created...
 
Note that while I work as a public servant, this is entirely my own initiative and what I post here does not necessarily reflect the view of the government, my office or my position therein. The stretch assignment is defined by Bersin by Deloitte as “a project or task given to employees which is beyond...
 
Did you miss any of our content this week? Have no fear – we’ve got it all here. Who says it’s not easy being green? Representatives from five Canadian cities weigh in on what their municipalities have been doing for the environment. Green for good: Steve Glover, senior VP and head of Compugen Finance and the Green4Good program, talks about BC Hydro’s disposal of IT assets. Greening government’s grey fleet : Stacey Perlmutter, strategic sales manager, Canada, for Enterprise...
 
Confessions of a Public Service Manager In my first supervisory position, I inherited a clerk who had been with the organization a long time, and who had passed his best before date. Everyone knew this, and told me it had been this way for years. But when I pulled his personnel file, I saw only...
 
Canada Health Infoway has been awarded the Global Project Management Office of the Year Award (PMO), making it both the first Canadian organization as well as the first government funded recipient in the award’s history. The PMO, given by the Project Management Institute (PMI), recognizes one organization each year for its accountability to taxpayers. Infoway...
 
I’ve written previously questioning whether change is such a good thing. Even significant positive changes – innovations – require a period of transition before they become the ‘new normal.’ Managing those transitions is key to ensuring lasting change, but it isn’t easy. One of the challenges of change management is that the leader’s change wave leaves...
 
The government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is looking to provide French services for the territory’s francophone community, and representatives from the Francophone Affairs Secretariat and the Fédération franco-ténoise (FFT) will be meeting with residents of four communities to talk to them about the government’s Strategic Plan on French Communications and Services. Although plans are...
 
Winter is coming! We hope you bundled up warm this week. You know what else goes well with winter and bundling up? A nice, hot coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate), a cozy armchair (or desk chair…), and a blog post dedicated to all the content we’ve put out this week. Jeffrey Roy, a professor...
 
We tend to talk a lot about partnership here at Canadian Government Executive. If you look at our website, you’ll find a panoply of stories on the topic – because we believe partnership is necessary to everything from sound decision-making to the provision of services. A story out of New Brunswick this week is a...
 
Zombie (noun): … person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less; a person whose behavior or responses are wooden, listless, or seemingly rote; automaton. Often wondered at the prevalence of zombie movies? They seem to be as pervasive as the living dead themselves. Not only are there the doomsday scenarios, hero-saves-the-world memes and...
 
Over the years I have had the chance to reflect upon lessons from quite a few successful and unsuccessful projects.  One of the more significant things that I have been lucky enough to be involved with is helping to bring the Government of Canada GC2.0 Tools (GCPedia and GCConnex) to life in 2007.  Since then,...
 
We’ve had a lot of interesting articles this week. Did you miss any of them? Don’t worry – we’ve got them all rounded up here for you: David Zussman talks about the challenge for Blueprint 2020. A Long Way Gone: John Wilkins blogs about Canada’s involvement in Commonwealth politics , and why we need to keep an eye on the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Roy...
 
Recently, I had the opportunity to virtually attend Impact 99 , an HR Summit held in Toronto. I’ve been to conferences before where I have been inspired afterwards, but this one was different. It really challenged the status quo and broke down the mental models. The speakers were engaging, the stories were powerful, the ideas were fresh,...
 
In an October 16, 2013 article (“Service Ontario’s web failing to attract users”), the Toronto Star reported that even John Milloy, Government Services Minister (with responsibility for Service Ontario) didn’t know that he could review his vehicle sticker online.  As someone who also recently renewed my vehicle sticker, I’m not entirely surprised.  Although I was...
 
Stephen Harper’s bullish foray into Commonwealth politics is a late entry in this long-running saga.  His boycotting of mid-November’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo and his threat to rescale Canada’s £10 million in annual funding are attributed to Sri Lanka’s human rights record.  Canada may also be carrying a message on behalf of...
 
Hello, all! We have a list of everything we’ve been talking about this week, just in case you missed something: Jodi LeBlanc talks about how the government can make smarter use of technology through Blueprint 2020. An excerpt from Tax is Not a Four-Letter Word , a new book edited by former Clerk Alex Himelfarb and his son Jordan. Ray Edwards, director general, Service and Program Excellence Directorate, for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, talks about an app people can use to access agricultural programs and services. Editor-in-chief...
 
I was thinking the other day, while I sat in my French as a second language class, what will bilingualism look like in 20 years? You see, I have more than 20 years left before I am eligible for retirement. I quickly note that fact each year my pension statement arrives. I can already access...
 
Happy Friday, everyone! Did you miss any of our content this week? If so, look no further; we’ve got it all listed here for you. Jeffrey Roy, a professor in the School of Public Administration at Dalhousie University, talked about how we can move from open data to open democracy . Soussan Tabari, CIO for Ontario’s learning ministries, discussed the modernization of student aid and the overhaul of OSAP . Elizabeth Denham, BC’s Information and...
 
The passage of the Safe Food for Canadians Act in November 2012 set the stage for important changes to Canada’s food safety system. The Act will come into force at the beginning of 2015, and over the next two years the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will work with consumer groups and industry to develop new regulations to support the...
 
Change seems to be everywhere in Canada’s federal public service lately. Everything from  performance managementdisability managementsick leave , pensions , and more are under the microscope. An entire national conversation ( Blueprint 2020 ) circles around innovation and change. For some public servants,  recent changes were sudden, intense, and life-altering . For the rest of us we feel like pieces on a massive board game – sometimes...
 
Mel Cappe, former Clerk of the Privy Council, was at the University of Ottawa on Monday to give a lecture on the supply and demand of ideas and how it can affect the policy-making process. The lecture, presented by the Public Policy Forum, was the first in a series that will take place at universities...
 
Last month, we posted a poll on Canadian Government Executive that asked the question, “Do you think your input into Blueprint 2020 will make a difference?” Well, the results are in, and more than half of you – 51.5 percent – voted “No.” A little more than 30 percent of you voted “Yes”, and 18.4 percent of...
 
The future of mobile was a huge topic of discussion at last week’s GTEC 2013. Scott Ball, country manager of Motion Computing, said that mobile devices can be hugely beneficial to emergency response and field workers in the public service. “Pen and paper is still our biggest competition,” he said. “But what you can’t do...
 
The giraffe is a funny-looking animal. It has a very long neck and huge eyes. To an observer who is used to different proportions and colours, the giraffe is a ridiculous-looking animal. But these traits give the giraffe two adaptations that public servants could learn from. Long necks allow giraffes to eat leaves off treetops,...
 
The long Thanksgiving weekend is upon us! Before you go, make sure you haven’t missed any of our content this week: Marc Angers, a senior communications advisor for the government of New Brunswick, on New Brunswick’s new electronic library . Liseanne Forand, the president of Shared Services Canada, talks about how the project has progressed in the two years since its inception . Editor-in-chief Toby Fyfe on why government must embrace the changes that technology will bring to the way we do our work  and says we have reason to celebrate despite the US government shutdown . Tom...
 
On Monday night, we gathered at the Ottawa Convention Centre to watch GTEC give out its Distinction Awards in six categories to teams and individuals on the federal, provincial and municipal levels. People had come out dressed in their finest – tuxedos, little black dresses, and evening gowns – to celebrate the transformative work their...
 
In 2006, a new budget watchdog, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, was created under the Federal Accountability Act to improve the transparency and credibility of the Canadian Government’s fiscal forecasting and budget planning.  The mandate was to provide parliamentarians with independent information and advice on economic, fiscal, and budget issues. Kevin Page was appointed as the...
 
Five years ago I took a Career Pathways course that discussed the value of having a career portfolio. I had heard of portfolios before but always thought they were for artists and photographers – not for public servants. A portfolio is a living and changing collection of records that reflect our accomplishments, skills, experiences, and...
 
On returning from the Joint Councils meetings in Fort McMurray, I came away with the distinct impression that Canadian governments are moving forward collectively on a number of initiatives.  “Collectively” doesn’t mean that all governments are on board with each initiative or that they are all moving at the same pace.  But in each case,...
 
It’s Friday! Here’s our roundup of everything we’ve been talking about this week: Patti Giberson and Alisa Neuman talk about policy in a POD : how has the government of Alberta been encouraging discussion of policy development? Lisanne Lacroix, CEO of APEX, talks about the impact of work on executive health . Why is it important for all of us that government executives stay healthy?...
 
As of last week, residents of Newfoundland and Labrador can order birth, marriage and death certificates online. Previously, residents who wished to order certificates could only do so in person, by fax, or by snail mail. Newfoundland and Labrador is the third Atlantic province to make this service available online, and the eighth in the...
 
Hello all. This post will be the first of a recurring series. I searched the Government of Canada web archive for interesting articles and papers. After providing some historical context and a quick summary, I will then ask the readers to consider if the ideas posed are still relevant. Also, are there new ideas to augment the findings? The first...
 
Ms. Amanda Lang, CBC Senior Business Correspondent and co-host of its popular daily business journal “The Lang and O’Leary Report”, has been touting Canada’s lack of innovation and its negative impact on productivity for years now. Earlier in 2013, the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum concluded that Canada’s performance growth is at its lowest in...
 
Is it Friday already? We’ve had a lot of content this week. If you’ve missed any of it, you can check the links below. Robert Thompson, former Clerk of the Executive Council and Secretary to Cabinet in Newfoundland, talks about policy capacity and why it needs to be a leadership priority . In his blog post, Thom Kearney says it is necessary to believe in things like Blueprint 2020 – because only by believing can we...
 
An article in this week’s Harvard Business Review touts the importance of taking time to solve a problem . The authors contend that an in-depth analysis of a problem – and a greater amount of time spent in the “problem space” rather than the “solution space” – can encourage innovation and outside-the-box thinking. They suggest that when people race to find...
 
Today’s Canadian Public Sector Quality Association (CPSQA) meeting in Ottawa featured a workshop by Craig Szelestowski, president of Lean Agility, on building buy-in and execution in quality improvement projects. Szelestowski stressed the importance of three key elements needed to acquire results from an idea: quality of idea, desire or buy-in of necessary stakeholders, and ability...
 
I’m either the best person, or the worst person, to talk about relationships at work. On the one hand, I have a robust professional network: a couple thousand managers, supervisors, and aspiring leaders across government connect with me regularly. I have a newsletter with 1,700 subscribers, and I routinely get calls for advice, information, and...
 
You know, I have been around long enough to know better, but still choose to believe in stuff like Blueprint 2020 , because change can’t happen unless we believe it can. Don’t get me wrong, I am no Pollyanna and healthy scepticism is, well, healthy, but seriously, the first step to making anything happen is believing that it...
 
Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! We produced a lot of content this week, so if you missed any of it, have no fear. We’ve got them all listed here for you: Our columnist David Zussman talks about the need for Senate reform . Associate editor Chris Thatcher talks to Rear-Admiral Patrick Finn about the changing role of the Material Group at the Department of National Defence . Editor-in-chief Toby Fyfe speaks with Deputy Minister Robert...
 
Last night, we attended the welcoming reception for honourees of the GTEC Distinction Awards at the Ottawa Convention Centre. Three-hundred public servants attended; of those 300, 220 were honourees. A total of 39 teams and three individuals were chosen to receive an award. Corinne Charette, CIO, was there to deliver a speech congratulating everyone on...
 
September brings fresh starts and new beginnings, so it was very timely that I decided to take a vacation day to re-examine my goals and priorities.  I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed the past few weeks, as I had been juggling a lot between my day job, volunteer work and home life. So I first started...
 
It’s hard to admit when the things we’re doing aren’t going as well as planned. Most of us tend to take it personally, like the failure somehow reflects poorly on our worth as human beings. So we begin to fear failure, and we convince ourselves that the work is only worth doing if we can...
 
It’s Friday already! If you’ve missed any of this week’s content on our site or blog, have no fear; we’ve rounded up all of our stories here for you. Editor-in-chief Toby Fyfe blogs about the need for visionary leadership in the National Capital Commission. How can we make Ottawa great? John Wilkins, associate director with the Public Management program at York University’s Schulich School of Business, asks:...
 
Just like mushrooms, networks are popping up everywhere; they proliferate after the rain, few offer true nutritional value, and some of them might be poisonous. We can now find networks of networks that try and help us network! Networks sprout up because there is an underlying assumption that they can solve most of our public...
 
If you want to talk about leadership, ask yourself: where is it when it comes to our nation’s capital? This article got me thinking about visionaries, leadership and goals for our national capital…and the faded glory that was once the National Capital Commission. And this article added some more fuel to the fire: It’s Time to Renovate Our Capital . As the government...
 
Clerk of the Privy Council Wayne Wouters advocates the need for “… a clear and shared vision of what Canada’s Public Service should become in the decades ahead.”  Dubbed Blueprint 2020, senior leaders developed and are marketing the vision of a revitalized, world-class public service through employee engagement and public consultation.  Cynics might ask if...
 
“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Do you have a favourite quote you’d like to share?...
 
Another week has drawn to a close! If you’ve missed any of our content, you need look no further. We have it all here: Associate editor Chris Thatcher promotes IBM Smart Cities Whitepapers – you can register for them on our website by clicking on this link . Editor-in-chief Toby Fyfe talks about the need for governments to leverage their core competencies more effectively if they wish to remain competitive. Biologist...
 
“We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects.” Alexis de Tocqueville Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?...
 
“Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.” Earl Wilson Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?...
 
Note that while I work as a public servant, this is entirely my own initiative and what I post here does not necessarily reflect the view of the government, my office or my position therein. Hello all. Welcome to my first monthly blog post with Canadian Government Executive . I will start off with a post on tools...
 
“Honesty is the key to a relationship. If you can fake that, you’re in.” Richard Jeni Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?...
 
“The problem with people with no vices is that, generally, you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.” Elizabeth Taylor Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?...
 
As human beings, it can often be difficult for us to acknowledge when we have made a mistake. We would rather save face and maintain the illusion that we’re right than salvage a situation that is swiftly turning catastrophic. Such mistakes may not have severe ramifications in our personal lives, but in our professional lives,...
 
“Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure. It does mean you haven’t succeeded yet.” Robert Schuller Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?...
 
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.” Albert Einstein Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?...
 
Make mistakes, but don’t overdo it. “If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by a spectacular error.” J.K. Galbraith Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?...
 
Did you miss any of our posts this week? No need to worry – we’ve got a list of them here! Editor-in-Chief Toby Fyfe blogs from IPAC 2013 about eliminating corruption in Quebec and rebuilding trust with the public. Inspector (Ret.) Lance Valcour talks about the roadmap for public safety communications. George Wenzel blogs about the difference between praise and feedback, and why the latter is preferable. Toy Fyfe talks about how Blueprint 2020 has raised our expectations for change. Staff writer Amy Allen outlines the benefits of working from home and talks about...
 
“The person who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.” Edward John Phelps, 1889 Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?...
 
“Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts.” Nikki Giovanni Do you have any favourite quotes you’d like to share?...
 
I’d like to think that I do good work. Unfortunately, though, I also think most of it is crap. I’m my worst critic, and praising me doesn’t help much. Here’s what I hear: “Good George! Such a good boy! Keep up the great work!” This makes me feel like a puppy, not a professional. If...
 
It’s an appropriate topic for the IPAC 2013 conference…rethinking public administration. Especially because of where it’s happening: in Montreal which – in a significant understatement – has been dealing with difficult public administration issues lately. Those ‘difficult issues’, of course, are being detailed by the Charbonneau Commission and speak to widespread corruption in the province,...
 
Did you miss any of our posts this week? Don’t worry — we have a complete list here: Editor-in-chief Toby Fyfe blogs about the notion of the leader as chef d’orchestre , and the possibility that anyone can be an effective leader. Former public servant Tabatha Soltay blogs about boxes – how they constrain us, how we make them our own, and, ultimately, how she broke free of hers. Toby Fyfe on the idea of the research unit, and how it can help city councils make responsible decisions about municipal growth. Andrea Charron,...
 
There is an unfortunate divide between academics and practitioners in the public management field. Academics often view practitioners as myopic and slavish to narrow and immediate political pressures. Practitioners often see academics as dreamy theorists who have no grasp of management realities. There are lots of exceptions to this of course – practitioners who have...
 
“As she frequently remarked when she made any mistake, it would all be the same a hundred years from now.” Charles Dickens, 1839 Do you have a favourite quote you’d like to share with us?...
 
“But as to this retirement business, let me give a word of advice to all of you young people around fifty. Some of you have been talking of it and even looking forward to it. Have nothing to do with it. Listen; it’s like this. Have you ever been out for a late autumn walk...
 
I used to joke that boxes are for storing stuff, not people. During my nine years as a public servant, I permitted the box to define me. I saw the walls of my box closing in around me. I became my box and accepted that it could tell me what I could be.  I had...
 
“All this progress is marvelous. Now if only it would stop.” Allan Lamport, mayor of Toronto, 1950 Do you have a favourite quote you’d like to share?...
 
What word is even more ubiquitous in government circles than “change”? I would argue that it’s “leadership.”  As governments move through change, including downsizing and retirements that are stripping away senior managerial experience, the task of preparing new executives for leadership positions is top of mind. In the old days, we thought leaders were born,...
 
It’s been an exciting week! Our blog has only been live for three days, but the response to it has been overwhelming. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed their time, knowledge, and writing talents to this project. As always, comments are welcome – this is your space and we want to hear what...
 
“True progress can come only as the result of thoughtful, continuous, co-operative effort. This progress will necessarily be slow, but it must be continuous. Nothing can hinder it more than the mistakes of thoughtless impatience.” Henry Wise Wood, president of the United Farmers of Alberta, 1919 Do you have a favourite quote you’d like to...
 
“I will make mistakes, but I hope it will be said of me when I give up the highest honour that you can confer on any man, as was said of another in public service: ‘He wasn’t always right; sometimes he was on the wrong side, but never on the side of wrong.’ That is...
 
“Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess which will itself need reforming.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1815 Do you have a favourite quote you’d like to share?...
 
He blew up the factory! Jack Welch, as CEO of General Electric for two decades, grew the company to be the biggest in the world (before Microsoft and Google) and was voted “CEO of the Century” by his peers in the year 2,000. But when he was 25 and a young engineer at GE, he...
 
Welcome to our new blog. You found us… Our blog has a simple purpose: to provide a forum so you can be part of a shared discussion on everything from the challenges you’re experiencing as a public servant to the issues facing a changing public sector. Our goal is also simple: that you will create,...
 
Since the Clerk’s Blueprint 2020 launch in June, departments have been working full steam ahead on their employee engagement activities and action plans. Last week I had the opportunity to facilitate an employee consultation session with seven regional offices. The wealth of ideas, knowledge and insights from employees on how to evolve the public service of the...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
By: Patrice Dutil The MindLab meets every expectation you might have about a post-modern Danish institution that would dare sport such a title. Nestled on the ground floor of a rather non-descript building that contrasts cruelly with Copenhagen’s old stock exchange (the “Børsen”) across the street, the MindLab presents itself as a deep, white rectangle....