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Live. Tweet. Learn.

It was not unlike many mornings in the office, save for one thing. As I sat sipping my coffee, responding to emails and completing my daily work, a stream of Twitter notifications lit up my screen. I was left thinking: what had I posted that could possibly generate so much interest? New to the whole idea of tweeting while at work, I was a little apprehensive about checking for fear of falling down a rabbit hole. But I did, and quickly realized the traffic was on a Canada Beyond 150 tweet I had made a few weeks back while I was working with my group in Ottawa. A tweet demonstrating a snippet of the ideas that had sprouted from one conversation and that was taken out of context – not an entirely surprising occurrence on Twitter.

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Live blog from Winnipeg: What’s keeping everyone up at night

Once the intention was set, the conversation turned to focus on policy. Policy, according to Stuart Forestell, one of Canada Beyond 150’s project team designers, is the answer to the question: “what should we do?”.

The room was presented with a scenario concerning an individual with some challenges. The story was designed to help guide the discussion in a focused manner on the traditional and emerging policy tools that can be used or considered. We talked about what can be done, how a shift can be communicated to individuals, businesses, and lawmakers, and what the possible consequences may be.

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Live blog from Winnipeg’s mid-project working meeting: Setting the intention

“As you are learning, we are learning too.”

This was one of the first things the Canada Beyond 150 group heard this morning; a fitting description of the program and the journey so far.

This morning, the discussion was around the pivot point: the shift from foresight and the ideas of many possibilities, into the complex world of concrete considerations, recommendations, and applications.

Given everything heard, learned, taught, and examined over the last few months, what can now be applied to the work participants are doing in their service to Canadians at their respective departments?

What lies ahead is a positive vision of a fully engaged workplace, helped by the knowledge and experience gained by each participant. It’s the time to engage, have conversations, ask, learn, listen and have fun.

Next Stop: Winnipeg

Our participants have set a course for Winnipeg, Manitoba, where they will hold an important work meeting where the teams will start to explore policy challenges and their possible solutions. The participants will also take advantage of this meeting to share their analysis of the theme they studied.

Why Winnipeg?

As Doug Collins said, to change a team you need to change its comfort zone! A comfort zone is like a bubble, a universe that is familiar to us. It’s safe, but it stops at the unknown. It’s important to push the limits in order to grow. The decision to hold the mid-project meeting in Winnipeg was deliberate—first of all, we wanted our participants to meet outside of the National Capital Region, get out of their comfort zone or “bubble” and get comfortable with the unknown to help their professional development.

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Life as a Professional Guinea Pig: Living the Experiment

Retrospectively speaking, my first seven years in the public service have followed a random path: I’ve segued from real property corporate reporting, to IT projects and portfolio management, to working as a Free Agent acting as a federal regulations policy analyst. I’ve also worked on side projects for the government that were driven by my personal passions and interests (like workplace giving, mobile app development, and connecting people through youth networks). As I moved from junior analyst, to project manager, to supervisor, and enjoyed the experiences these positions offered, I realized diversity of experience has been the name of my game, and that experimentation (whether I was the tester or the tested) has been the defining element of that game.

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Policy is an answer…

… to the question, “What should we do?”

We have answers to what we must do. Those are laws and regulations.

And we have answers for how we should do things. We observe, listen, and consult; we engage and design.

Research gives us facts about what we could do, and various approaches to doing it. Analysis tells us whether those approaches are any good or not. They can be qualitative, quantitative, experimental – you name it. But that’s what they do.

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Social Media for Govvys

Social media is an evolving ecosystem that is becoming increasingly important for networking, professional development and personal growth. It has been a game changer for me in my public service career, helping me realize that I have colleagues outside my small work unit in Prince Edward Island that are passionate about making a difference in the public service. If it weren’t for social media magically melting away departmental and regional boundaries, I would not have been able to connect with, and learn from, so many of my Government of Canada colleagues.

As you embark on Canada Beyond 150, I strongly encourage you to be social media ambassadors. Use this unique opportunity to get familiar with social media, to network with experts and those outside of government. Share your journey with colleagues as you collaborate, innovate, share and “work smarter” —beyond organizational and regional boundaries. Your commitment and efforts will help shape and prepare the public service for the workplace of the future.

“Share your journey with colleagues as you collaborate, innovate, share and “work smarter” —beyond organizational and regional boundaries.”

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What’s this all for, really? – A note to Canada Beyond 150 participants from a member of the project design team

As the project work for Canada Beyond 150 kicks off, it’s natural to want to align your efforts to a final product. As participants in a policy development initiative, you might reasonably speculate: Is this about creating a new policy or program? Is this about developing a new tool that could help the Government of Canada better deliver services? Or is this about something different altogether, something that I haven’t yet imagined?

As one of the project planners for Canada Beyond 150, I know that the project is designed to have very real and tangible outcomes. Each of you will help develop policy prototypes to test and refine in collaboration with stakeholders and partners in the civil service and beyond. Along the way, you will also build up your policy knowledge base, assemble a new and innovative toolkit of methods and approaches, and forge enduring relationships with stakeholders and partners.

I will add that there are very likely to be a number of intangible outcomes too. Outcomes that we can’t strictly speaking “plan” for, but outcomes that will contribute to culture change, enhanced capacity in the policy community, and better results for Canadians all the same.

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Welcome to New Participants from a canada@150 Alumni – Jodi LeBlanc

Nine years ago, Jodi LeBlanc was fixing computers and working for the IT Division of Veterans Affairs Canada when she was selected for Canada Beyond 150’s previous initiative, canada@150. At that point in her career, she admits, she didn’t fully understand how government worked as a whole system of interconnected departments, crown corporations and functional communities. Applying to canada@150  would change that.

“It transformed how I looked at the Government of Canada. I was connected to 150 engaged colleagues from across Canada. The experience strengthened my network and reinforced the importance of collaborating across regional and departmental boundaries. The sky is the limit of what you can do when you work with a passion for the Public Service.”

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