Over the course on the last ten months, the Canada Beyond 150 initiative convened a Canada-wide group of new public servants working in various capacities to participate in a professional development program designed to support leadership, and skills development, as well as drive culture shift across the public service.
Author: Policy Horizons Canada
Canada Beyond 150 was a training program designed to help early-career public servants learn new ways of developing policy through increased engagement and collaboration with stakeholders.
Last week was our last official meeting with our Canada Beyond 150 participants, where they presented their policy interventions to managers and stakeholders. On the final day, they had the opportunity to talk about their journey and their ideas with the Clerk of the Privy Council and fifteen Deputy Ministers.
I would like to recognize the hard work and dedication that the @CanadaBeyond150 participants brought to bear in the last 10 months. You have acquired and refined skills that will be crucial in the public service of the future. Kudos! pic.twitter.com/KN2ARTQIGL
— Michael Wernick (@Clerk_GC) March 28, 2018
— Laura Portal (@LauraPortal347) March 27, 2018
Over the past 10 months, Canada Beyond 150 participants have worked on 2 goals:
- Experimenting with new ways to develop policy;
- Learning to co-create and engage with a diverse spectrum of partners during early stages of policy development.
This will bring a positive cultural shift in the public service, and forward-looking insights into some of the most pressing issues facing the Canadian public policy environment.
If you’ve heard of Policy Horizons, you’ve probably heard that we’re a government think tank focused on strategic foresight. We call our experts futurists because they explore a wide range of possible futures – nothing to do with tea leaves ;). They study facts and events called “weak signals”, indicators of possible change that could potentially disrupt our current systems.
So what is foresight? How does it differ from forecasting?!
We recently sat down with canada@150 alumni Mark Matz Executive Director of Oceans Protection Plan Operations at Transport Canada. In the podcast he speaks to his former experience as Privy Council Office’s Project lead of canada@150.
In the podcast he speaks to how canada@150 in its conception back in 2007 was a leadership development program that sought to explore different ways of collaborating, working together and approaching policy problems. In the interview he highlights how canada@150 inspired a technological component to collaboration in the Public Service. He also highlights policy horizon’s instrumental role in piloting foresight as a key tool for policy development.
Transcript available below:
We recently sat down with canada@150 alumni Michael Karlin. In the podcast, he speaks to the foresight tools he learned in canada@150 and how it shaped the work that he does today looking at Artificial Intelligence and the Automation of work for Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Chief Information Officer Branch, where he specializes in Digital Service Policy and Strategy.
In the interview he takes listeners into the future of work. He provokes listeners to think about the importance of foresight in designing policy that can ensure the political class is able to “run the ship far into the future”.
Transcript available below:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”