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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.

Regardless of what public servants work on, their professional stream, or location, the points raised during the latter part of the morning are at the very heart of what keeps policy makers awake at night:

  • How do we get people to care enough and change a behaviour?
  • Can we create a group mentality around an issue, and make it large enough that its importance shows?
  • Can we show more clearly what’s feasible, what’s possible, what are the options?
  • Are we perhaps enamoured with doing innovation for the sake of innovation and forgetting to communicate why it’s important to try something new to get a different result?

And then we talked about “humanness”.
Do we have the safe space needed to help those struggling feel understood? Supported?
What if organizations had empathy champions: people who can create the safe space needed to do the work that expands the social norms to become more supportive, and more human?

Once more, as participants are learning, we are all learning too.

Policy Horizons Canada, also referred to as Horizons, is an organization within the federal public service that conducts strategic foresight on cross-cutting issues that informs public servants today about the possible public policy implications over the next 10-15 years.

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