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.
… 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.
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.”
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.
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.”