I’ve been blogging periodically here on open.canada.ca, but felt it was time for something a bit different. What I would like to start doing is providing a regular update on what I’m up to, what my team is working on, and the direction of IT for the Government of Canada.
So starting today, you’re going to see regular blogs from me, here on open.canada.ca. I’ve always been a champion of Open by Default, and I hope this space will serve as an expansion of that.
ICA Conference, Tokyo, Japan.
Back in the summer I was asked to attend the annual ICA Conference, which took place in Tokyo, Japan, and focused on Bold Digital Government: Leading through Disruption. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend, as I was participating in our first ever Open by Default procurement pilot project in Waterloo, ON.
In lieu of travelling to Japan, I was asked to do a quick video to provide an update on what the Government of Canada was doing, and how the government was adapting to new technologies. The video that you see here is just a portion of the full video presentation.
I wanted to also share a few key points from the video that I think are extremely important for civil servants and members of a digitally enabled society to keep in mind.
Process never tops leadership
Processes can be helpful, but they shouldn’t top good judgement, and they shouldn’t top true leadership. If there’s something we as the Government of Canada should be doing, or people we should be empowering, process is never a good reason to say no.
Yes, the Government of Canada is a large institution, and with that size comes processes and approvals. But we can also be adaptive, responsive, and agile. Our success, and really our relevance to Canadians, depends on this.
Breaking down barriers
You’re going to start hearing us talk about exponential more; it means doing more things with more people. It actually means removing the barriers to access government, whether you’re municipal, provincial or federal, or working together with a whole bunch of other industries.
Two ways that we’re doing this right now are through the creation of both a Digital Youth Advisory Committee (#DigitalYAC) and a Digital Advisory Board. The Digital Youth Advisory Committee was launched to ensure that the Government of Canada is integrating the youth perspective into digital initiatives across the Government of Canada. The Digital Advisory Board is a new space for government to interact with experts in the public and private sector, where we can seek strategic and informal advice on digital government, and digital transformation.
Women in tech
Does the Government of Canada have the right levels of representation of women in tech? Do we, as an organization, have the right diversity of opinion? Do we have enough youth in the environments that we work in right now? To me, the answer is not yet.
We also need to learn how to better celebrate our own people, and put them on track to lead the public service of tomorrow. This means providing a pathway to IM/IT leadership, and it means showcasing the stories of our top talent so that people contemplating a career in the public sector can see firsthand the many diverse career paths that successful leaders in the government IM/IT community take.
Let’s keep this conversation going
As said, this is the first of many blogs to come. I hope you found this informative and inspiring.
There’s a comment box below, or you can email the Open Government team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex Benay currently serves as the Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada. Prior to this appointment, Alex was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation since July 2014.
From 2011 to 2014, he was Vice-President of Government Affairs and Business Development at OpenText. He has played a leadership role in Canada’s digital industry, as well as in promoting the global shift to digital in organizations such as the G20, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Olympics. Before joining OpenText, Alex managed various teams and programs at the Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Library and Archives Canada.