On 13 July 2017, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat invited the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community to participate in a “Design Jam” as part of the Shape North America 2017 Summit. The session provided 50 of North America’s best and brightest young leaders an opportunity to collaborate with the Government of Canada on ways to address ‘wicked problems’ on engaging youth on open governance; digital services and strategies; the future of talent in government; and advancing global business opportunities for youth.
Adam Moscoe, Shape North America 2017 Vice Chair and a public servant currently working at the Privy Council Office, was pleased to see Global Shapers harnessing their diversity and creativity to offer tangible ideas for innovation in government: “I knew there would be keen interest, but even I was surprised when the Design Jam was oversubscribed just an hour after registration opened”.
The Hon. Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, kicks off the Design Jam on innovation in government with Global Shapers from around the world
The President of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the Honourable Scott Brison, kicked off the afternoon by discussing his experience in government, as well as his professional and personal journey. President Brison was unequivocal: working in the public service offers an unparalleled opportunity to make a positive impact. At the same time, he acknowledged that government still has room to improve on embracing openness and transparency.
Following President Brison’s presentation, the Global Shapers split into four focus groups and engaged in design thinking sessions facilitated by public servants from several federal departments, including Health Canada, Policy Horizons Canada, Service Canada, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Ali Tejpar, Global Shaper and J.D/M.A. candidate at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, noted the breakout sessions provided attendees an unparalleled opportunity to advise the federal government on serving the changing needs of Canadians today. While the Global Shapers in attendance came from many different countries, it was clear that they shared the same commitment to good governance, accountability, openness, and transparency.
Youth engagement on open government
Youth engagement on open government session
In the “youth engagement on open government” session, participants were tasked with coming up with new ways for the Canadian government to disclose relevant government data to the public in the spirit of democracy and transparency. Notable ideas included a natural-language search interface like Google to give citizens relevant information through clear visualizations of data. Other suggestions included using social media services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to proactively publish infographics with timely and relevant information important to the Canadian public. Shapers were supportive of the idea of having the Canadian government publish and respond to requests for data on a dedicated subreddit on Canadian open-data.
David Lawless, Global Shaper and federal public servant, noted that senior officials enthusiastically responded to the Shapers’ pitches: “It’s not every day that you get to hear what young people outside government envision for public service renewal. It was definitely refreshing to see the innovative ideas from youth and I hope that the federal government incorporates these critical insights into its work.”
Service and digital strategies
Service and digital strategies session
In the service and digital strategies session, Global Shapers participated in an accelerated thinking process to reimagine how government could improve its interaction with Canadians when providing public services. To help design ideas, the Shapers developed user personas to identify some typical end-users. Shapers then selected specific government services, like replacing a license or applying for Canadian citizenship, and brainstormed new ways to deliver services based on user needs and preferences.
Mariel Reed, Global Shaper and a Senior Innovation Strategist at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, said, “It was fascinating to be part of this Design Jam. I was really impressed with President Brison’s vision for more responsive government and the corresponding level of openness, creativity, and commitment from the public servants I had the chance to meet. I’m looking forward to seeing Canada lead the way on digital services.”
The Global Shapers were thrilled to participate in the design jam and participate in improving government services. They took note of the Canadian government’s genuine commitment to find innovative solutions to current challenges. Participants were also impressed with the level of engagement senior civil servants brought to the session and their keen interest in learning from the Shapers’ expertise to guide the future of innovation in government services.
David Lawless, Global Shaper, Ottawa Hub
David serves as a Policy Leader (RPL) in the Government of Canada and as an advisor for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
Mariel Reed, Global Shaper, San Francisco Hub
Mariel is a Senior Innovation Strategist at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation.
Ali Tejpar, Global Shaper, Ottawa Hub
Ali is a J.D./M.A. dual-degree candidate at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton University.