Friday, February 5, 2010

Column: With a Little Help From My Friends

Last week, the Web 2.0 Practitioner's (W2P) Community (of which I am a part) held its informal mixer as it does every 3 weeks. I happened to be on point for organizing the event this time, although truth be told I couldn't have done it without a little help from my friends.

Lend Me Your Ears and I'll Sing You a Song

Looking back I think the event was a huge success. There were approximately fifty people in attendance, a book exchange and the Clerk of the Privy Council, Wayne Wouters, came by, donned a nametag and introduced himself around. For those of you who don't know, the Clerk of the Privy Council is the most senior non-political official in the Government of Canada.

While I only managed to speak to him for a few minutes, it was a rewarding experience and firmed up what I had been hearing around town - that he has a keen interest in the confluence of the web and the public service. His interest, signaled by his attendance, is something we can all look to for encouragement and is coincidentally the reason I smiled the whole way home that night. Given what I have written previously about the risks of public servants innovating in the absence of leadership, the support of the most senior public servant moving forward is paramount. The Clerk's presence, coupled with some other moving and shaking that I have been privy to, make me feel as though we are turning an important corner.

Moving forward, I think one of the biggest wins out of the Clerk's appearance is leverage. If the Clerk can find time in his busy schedule to stop by and check in with the W2P community after hours, then surely other senior leaders can find time to discuss the use of Web 2.0 technologies during work hours, and when the time comes, make sure to try not to sing out of key.