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Reflections on GovJam and a call for feedback from it's winner

Friday, June 13, 2014
by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

As promised last week I wanted to circle back and share some of my more substantive thoughts on last week's GovJam and share an email from one of it's winners (See: Notes From Ottawa Govjam).


Reflections on Govjam

Remember the hype cycle; today's innovation focus — from behavioural economics to big data (and everything in between)— will inevitably walk the same path as yesterdays push towards social media.

The similarity between the cycles is readily apparent: discussions among early adopters at meet ups on the periphery of our organizations, ideas slowly crossing the chasm, some people falling off, others staking ground and building careers around the ideas/approaches that will eventually (2-3 years from now) will be operationalized to varying degrees within the mainstream, while still others moving on to whatever the next thing is. (See: Blending Public Sentiment, Data Analytics, Design Thinking and Behavioural Economics and More Thoughts on the Copernicus Formula).


The Winner


The Jam's winning entry was a project called Co-create Canada, a platform that seeks to connect engaged citizens more directly to entrepreneurial civil servants. There's a video explaining the concept, but I couldn't find a way to embed it so you will need to click the link above.

One of the group members, John Kenney (a sometimes contributor here), reached out to Kent and I via email to solicit some additional feedback. I'm reproducing that email below and inviting feedback on it on the groups behalf (w.e. with permission). Please feel free to leave a comment on this blog post, fire me or any of the team members listed below a tweet, or email John directly.

[Full disclosure: John's a friend and all around good guy, he asked for my feedback, I asked if I could put it to you, he checked with his team, they said yes.]

The Email ...

Greetings Kent and Nick,

Picking up where GovJam left off, I pitched a Co-Create Canada app idea to the team today. It was well-received, so, honestly, I'd love to get your critical perspectives. Here’s the gist of it.

Co-Create Canada focuses on making connections between change-makers inside and outside government as a first step , which, the theory goes, could help to build relationships and trust leading (potentially) to the co-creation of solutions to achieve desired outcomes.

Along with being the 2014 GovJam theme, “trust” was the topic of conversation among a few people during an intermissions at the last Policy Ignite. Blaise Hebert, a fellow public servant, used dating as an analogy in an effort to simplify the complexity of trust. He recommended thinking about trust in relation to a first date, which got me thinking about connections

What’s one the hottest dating apps going right now that’s simple to use and enabling people to make connections? Tinder.

What if we built a Co-create Canada app prototype based on the Tinder format? We'd test the prototype first, but imagine the scaled up version:
  • Anyone would have access to the app, but it would primarily attract change-makers inside and outside gov (any level really).
  • Instead of profiles of people, the app could host profiles of their projects that they believe would benefit from connecting to people either inside or outside of gov.
  • To post a project, the user would have to provide basic, but compelling info (at least to make that first connection) – e.g. problem, purpose, expected outcomes, why gov or citizen involvement is necessary, location, other partners, etc.
  • Just like with Tinder, the app user could scan projects in their geographical area (or where ever), swiping to the left or right depending on their interest in the project.
  • Connections are made when there’s a match between change-makers inside and outside gov who are interested in the same project.
What do you think? Crazy? Brilliant? Something else entirely? Thanks!

- Hope Harris, Vu NguyenAdamira TijerinoSarah Reda, Janice CudlipRichard Pietro, John Kenney.