Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Quick Note on a Public Service Highlight

by Kent Aitken RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Kent Aitkentwitter / kentdaitkengovloop / KentAitken

For my first four years in the public service, I worked for what is known as a Common Service Organization: a government department that provides services to other government departments. It has only been in the last approximately 18 months that I've held a position with public-facing elements.

Over the weekend I traveled to Vancouver for the CODE Hackathon, a competition based on the creative use of Government of Canada open data. We logged the better part of a week's work from Friday night to Sunday night, supporting participants and learning from them. It was fantastic. 

A while back I wrote that "Ottawa, the concept, needs to spend more time out of Ottawa, the city", an idea reinforced by every opportunity to do so. I went from reading daily media monitoring reports to a room seemingly exempt from politics. I realized that participants were downright excited that the Government of Canada, of all entities, would be interested in the works that they accomplished. And I got to see, firsthand, what many public servants' hard work meant for people on the ground.

A post like this would, stylistically, merit a pithy observation at this point. Something like "We need more of that/X". But my purpose for sharing is stylistically boring, as a combination of many things: a reminder that the cynics about the public service are louder than those content with it, a note that government does interesting things, and an expression of appreciation for being a part of them.

Unrelated: hackathons are basically Mac advertisements.

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