What has changed? (now with answers)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

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

We have a tendency to focus on our to-do lists, and summarily wipe from memory those items we've accomplished and crossed off. So a couple weeks ago I asked "What has changed?" - referring to the public service - and invited people to reflect on the crossed-off items in their experience. Things that may seem small on their own, but combined with every other tiny step represent a lot of growth and change.

The invitation was both rhetorical and literal, and I'd like to share back some of answers people shared. Thank you to everyone who weighed in.

  • My workplace includes the technology - and crucially, the culture - to run full-scale meetings with colleagues anywhere if we choose to work remotely. - me
  • The idea that data is an integral piece of evidence-based decision-making is now de rigeur and widely accepted. - Sameer Vasta
  • Too many public servants to count on Twitter. More importantly, I no longer see anyone saying that they shouldn’t be. - Gray O’Byrne
  • I don’t know that I’m thinking “change”, because it’s not entirely different from 5 years ago, more so “evolved”. So what has evolved over the past few years?
    • Higher tolerance for reputational risks.
    • Increased demand for data-backed tactics/strategies. 
    • Growing recognition that work/life balance is largely a myth for knowledge workers.
    • Note: We’re not fully there yet, just baby stepping. - Nelly L
  • As a non-PS, open data and crowdsourcing social media has made it a lot easier to find individuals who know (or are in charge of) things and ask them directly what it is you want to know. Having written numerous grants, knowing more than just the barebones about a process because you could find a person involved makes the grants stronger and outcomes so much better.) More people than just the ultra-connected can now skip the nameless and generic email/phone lines and shorten the timeframe to as clear an answer as you can get. Huge value to business/the public if this skill becomes mainstream. - David Fleming
  • Last year I published a post called “Open Government is Trending.” It highlights some of the great things I’ve noticed in government: http://myeinsteinjob.blogspot.ca/2015/01/open-government-is-trending.html - Richard Pietro
  • Policy on Acceptable Network and Device Use, implemented in October 2013, includes a requirement to ensure that authorized users (employees) have open access to web 2.0 “tools and services that enhance productivity, communication and collaboration” [http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=27122] - Terry Kelly
  • I see increased recognition that good policy-making is done by engaging stakeholders - which can be internal or external (and each type presents its own challenges) - which in turn gives greater value to the effort required to effectively engage stakeholders. There’s a price to pay in time and in information shared.  

Note: I did omit a few additions (some negative), only because there's a difference between a public Google doc and a blog post to which I'm going to draw attention and I wanted to err on the side of caution for others. Interestingly, one of those omissions was pretty much the polar opposite to the bullets on how the PS has "evolved." - Kent