Friday, May 26, 2017

When fearless advice gives way to loyal implementation

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

A while back I was on a road trip with Todd Julie, we were in Guelph delivering a workshop to the city under the joint masthead of the Institute on Governance and the Govlab at NYU (Alan Kantrow was co-delivering with us).

Todd and I went out one evening and got to talking. We talked about a number of things - including why 1993 might be the best year ever for music, likely because of where we were as angry youth at the time. But one thing that Todd said stuck out above all else. It was a quote from the film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind:
When you are young, your potential is infinite. You might do anything, really. You might be Einstein. You might be DiMaggio. Then you get to an age where what you might be gives way to what you have been. You weren't Einstein. You weren't anything. That's a bad moment.
In the moment it was an incredibly potent and raw statement. We were talking about our lived experience and the way he related his to the quotation to made it immediately visceral. It's feeling I've carried with me ever since.

More recently, I was in a room with folks who spend more of their time at the coalface between fearless advice and loyal implementation and someone I trust and admire professionally said something very similar. She said:
There's two realities here. There's the best public policy advice and there's the political imperative, and right now the former is giving way to the latter.
She said it to a room full of people more senior than I but looked directly into my eyes without once breaking eye contact. The message was clear, the time for fearless advice has passed, we were now onto loyal implementation.

There's no grandiose lesson here, I was just struck by the parallel.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Project update: governance in the digital age

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

I've been slacking on posting here for a couple weeks - I've been writing long sections of a research project that I'll chunk up into smaller posts later (I usually work for the Government of Canada; I'm on interchange to Public Policy Forum for a year). Though my once weekly rhythm seems to be long gone regardless, perhaps for the better. With my apologies for the occasional mammothly long post.

I wrote a project update over on the Forum's Medium channel, if you're curious: Governance in the digital age. There's a lot left out that makes me think "How can I write about this and not mention [thing]?", but a lot had to hit the cutting room floor - my first draft was 11 pages and this is it whittled down to two.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Gov't Cool? Recalling AT-ATs vs Programming Jedis

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

So yesterday was May the 4th -- or for many Starwars Day. Transport Canada marked the occasion by issuing a recall on AT-ATs (a popular vehicle from the Starwars universe) as did many other departments and agencies.

What I find interesting about the release isn't the release itself but rather how the reaction(s) to it differ from other recent attempts to introduce levity to the government space. I'm mainly thinking of recent job postings for "issues ninjas" and "programming jedis" as a point for comparison.

The radio coverage of the recall this morning (on Live 88,5) was laid back and upbeat, by all accounts it was a good news story of how government can still be cool, hip, and plugged into the zeitgeist. By comparison the online reaction to the job postings (at least inside my filter bubble) was mostly negative. Lots of facepalms and references to it being out of date and out of touch.

I guess the main thing I'm interested in here, is where's the line if any? Why do some attempts at this sort of levity land better than others?

People seem to have strong views, what are yours? I'm very curious.