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Dear Government and Public are catching-up!

Thoughts from my experience at #FWD50 2019

This week I had the pleasure of attending the #FWD50 Conference in Ottawa. The Conference Organizers had laid out a great combination of keynote speakers, break-outs, meet-ups and workshops which provided shock, thought-leadership, inspiration and an inclusive environment. The venue was welcoming, flexible - featured a round keynote stage and a noticeably absent gauntlet of vendors with hard-sell and swag-grabfests, keeping the tone focused on collaboration.

Key take-aways:

1) The notions of Service Design and Product Management are front of mind:

To my public sector peers - you aren't that far behind industry - in fact, one could argue you are on par! Many private sector organizations struggle with Product Definition, Identifying, Fulfilling and Monetizing Services. Personally, looking back to my CATSA and uOttawa days, I think it's easier in Public Sector - you aren't needing to deal with commoditization, partner challenges and unreasonable share-price targets.

Many of the facilitators were on track speaking when they highlighted:

- Focus on the team and delivery not the individual project.

- It's about understanding the risks that you are trying to mitigate or leverage.

- Involve the end customers/consumers of your offers early and don't lose sight of their outcomes.

- Integrate your technical teams and hold them account of the experience.

Private Sector Advice: Just don’t launch it and forget it! Keep refining and consulting those you serve. Their needs or the environment in which they consume your offers may evolve with greater frequency than you will anticipate.

2) Civic technology stems from a community need and is a grass-roots effort: was an impressive collaboration of many organizations coming together to provide New York tenants with a Voice to fight pest, heating, mold and unfair evictions.

The Government of Argentina zoomed in on basic citizen services such as health and education to drive it's technology investments: every citizen having access to online services and a digital identity.

3) There is more education and work to be done around misinformation, propaganda, data void, privacy and cyber-threats.

There must be more done to ensure the rights of individuals are protected when we consider user agreements - we own our own data and have a right to privacy. We must zoom in legislatively here especially for children and others who are not as familiar with tech or have barriers to using it.

4) Common platforms are absent, Open Data and API and Blockchain can be leveraged:

It's known, but one of the largest barriers continues to be the lack of a unified strategy for systems and platforms - at municipal, provincial and federal levels. The investment and ability to align all parties is a barrier.

The short-term answer is to continue to focus on building end to end journeys where hand-offs can be seamless.

The long-term answer is enabling collaboration through open access to data, API and Blockchain.

5) Leverage the entrepreneurial spirit, celebrate and amplify the wins, and continue to forgive the failures for those who innovate in government.

I was impressed with the early adopters embracing bot technology, block-chain and crowd-sourcing. Don't forget to share your outcomes and best practices with others.


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