CIO Summit recap and links

Yesterday I was part of a panel at the CIO Summit, a conference for CIO’s of the various ministries of the Canadian Government.  There was lots more I would have liked to have shared with the group, so I’ve attached some links here as a follow up for those in (and not in) attendance, to help flesh out some of my thoughts:

1. Doing mini-GCPEDIAcamps or WikiCamps

So what is a “camp“? Check out Wikipedia! “A term commonly used in the titles of technology-related unconferences, such as Foo Camp and BarCamp.” In short, it is an informal gathering of people who share a common interest who gather to share best practices or talk about the shared interest.

There is interest in GCPEDIA across the public service but many people aren’t sure how to use it (in both the technical and social sense). So let’s start holding small mini-conferences to help socialize how people can use GCPEDIA and help get them online. Find a champion, organize informally, do it at lunch, make it informal, and ensure there are connected laptops or computers on hand. And do it more than once! Above all, a network peer-based platform, requires a networked learning structure.

2. Send me a Excel Spreadsheet of structured data sets on your ministries website

As I mentioned, a community of people have launched datadotgc.ca. If you are the CIO of a ministry that has structured data sets (e.g. CVS, excel spreadsheets, KML, SHAPE files, things that users can download and play with, so not PDFs!) drop the URLs of their locations into an email or spreadsheet and send it to me! I would love to have your ministry well represented on the front page graph on datadotgc.ca.

3. Some links to ideas and examples I shared

- Read about how open data help find/push the CRA to locate $3.2B dollar in lost tax revenue.

- Read about how open data needs to be part of the stimulus package.

- Why GCPEDIA could save the public service here.

- Check out Vantrash, openparliament is another great site too.

- The open data portals I referenced: the United States, the United Kingdom, The World Bank, & Vancouver’s

4. Let’s get more people involved in helping Government websites work (for citizens)

During the conference I offered to help organize some Government DesignCamps to help ensure that CLF 3 (or whatever the next iteration will be called) helps Canadians navigate government websites. There are people out there who would offer up some free advice – sometimes out of love, sometimes out of frustration – that regardless of their motivation could be deeply, deeply helpful. Canada has a rich and talented design community including people like this – why not tap into it? More importantly, it is a model that has worked when done right. This situation is very similar to the genesis of the original TransitCamp in Toronto.

5. Push your department to develop an Open Source procurement strategy

The fact is, if you aren’t even looking at open source solutions you are screen out part of your vendor ecosystem and failing in your fiduciary duty to engage in all options to deliver value to tax payers. Right now Government’s only seem to know how to pay LOTS of money for IT. You can’t afford to do that anymore. GCPEDIA is available to every government employee, has 15,000 users today and could easily scale to 300,000 (we know it can scale because Wikipedia is way, way bigger). All this for the cost of $60K in consulting fees and $1.5M in staff time. That is cheap. Disruptively cheap. Any alternative would have cost you $20M+ and, if scaled, I suspect $60M+.

Not every piece of software should necessarily be open source, but you need to consider the option. Already, on the web, more and more governments are looking at open source solutions.

6 thoughts on “CIO Summit recap and links

  1. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  2. Richard Akerman

    David, I think these are all important points, and valuable to raise for that audience of senior managers. I would however like to point out that some in the community of public servants is already ahead of the curve on these.1. A number of Ottawa public servants participated the organisation of ChangeCamp Ottawa, as well as leading or contributing to discussions on the day of the event. Since then, a community of Web 2.0 Practitioners has been having regular informal meetings, and just had its second event, a mix of presentations and discussion circles, all organised by the community and including an opening panel with Corinne Charette, CIO of Canada.There are many opportunities for learning and interaction in Ottawa, which not surprisingly have lots of public servants participating. Most of the events I know by their Twitter hashtags: #w2p meets every three weeks, Social Media Breakfast #smbottawa , Case Study Jam #csjam , #teamcamp , Third Tuesday Ottawa #tto and on and on. As well the local developer community just organised a successful hackfest #opendataottawa. NRCan and my own government organisation have done knowledge cafe style events as well as other unconference type styles. All of which to say: we're not starting from zero. There are public servants who have lots of experience with this type of event.2) We are, as you know, working on official open data activities within the government, but it will take a while before there is a culture of routinely releasing data.3) I think these sites and ideas, including dataDOTgc.ca are helping to raise the visibility of this issue within the government.4) Once again, this model is not unknown and I can see in particular interest arising out of the usability community that is starting to influence CLF. You've probably seen http://ampli2de.com/uxblog/index.php?itemid=52 there's recent news as well http://twitter.com/ResultsJunkie/status/1224154…5) It's not specifically departmental, it's a combination of departments and PWGSC. For many organisations this battle was long ago fought and won – my entire IT shop has been running open source solutions on various flavours of Linux for years. To me the open source battle is pretty old hat, but I do realise that is not universally the case across government. It is very true that we as a government continue to procure e.g. giant complex enterprise collaboration solutions – and worse, a different giant siloed monolithic solution for each different department or sub-department. That been said, there is official work being done both on open source (which is one piece) but also on “procuring” free web solutions (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) – these also require a process to be followed, and that process is being put in place.Thanks again for raising these issues to senior management – the core group of changemakers within the government can always use external support for the work that we're doing.

    Reply
  3. Thom Kearney

    Thanks for this post David, I was not there in person, but you know I was there in spirit. I am very proud of the team I led while at TBS that made GCPEDIA happen, it is proof that change is possible. But the acceptance of an internal open collaboration platform is really only a first step. I am incredibly impressed with the way open data has moved onto the agenda, three months ago it was not being talked about seriously by many executives, now it is. It is the hard work of folks like you and Richard and the many other advocates that did that, and it is that same spirit of positive change that will eventually overcome the bureaucratic inertia. Change really is the only constant, even for the Government.

    Reply
  4. Montgomery Emerson

    If you are looking to move your organization into the 21st century by dumping that old paper based purchasing process, you may be in for a pleasant surprise when it comes to the overall procurement costs.Of course there are many overpriced e-procurement providers that can charge more than the market can stand, but an online web based solution can be very cost effective. Because there is no software or hardware to install, it becomes much easier to implement than applications hosted within your network.Taking steps to replace the 4 part purchase order process will allow the enterprise to become more efficient and still maintain the control points necessary for accountability purposes. Initiating a replacement to the manual paper process does require some change management, but once in place, stakeholders will wonder how they got along without it.Gravity Gardenhttp://gravitygarden.com/procurement-engineerin

    Reply
  5. Montgomery Emerson

    If you are looking to move your organization into the 21st century by dumping that old paper based purchasing process, you may be in for a pleasant surprise when it comes to the overall procurement costs.Of course there are many overpriced e-procurement providers that can charge more than the market can stand, but an online web based solution can be very cost effective. Because there is no software or hardware to install, it becomes much easier to implement than applications hosted within your network.Taking steps to replace the 4 part purchase order process will allow the enterprise to become more efficient and still maintain the control points necessary for accountability purposes. Initiating a replacement to the manual paper process does require some change management, but once in place, stakeholders will wonder how they got along without it.Gravity Gardenhttp://gravitygarden.com/procurement-engineerin

    Reply

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