As recently reported by the Canadian press, the Privy Council Clerk, who heads the public sector in the country, called for modernizing the workplace, making reference to the role of web 2.0 technology to improve knowledge sharing and to the changing expectations and behaviors of new generations of government employees.
Over the last several months I have had several occasions to interact with officials in the Canadian federal government, including executives at the Privy Council, and I have greatly appreciated their willingness to explore the potential of new and disruptive technologies and expose it to the most senior officials, for them to take action.
It seems to me that the fact that the head of all government employees takes a stance in favor of leveraging these technologies is even more important than a prime minister doing so. The message carry a strength that goes beyond the political message and goes to the heart of what public service is about.
In many cases government 2.0 has a strong political connotation. For instance, in the US, the federal government has taken action as a consequence of the President’s drive with his executive orders, and he has appointed executives who were already enthusiastic supporters of open government and social media. In the Canadian case, the message comes from within the “machinery of government” and recognizes the centricity of employees in the transformation process.
This is essential for making change survive to the current excitement of the “openness” season, focusing it on how to make government a more efficient and stimulating place to work, irrespective of the political color of whoever is in office.