What an amazing eight months it has been — lots of wonder, discoveries, new acquaintances, to name a few. Let me explain. I joined Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) in July of 2020. Yes, I changed government departments smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. Some would say that was crazy. I say it was the best decision I could have made. You see, I joined the Digital Innovation Network — a team whose mandate is to enable change in the Department. What better way to start than with a big bang change!
I was brought on to lead a team of explorers who have a curious and visionary mind. A team who not only is hungry to discover new technologies and amazing ways of working, but one who inspires PSPC employees to want to do the same. A team who cares deeply about its clients, aspiring to make life easier for them to achieve success.
I know… You are probably still stuck on “a team whose mandate is to enable change in the Department”. What are we changing you ask, and why? That is the million-dollar question. Picture this…
Just five years ago in 2016, 2.5 billion human beings owned at least one smartphone. In 2021, it has skyrocketed to 3.8 billion people — 48.5% of the world’s population. On top of that, it is estimated that there are now more than 10.24 billion mobile connections worldwide. That’s 2.4 billion more connections than the 7.84 billion people worldwide! Adoption of technology is growing at a crazy exponential rate and it is not stopping.
What makes smartphones so appealing? They are easy to use and offer a ton of apps for just about anything and everything you can think of. You want an app to help manage your budget? You got it. I spent an hour exploring all kinds of budgeting apps until I found the one that had everything I wanted. I didn’t have to wait for days on end, talk to a service representative, or present my requirements. I just knew what I wanted and could get it myself as easily as going out to get a drive thru coffee.
How do technology companies arrive at that place where clients not only use their service, but become loyal followers and spread like a wildfire, like with Android or Apple phones? Their service is useful, simple, easy, and pleasant. Companies do not get there by sheer luck. They get there by thinking and working differently. They identify a gap or a challenge to overcome, they commit to really understanding the people impacted by that gap and they find the right people with an open mind to explore how to fill it. That is what innovation is all about — solving the right problem for the right people, with the right people. That is what we are meant to inspire.
Imagine a government that is consistently sought out for its quality services and high level of customer service. One where its citizens praise it as being an example to follow for the world. Our current system and processes do not support transitioning to such a wonderful state. We must change the way we think and work. We must commit to enabling change — to putting our clients and users first and fill those gaps that are long overdue, through exploration.
What does the journey to this utopian future look like? The Exploration team exists exactly to help figure that out. We explore new ways of working in the government to find what works best. Let’s discover this journey together! Share your experiences below!