Digital Government: Feedback from Canada’s Federal CIOs at this year’s CIO Summit

PrinciplesPhotoLast week we had the pleasure of running a session on the topic of Digital Government at the CIO Summit. In addition to defining why Canada needs a digital strategy, we talked about what needs to change for us to become digital by 2025, who should be involved in developing a digital strategy and what should be our guiding principles.

Before getting into the feedback from the summit participants, I want to reflect on what being truly digital means to Canada. Digital, like electricity before it, has the potential to change the way we run our country and will have an impact on our economy. Today electricity is a ubiquitous part of our life, but imagine the complexity behind coordinating efforts of generating electricity, setting up hydro towers, running hydro into homes and businesses and layering in regulations to protect our environment and our people, and the list goes on… Because digital is such a significant part of our lives already, the notion of developing a digital strategy may seem unnecessary to some, but the analogy of electricity helps to highlight the impending complexity. To have a coordinated approach across all tiers of government and sectors, wouldn’t you agree that having a digital strategy is a good starting point?

At the CIO Summit we collected some great ideas to support us on the road to a digital government strategy. Here are some memorable suggestions in response to our questions:

Why does Canada need a digital strategy?

  • “Because it is 2016!”

What do we need to become in order to take advantage of digital by 2025?

  • “Be bold. Take risks.”
  • “Services across government boundaries.”
  • “We need a clear vision”.
  • “We need a strategy that survives government change”

Who should be involved? Besides the expected public sector stakeholders, we heard:

  • “Our biggest critics”
  • “Start-ups and entrepreneurs”
  • “Associations, like ITAC and international organizations”
  • “Smart kids”
  • “Joint Councils with Federal, Provincial and Municipal membership”

Who should be Canada’s Digital Champion?

  • “An elected official as a figure head”
  • “The Minister of Science to lead a digital caucus”
  • “A Digital Council sponsored by Treasury Board”

What should be our Digital Government Principles?

  • Ubiquitous
  • Organic
  • Faster, agile
  • Self correcting
  • Secure and trustworthy
  • Relevant
  • Machinery neutral
  • Integrated

As we continue on the road to a digital strategy, we invite you to participate in the conversation by joining the Digital Government Canada group on LinkedIn.




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