Top Federal Bureaucrat Embraces Web 2.0 Technology

Well the penny has finally dropped in the federal government…yesireee. The top bureaucrat in the federal government,  privy council clerk Wayne Wouters states that federal government departments have to embrace the web 2.0 tools and technology that the rest of the real world uses . The introduction according to Wouters would allow more collaboration among workers , levels of government and Canadians. Here is the link to the report.

He goes on say in his report to the Prime Minister, “adopting Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis can help us to improve the productivity of our workplaces and better harness the skills and knowledge of public servants across the country. Moreover, the reality is that newer public servants expect an enabling workplace. They will not stay long if we fail to provide one. Canadians also expect the public service to take advantage of new technologies to help meet their needs in new and better ways. Increased innovation will help us become more effective and efficient. We need new ideas, experimentation and better implementation. However, I recognize that it is difficult to innovate when hampered by unnecessary rules. That is why unraveling the web of rules at both the public service and departmental levels must continue.” (Amen)

Well Mr Wouters how about allowing public servants to have access to social media channels. Many of you who don’t work in the federal government, may be surprised to find out that the majority of public servants at all levels have no access to most of the popular social media channels . No this is not China I am talking about but Canada … a country that was once the world leader in E- Government and  is now years behind most industrialized countries especially the USA which is years ahead of us.

This is clearly a result of short sighted senior public service management who are concerned that left to their devices and allowed access to social media sites like Facebook public servants would be spending  a good portion of their  day on a social media site.  As a retired former senior public servant, I find this absolutely regressive old style bureaucratic thinking. I certainly remember in the 1990’s championing the ability for public servants  in my Department  to have access to the Internet. Some of you may find this hard to believe but government departments at the time were charging managers for every internet site accessible to  staff which resulted in only a small percentage of staff having access to the web.

Mr Wouters also discusses the stifling bureaucracy associated with briefing notes (which are rewritten 10 and 11 times due to the ridiculous approval process ).  He also mentions the levels of approvals required to complete simple tasks. In the field of communications and marketing the amount of approvals now required by departments, especially in the past few years is quite unbelievable. This has tremendous impact on productivity, it takes forever to get anything approved and clearly affects the  final product . If you want to see an example of what happens when you have a cumbersome  approval system in the marketing and communications field see

Wouters points out “that government  systems are decades old and in  serious need of modernization to support their  operations. We must be more systematic about how we manage our knowledge and information. These are important government assets that should be captured and shared among individuals and across organizations.” Quite an understatement! Many departments are still working with old versions of Microsoft Office and some are still using Lotus Notes… an abomination .

Finally Wouters states “I encourage deputies, assistant deputy ministers, executives and managers to break down the barriers to effective collaboration,support innovation and the use of technology, and better manage information and knowledge. Enabling people and being more open to new ideas and approaches will be necessary if we are to truly unleash excellence.”

Yes Mr Wouters … Governments have to be open to new ideas, especially when it comes to technology.  You are recruiting thousands of young people in the public service (and there are thousands in the systems) and most are are up to speed on the new technologies and they find it totally regressive to work in an environment  where new technologies are not embraced but rather banned from the workplace.

I just wanted to remind readers of my blog to register for MARCOM Professional Development, taking place June 10 & 11 at the Hilton Lac-Leamy.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the program  or review the speaker roster , then I strongly encourage you and your colleagues to review the great line-up, make it part of the training plan and register before April 16.

Here are our key note speakers:

Mitch Joel: President, Twist Image

He is a marketing and communications visionary, interactive expert, community leader, Blogger and Podcaster. In 2008, Mitch Joel was named Canada’s Most Influential Male in Social Media. Mitch joins MARCOM to deliver the Opening Keynote on June 10th.

Terry O”Reilly: Age of Persuasion Host CBC Radio.

O’Reilly looks at what animates creativity and how the art of persuasion informs our culture. He delights both general audiences and advertising veterans, pointing to trends and dispatching timeless lessons. O’Reilly is an ad man in love with the promise of advertising but not blind to its shortcomings. Attendees of MARCOM 2010 will hear Terry deliver a keynote on June 11th.

I will be involved in the following sessions at MARCOM:

June 9, 2010 – Workshop

09:00 – 16:30 Social Marketing Planning – Implementing an Effective Campaign

Jim Mintz | Director, Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing

One of the biggest challenges in Social Marketing Planning is the Implementation stage. Many organizations develop great plans, but poor execution leaves them wondering why they didn’t achieve the desired results. In previous editions of MARCOM, Jim Mintz has taken participants through a proven process for developing their social marketing strategy and plan. At MARCOM 2010, you will learn how to transform Strategies into Action! Jim will briefly review the social marketing plan process and then move into detailed discussions surrounding how to successfully implement your strategy. In this tough economy it’s important to ensure maximum impact for marketing dollars; especially when you are moving from planning into implementation where the majority of your budget will be allocated.

You will learn 7 key areas for social marketing plan implementation:

  1. What questions to ask when working with marketing and communications suppliers;
  2. How to develop a creative brief to ensure your communications agencies remain on strategy;
  3. The Do’s and Don’ts for smooth supplier relationships;
  4. Innovative ideas to fully leverage a limited budget;
  5. How to present and “sell” your social marketing strategy to management;
  6. How to approach and capitalize on strategic alliances;
  7. How to evaluate your campaign progress and success.

Take the next step: Join Jim Mintz and move your plan into action!

June 10, 2010

08:30 – 09:45 Session 1: “Leading the Charge” Panel: Learning from Marketing-Driven Organizations in Government

Facilitator: Jim Mintz | Director, Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing
Karen Dufton | Senior Director General, Service Canada, Head, Marketing and Communications
Greg MacDougall | Director, Communications, CATSA
Lisa Allaire | Director General, Production and Advertising Services, Department of National Defence

What is a marketing-driven organization? What are some of the challenges faced in transforming a bureaucratic culture into a customer-centric organization? How do you get buy-in across the organization? These are some of the questions that will be answered by our panel of public sector marketing leaders who will share their experience and expertise on how they are creating a dynamic marketing culture in their organizations and what you can do to advance marketing as a powerful business transformation tool.

Hope to see you there.

2 Replies to “Top Federal Bureaucrat Embraces Web 2.0 Technology”

  1. This is good news.

    Far too many companies and workplaces simply block access to social media apps on the enterprise network, out of fear and misunderstanding.

    There’s a good whitepaper on the subject. It’s called “To Block or Not. Is that the question?”

    It has lots of insightful and useful information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, SharePoint, etc.)

    Might be worthwhile to share this with those IT Depts.

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