Public Servant Volunteer Day

Ottawa's #Nonprofit sector should be aghast at #GoC federal employees who waste #volunteer day to extend their vacations. /c @marcrjgagnon
@DBast
Doug Bastien

Did you know every* public servant in the federal government gets a “Volunteer day”? A day that they can use for…volunteering. In the community. For a worthy cause. Support a non-profit. Fundraising for a charity. You know.

Of the many public servants I have met, very few actually used the day for its intended purpose (volunteering). Surprisingly, many gloated about their use of the volunteer day to extend their vacation, volunteering to use it to “take a day off”. Read more »

Now, in Toronto

My friend Louis visits me in Toronto

Last month, after 4 years in the Federal Government of Canada, I packed up and moved to Toronto, in search of change and new horizons, and to join friends and family.

I’m also happy to join the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants as their Online Capacity Development Facilitator. I am very excited about the position, as it applies my skills in technology, my interest in immigration & settlement sector, and my experience with Web 2.0/Collaborative tools. This position also brings me back to my public sector roots: before my position in the Canada School of Public Service as a Research Analyst, I was a policy analyst on Foreign Credential Recognition at HRSDC, and before that I worked at Citizenship & Immigration Canada.

I’m in 2 teams, the Capacity Development team and the IT/New Media team, applying technology and tool development to support the organisation’s capacity development work. I certainly have a lot on my plate, but the work is important, interesting and fast-changing. I’m excited.

But also, I’m a big city kind of guy, and Toronto is my kind of city.

Government web 2.0 & roles/services

I made this graphic a long time ago when I was aligning types of Web 2.0 according to roles in Government.


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Web 2.0 Vision statement for Government

If the rockies are web 2.0, then a vision statement elaborates the reason for your trek.

A “Vision statement” is valuable for any strategic planning (right up there with elaborating the Mission statement & Values). For a few months now I have been sharing one that I developed a while ago. It takes a step back and reiterates the reason public servants and government want or need Web 2.0: to improve the work of public servants and government.


I offer you a vision statement for Government to support Web 2.0:

Develop an engaged, networked & resilient public service responsive to a connected, knowledgeable & skilled public.

Notice that “Web 2.0″ isn’t actually in there. That’s because Web 2.0 is the means for the work of public servants to do what they do, like technology, communications hardware and desks. But this Vision Statement still supports Web 2.0. You don’t want to be doing Web 2.0 for the sake of doing Web 2.0 – but because it’s the best means to improve the modern public service. Read more »

The 3 types of Web 2.0 in Government

I want to elaborate here the 3 types of Web 2.0 in government. You will need to know this. You should print this out, as you will need to show people when there’s a discussion about Web 2.0.

Check it out: there are 3 types of Web 2.0 in government:

Types of Web 2.0 in government

Yes, there’s overlap, but that’s pretty much the field there. Read more »

Protected: Why I've been MIA from this blog

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MIA: Missing in Action

I was last seen on the net hosting a covert learning session

Sorry have been MIA. You wouldn’t believe what sidetracks me whenever I get back into blogging. I’ll try to explain it to you, but it’s really not interesting.

I remain active on Twitter, I suggest you check me out there.

Forming a Modern Community in Government

Snapshot of the first W2P Meetup page

As the Government of Canada’s Web 2.0 Practitioner (“#W2P“) community approaches it’s 1st year anniversary, I thought I would share the early days of the formation of this community.

Nearly a year ago, community was formed with a full-day free event for Government of Canada Web 2.0 Practitioners (event video summary on GCPEDIA here). The event broke the mold on several fronts. Organised in 3 weeks, this event featured guest speakers, a twitter wall, it’s own hashtag, a knowledge cafe-style conference, a project repository and  knowledge base. The event formed the W2P community and brought together virtual acquaintances to identify and resolve common problems. Interest grew; after a blog post appeared on GTEC about the event, public servant bloggers Nick Charney and Colin H wrote about W2P and every 3 weeks, Government of Canada Web 2.0 Practitioners met to share information.

Seven months later, the community organised a second full-day free event with keynote speakers and workshops on Web 2.0.  After two full-day events and 15 social meetups, the community continues to expand (with interest to form #W2P in other areas of Canada), members continue to sing its praises;

#w2p is a very RESPONSIVE community. Fastest way to immerse self is to ask a question.

@spydergrrl, 11:51 AM Jun 10th 2010

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The Day Public Servants United to Showcase their Workspaces! Over Twitter!

my workspace (for the last little while)

Here's my workspace photo. Tweeted out last Thursday, June 10

Federal public servants on Twitter came together to do something special leading up to National Public Service Week (NPSW).

Many federal public servants who use Twitter connect to each other via the “#W2P” hashtag. A lot of the activity on that hashtag includes public servants soliciting views for GCPEDIA wiki pages, sharing sources of information, giving feedback on ideas and reminding each other of events or meetings of interest. Chalk it up to “out-of-the-box” community, cooperation and collaboration.

Well last week we engaged in a little activity of posting photos online of our workspaces to share with others. Photos were posted from Ottawa (the “National Capital Region”) and by federal public servants in KingstonTorontoEdmonton and Vancouver. In all, 26 photos (including a very funny one from @jeromefb) were posted over two days (Thursday & Friday) with a few more the following Monday to start off NPSW.

It was fun to see each other’s workspaces, commenting on each other’s setup, even jokingly. I was particularly struck by this tweet from @dvdyip:

@DBast for me these workspace photos do more for NPSW goals than a barbeque

@dvdyip, 9:06 PM Jun 10th via TweetDeck in reply to DBast

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Do cash incentives work in the public service?

Ottawa Citizen piece on incentives for the public service

If you’re tuned in to the federal public service in Ottawa, no doubt you’ve come across this piece in the Ottawa Citizen about Minister Day’s project “encourag[ing] all employees to identify more efficient ways to deliver services to Canadians within their departments” by offering “the individual or team of workers who come up with the best ideas are in line for … up to a maximum of $10,000.”

On the surface, it seems like a big carrot, for a public service with few sticks at reach. Knowing there are a lot of brilliant ideas in the public service floating around, I wondered how this plan could be implemented or improved. That was until I came across a video featuring New York Times columnist, Professor and Freakonomics author Steve Levitt.

In it, Levitt explains that financial incentives are over-rated, and not a good counter-measure to the penalties, which are also ineffective (as they drive employees to quit). Levitt explains incentives don’t work because after workers just come to expect the incentives and the effect is lost as the incentive becomes a deserved right. Read more »