A Day in the Life of a PS Innovation Start Up…

Dec 18th, 2015

What does a public service innovation start up focused on design thinking & co-creation look like from the inside out?

Sausage making doesn’t come close.

Every day, I am amazed to see the talent, tenacity & just plain tenderness displayed in our space.

I’ve been involved in a few public sector “start ups’ in my career.

TBS on Increased Ministerial Authority & Accountability.  CRA on the Goods and Services Tax (GST).  Finance on NAFTA marking rules of origin.  DFO on Canada’s Oceans Strategy, Oceans Ambassador Program and the Minister’s Advisory Council on Oceans.  Most recently, a re-start up, the Northern Pipeline Agency (NPA) needing digital modernization after decades long dormancy.

But I’ve never seen this before.

live in a physical space that embodies change – not 2.0, 3.0, or even 4.0.  A space with potential to reach 5.0 and beyond http://bit.ly/1IxghVn – given the chance.

That space literally drives people to us off the street – the highest pedestrian traffic in Ottawa (Bank and Queen Street) according to the newly named Public Services & Procurement Canada.

With 60 linear feet of whiteboards & 40 linear feet of glass coupled with chairs & tables on wheels & lots of EXPO dry erasable markers (seemingly eaten like Rockets) and Post-Its (spanning the Pantone colour spectrum which, by the way,  for 2016 are rose quartz and serenity) while driven by Kent (the Zebra) and his Fijifilm Instax buddy (Polaroid technology capturing people playing and working in the Lab), this space rocks.

Make no mistake – while the right space helps, it needs a soul.

And that soul comes from the people and their problems who gravitate from inside Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada (ISEDC) and across the federal public service seeking to find solutions to help Canadian business grow.

Remember that sausage?

Its always going to be messy.  Because creation, failure and desire to change and make a difference in public service needs this.

Messy is good.  Messier is even better.  We just need to trust that the messier space in public service will get us to 5.0.


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