Track Changes podcast

About Track Changes

Track Changes is a podcast series exploring public sector policy innovation from its many angles: bringing you stories of innovation that worked and innovation that failed, demystifying buzzwords and concepts, chatting with previous generations of public servants, and interviewing current leaders and practitioners from Canada and beyond. Episodes are produced and created by an interdepartmental team of public servants with support from the PCO Innovation Hub.

Recurring Segments

  • tl;dr - Where a guest speaker/expert in a field explains a policy innovation concept in 100 seconds or less. This segment is sort of like the game “explain like you’re 5”; we ask our guests to tell us, in basic language, what a technical term or concept means.

  • The Deep Dive - Where we follow a particular story from multiple angles. You get to hear various voices, a narrative-based story from start to finish, and our musings about what it all means for the field of policy innovation.

  • In the Room - Where we take you inside meetings, talks, or other events so that you can directly hear the insights and perspectives that were shared, as well as participants' reflections and/or some of our commentary and interpretation over top.
Production team

Track Changes is produced by an interdepartmental team of public servants, with the support of the PCO Innovation Hub.

Susan Johnston - Co-host/co-producer

Susan is passionate about creating new spaces for engagement and collaboration on complex issues. She joined the public service in 2001, and is currently working with the Consultations and Public Engagement team at the Privy Council Office. Her previous roles have been in the areas of communications policy and international collaboration at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Susan is involved in outreach and partnership development work for Community Mediation Ottawa, and serves on the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution Board of Directors. In 2014, she co-founded Ottawa (de)tours, a social enterprise with a mandate to help people explore and discuss contemporary issues. You can find her on CKCU FM most Friday mornings, where she co-hosts a program about the local arts scene. Susan received an M.A. in International Affairs and a Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution from Carleton University.

Kaili Levesque - Executive Producer

Kaili is passionate about finding ways to make the public service more open, collaborative and innovative, and hustles every day to help be part of this change. Kaili is currently responsible for the implementation and delivery of Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s Strategic Investment Fund. Prior to this role, Kaili was the Director of Digital Policy, where she was responsible for Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy as well programming related to increasing digital access and skills. Before joining ISED, Kaili spent four years with TBS’ Economic Sector, delivering on several horizontal initiatives. Kaili made two stops at the Policy Research Initiative, where she had the opportunity to work with senior officials to develop innovative approaches to policy research and policy-making, including the development and successful delivery of the canada@150 project. Kaili has also worked on files such as small business growth, regulatory cooperation, as well as policy research on regulatory, economic and social issues, including several publications. Kaili has a MA in Public Administration from Carleton University and has been heavily involved in IPAC over the years. Her hobbies are mostly work-related: policy innovation, collaboration, open government, digital issues and engagement of all kinds. When not working, she has adventures with her husband, their two active children, and their surly cat.

Nisa Malli - Co-Producer

Nisa Malli is part of the team that started the Privy Council Office's Innovation Hub, a policy lab at the heart of the federal government, and is a former member of the Deputy Ministers' Committee on Policy Innovation. She joined the public service from the community non-profit sector where she ran digital literacy and social inclusion programming for seniors and new immigrants and worked as a journalist, editor, and poet. She holds an MA in Public and International Affairs from the University of Ottawa where she researched how open government is redefining and digitizing civic virtue and citizen engagement. She has lived and worked in five Canadian cities and is adding a sixth as a 2016-2017 Urban Fellow with the City of Toronto.

Dan Monafu - Co-host/co-producer

Dan Monafu is an Ottawa-based serial entrepreneur, community builder, and federal public servant. In 2013, Dan founded Soup Ottawa, a participatory micro-grant event held seasonally, which has raised over $10,000 for various community benefit projects. In 2014, he co-founded Ottawa (de)tours, which employs the walking tour model to invite Canadians to critically think about complex issues shaping Canada. In the federal government, Dan currently works for Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), where he uses policy innovation tools and methodologies (e.g. design thinking) to help Canadian seniors age well. An active speaker on the new philanthropy, failing forward, and the use of prizes and challenges to incentivize innovation, he is also engaged in SMS-based interventions, journalism, and civic innovation. Dan holds a Master of Arts degree from Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA). For more information, check out

Francis Nolan-Poupart - Co-host/co-producer

Francis is a social policy wonk. He was hired into the public service through the Accelerated Economist Training Program (AETP), a two-year recruitment program which has its participants complete six month assignments in the central agencies of government. While at the Privy Council Office, he got roped into being part of the secretariat team for the Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Policy Innovation, where he developed an obsession for all things evidence-based policy (he also eventually became a member of that committee). After completing the AETP, Francis moved on to Employment and Social Development Canada, where he has been working for over two years on the development of strategic policy around social innovation, social finance and social enterprise (he swears those aren’t just buzzwords) -- his pet issues are outcomes-based funding and the use of evidence to improve social programs. Francis also volunteers with a local social and community services non-profit, trying to assist them in measuring and communicating the impact of their programming. Francis holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Carleton University (where he published research on policy innovation in climate change policy) and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs and International Relations from Laval University.

Anatole Papadopoulos - Executive Producer

Anatole has spent much of his Public Service career working on change and transformation initiatives. He is currently playing the secretariat role for the Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Policy Innovation, while serving as Executive Director, Policy Innovation at Canadian Heritage. Previously, at Health Canada, Anatole played a key role in food regulatory modernization and represented the federal government domestically and internationally. Before joining Health Canada, Anatole was a Senior Analyst in the Priorities and Planning secretariat at the Privy Council Office (PCO), where he also spent time on the core team for the innovative canada@150 project and as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Public Service Renewal. Before PCO, Anatole spent three years at Environment Canada. He led the team that managed a new multi-stakeholder initiative focused on solutions that integrated environmental and economic considerations. Anatole holds a Master's degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a Bachelor's in Cognitive Science from Queen's. Anatole has been told he’s not allowed to have any more new ideas.

Additional Support

Thank you to Mark Matz (aka Ephemeral Echo) for our theme song and Policy Horizons Canada for our visual identity.

Contact and feedback

We would love to hear from you. Tell us what you think about the podcast, or send us your ideas about what you’d like to hear on an episode!



Episode Five: Governing in a Digital Age

Date: March 6, 2017
Length: 37:15
ListenEnglish | French
TranscriptEnglish | French
Description: Track Changes goes “in the room” for the Clerks and Cabinet Secretaries Policy Innovation Symposium: Governing in a Digital Age, interviewing keynote speakers, panelists, and Clerks. With special co-host & co-producer Kent Aitken, the Public Policy Forum's Prime Ministers of Canada Fellow.

Extra credit: the production team would like to thank our interviewees: Kim Henderson, Michael Wernick, Jim Anderson, Jennifer Hollett, Nick Scott, Steve Orsini, Parker Mitchell as well as Kent Aitken, Myra Latendresse-Drapeau, Mary Beth Baker, Reuben Bronee, Erin Gee, Khal Karime, Gilbert Le Gras, Nicholas Richer Brulé, Marion Trevisan, Alison Loat, Kevin Currie, Rodney Ghali, Cynthia Tar, and Irene Vokac.

Episode Four: One of One with Adam Kahane (A Track Changes Holiday Special Episode)

Date: December 22, 2016
Length: 20:47
ListenEnglish | French
TranscriptEnglish | French
Description: In our final episode of 2016, the Track Changes/Changer de Voix team sits down for an in-depth interview with Adam Kahane of Reos Partners to discuss collaboration, solving wicked problems and systems transformation, the practice of introspection, and what can be learned from failure. We also hear his advice for collaborating in situations of high conflict and low control where no person around the decision table has the power to fully dictate terms. On that happy note, Track Changes/Changer de Voix wishes you joyous holidays and a great 2017!

Extra credit: the production team would like to thank Adam Kahane, Monica Pohlmann, Francis Tessier and Mark Abbott.

Episode Three: Teach us your (policy innovation) ways, Montreal

Date: November 30, 2016
Length: 25:48
ListenEnglish | French
TranscriptEnglish | French
Description: Track Changes producer and French-language host Francis Nolan-Poupart travels to Montreal to explore the thriving ecosystem of open innovation, social innovation and technological innovation. Hear insights from the practitioners at Projektae, Communautique and Percolab.

Extra credit: the production team would like to thank Laurence Bakayoko (Projektae); Monique Chartrand (Communautique); Elizabeth Hunt and Dominique Bel (Percolab); as well as Kevin Currie, Megan Piercey Monafu, Jocelyn Sweet, and Irene Vokac, for being so generous with their time.

Episode Two: Testing 1, 2, 3...

Date: October 14, 2016
Length: 22:21
ListenEnglish | French
TranscriptEnglish | French
Description: Karen Hall (Director General, Benefit Programs Directorate, Canada Revenue Agency) defines experimentation in a public sector context in our second tl;dr segment. Carolyn Curtis (CEO, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation) talks experimentation, evidence-making, and prototyping for social impact at a meeting of the Deputy Ministers' Committee on Policy Innovation (DCMPI), in our first edition of “In the Room”.

Extra credit: The production team would like to thank Kevin Currie, Jocelyn Sweet, and Marion Trevisan for their support on this episode. Thank you also to SiG - Tim Draimin, Geraldine Cahill, Vinod Rajasekaran - for facilitating TACSI's Canada-wide tour.

Episode One: Policy Innovation, meet Track Changes

Date: August 30, 2016 
Length: 25:55
ListenEnglish | French
TranscriptEnglish | French
Description: Anatole Papadopoulos (Track Changes) explains why we exist and what we're trying to do. Rodney Ghali (ADM, Innovation Hub, Privy Council Office), Andreas Souvaliotis (CEO, Carrot Insights and former President of Air Miles for Social Change), and John Dalrymple (Chief of External Affairs, Canada's National Ballet School) take a “deep dive” on partnerships with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Laura Wesley (Executive Director, Consultations and Public Engagement, Privy Council Office) defines open policy-making in our inaugural tl;dr segment.

Extra credit: The production team would like to thank Kevin Currie, Alexandre Duval, Chad Hartnell, Ginette Martel, Julia Riendeau, Jocelyn Sweet, Marion Trevisan, Irene Vokac, and Laura Wesley for their support on this episode.

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