Bold, Digital Government (Alex Benay rant) - Transcript
Unidentified Female: (Off microphone.) Alex, it’s time for your (inaudible).
Alex Benay: All right. So I guess this is where these guys are going to want to start hearing about exponential government versus linear government, what actually that may mean in a Canadian context.
So I guess for us, if you’re going to start hearing us talk about exponential more, it means doing more things with more people. It actually means removing the barriers to access government, whether you’re municipal, provincial or federal, working together with a whole bunch of other industries. If you think about Open Science and how NASA is doing more and more of its science or how the European Union is talking about doing Open Science as a default mechanism, we have a lot of catching up to do in Canada because the world, unfortunately, is changing around us so fast, and it will continue to change around us at a pace that we may never actually be able to catch up.
So it actually means we have to change the leadership culture from one – and not just leadership at the top levels, but at all levels as to how we choose to engage as public sector. We used to live in an environment for the last 150 years in Canada where the information was protected and safeguarded. We may actually have to start considering how the information is released real time more and more, so that we could actually do more open science, more open innovation. That’s a complete culture change.
That means we’re actually challenging the status quo of what it means to be a Westminster style government in the sense that some of those – some of those preconceived notions of governance are changing in a digital environment at a very, very rapid rate, so we have to look at our culture internally in the public service. This isn’t a technology conversation; this is purely a human conversation.
So do we have the right levels of representation of women in tech? Do we have the right diversity of opinion? Do we have enough youth in the environments that we work in right now because I mean if you look at it, most of the new billionaires in the world are under 30. The world has been completely transformed by platform economies, and what’s to say that the public sector is any different?
You know when – when is it going to be the time where government, just like the hotel industry for AirBnB or transportation industry with Uber, actually gets platformed? So we don’t want to get to that stage. So we have to look at our people. We have to ask ourselves if we’ve given them the right opportunity to succeed. We have to look at policies that may or may not be a little bit outdated considering the world we live in and the digital change and the pace of change that we’re living.
Also very much in an interconnected society, we ultimately have to look at how we conduct our business as government. What’s the impact on some of our financial institutions when AI becomes a thing? What if government doesn’t do AI by then because our pace of change may or may not be at the same pace as other sectors? I mean those are fundamental building block questions that we have to start answering. So I mean there’s no better time to be in public sector tech, really.
So yeah, it’s going to be quite a bit of fun. The next couple of years should be great, if I can get through some of these interviews. Unfortunately, I’m not able to be with you guys in Japan. I’m going to be in a small town in Canada called Waterloo because we’ll be releasing our first-ever open-by-default pilot project, which means that some of our government contents actually are going to start being released real time, similar to what we’ve just talked about here.
So yeah, that’s the reason why I’m not in Japan. I heard it’s a great group. I’m sorry I’m not there. You’re going to be in really good hands with Jennifer that’s going to take all the questions. I get the easy job, I talk to the camera, but she’s going to have to ask – answer everybody’s questions on stage, so.