Episode Five: Governing in a Digital Age

Steve Orsini: We’re moving to a world where we’re really focusing on the user. The citizen. The patient. The student. The senior.

Jennifer Hollett: I think it’s connecting citizens, regular people if you will, to policy, to government, to conversations around decisions that really impact them on on a day to day.

Parker Mitchell: I do not want to have input into my government's decisions, to the degree that people seem to think I would. I want very smart people making decisions.

Susan Johnston: Hello and welcome to Track Changes/Changer de Voix! I’m Susan Johnston

Dan Monafu: And I’m Dan Monafu. We teased you about this on Twitter, and we’re now pleased to release our full episode on the Clerks and Cabinet Secretaries Policy Innovation Symposium. We’re also pleased to welcome our first-ever guest producer and co-host, Kent Aitken. Kent was named the Public Policy Forum’s Prime Ministers of Canada Fellow, so he’s spending the year thinking, researching, talking, and writing about government in a digital age. The Public Policy Forum was a partner in putting on the event. Welcome, Kent, and thank you for your help on this episode.

Kent Aitken: Thank you for having me.

Susan Johnston:We were delighted to be “in the room” at the meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial heads of Public Services. These meetings have typically been limited to Clerks and Cabinet Secretaries, to create a safe space for them to talk about pressing issues that impact Canadians across provincial and territorial lines.

Dan Monafu: This year’s symposium was called Open Policy-making in a Digital Age, and brought together top Canadian public service leaders to share ideas, and hear from leading experts in industry, academia and government.

Susan Johnston: We touched on open policymaking in our first episode, and we were more than willing to return to it given its potential to transform how governments work and interact with citizens, stakeholders, and partners -- and of course the opportunity to hear from so many interesting people in the field in one fell swoop.

As well as having openness as its subject, there were features of the day that seemed to reflect a changing culture and mindset. The symposium had its own hashtag, #PCOPPF, so interested people on Twitter could hear some of the highlights about what our senior public service leaders were hearing. This led to discussion taking place among colleagues in the room and with interested parties from across the country. But at least one observer on Twitter asked why a meeting on open policy-making wasn’t fully open. Fair game. Marshall McLuhan is famous for the insight captured by “the medium is the message.” So, the medium hasn’t yet shifted entirely. And there is still a place -- an important place -- for private conversations and deliberations. But the medium is on the move.

Dan Monafu: We were fortunate to be part of the increasing openness at this session. Track Changes/Changer de Voix sent a couple of our team, armed with recorders, to capture some of the discussion and hear from presenters on open policy making, what makes them excited about the innovation that’s emerging, and what keeps them up at night.

Susan Johnston: Before we jump in, does everyone know what a “Clerk” is? No? Ok! Clerks and Cabinet Secretaries are the heads of provincial, territorial or federal public services. They are non-partisan and non-political, usually career public servants named by the Prime Minister or Premier. Some jurisdictions call these folks Clerks, others call them Cabinet Secretaries, in good old-fashioned Westminster system jargon. This group meets several times a year to discuss issues of common interest, and last year they began regular meetings on the topic of policy innovation and open policy making.

Kent Aitken: We’re about to hear a lot about open policy making and citizen engagement. Right now the most visible citizen engagement initiatives are broad calls for ideas from Canadians, like Ontario’s Budget Talks website or Canada’s Innovation Agenda consultation. I think it’s worth noting before we dive in that citizen engagement can be everything from those broad, internet-based consultations, to getting feedback on draft regulations, to townhalls and roundtables, to months-long citizen panels. There are a lot of possible formats, and it’ll be different at different stages of the policy cycle -- whether government is just starting to identify a problem, is exploring solutions, or deciding on the ultimate course of action.

And the bigger concept of open policy making can include citizen engagement, but it might also mean working with partner organizations on policy, or even government being networked and open to new sources of input.

Dan Monafu: This year's conference was co-chaired by Kim Henderson, British Columbia’s Cabinet Secretary, and Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council for the Federal Government. We’re going to hear first from both of our co-chairs, starting with Ms. Henderson:

Kim Henderson: I am Kim Henderson, I am the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Public Service for BC.

Susan Johnston: We’ve been talking a lot about different dimensions of open policy making, but I’m curious, for you, in your role, what does it mean?

Kim Henderson: I think it means greater citizen involvement in the design of policy. So, in British Columbia, we’ve had a number of different fits and starts to citizen engagement over the years and we’ve learned a ton. One is, you can’t rely on just online engagement; you have to try and figure out how you’re going to include groups who wouldn’t normally participate online. And I think one of the things I take away from the discussion this morning, public services often think about equity and inclusiveness when we’re thinking about policy, so how do we do citizen engagement in a way that also reflects equity and inclusiveness?

Dan Monafu: We also had a good discussion with Ms. Henderson about one aspect of the art of leading in an ‘open-by-default’ environment we thought you would be interested in. Specifically, Ms. Henderson and other leaders and public servants at all levels are thinking about how to keep internal conversations frank and full while government transparency continues to increase. You see, as public servants we can sometimes be... cautious and risk averse and—

Susan Johnston: No! Say it isn't so!

Dan Monafu: I know, I know. And so, you don't want public servants holding back on bold ideas or candid advice or bad news because they're concerned about the proverbial microscope - or quote unquote landing on the front page, right? So one challenge for senior leaders is to preserve that sense of safe space for open dialogue inside their public services.

Susan Johnston: Right. It was good to hear that. It's an honest reflection of a real tension. And it speaks to the complexity of governance and government work, and the high standards public servants are held to in their role as advice providers to elected officials. You can support openness and engagement and broad access to information as being vital to democracy and accountable government, as we all do, and still worry about whether, as a result, internal deliberations are always as open and honest as they need to be. There are no easy answers on this.

Dan Monafu: There aren't. But thankfully it's not a zero sum game. We just have to keep working on those internal dynamics while we push the frontier on openness and transparency.

New we’ll go to our own Clerk, Michael Wernick, who provided some thoughts for us at the beginning of the conference.

Michael Wernick: This really -- no pressure here -- but I think this is the issue of our day: how to bring governance to the digital age. People want their services 7/24. They want them online. They want them when they want them, and there are lots of parts of government which are moving, slowly but steadily, into that direction. The harder part is the law-making, the policy-making, the regulatory functions of government. Making the rules of the game for our society and economy.

There's enormous opportunity. The one thing is, we have to move beyond the "gee whiz, that's cool" kind of phase of this into: how are we going to scale up? This is a bit like moving from the lab to the market. There are lots of, ‘oh, that's cool, if we could just do more of that’ examples around. We've been seeing them for years. It's how do we actually move them up, and how do we make them compatible with the kind of governance that we want to have?

Susan Johnston: Mr. Wernick also offered some reflections on how we as governments can get there. Here he is again:

Michael Wernick: Shared accountability is hard. It's wonderful to talk about partnerships and we'll do things together, and there's a lot of goodwill to do that. At the end of the day, people are accountable. And, you know, and in a Westminster system it's a minister who has to stand up in Question Period, or take questions in parliamentary committee with the "how could this happen?" kind of thing. And you can't say well, you know, it’s my partner. It’s my vendor. It just doesn't work. Ultimately, you are responsible for what happened. You're responsible for the outcomes, you're responsible for the governance, the project management, and all that sort of thing.

Dan Monafu: This is likely what Ms. Henderson drove at when mentioning the constraints of transparency, seen through this lens of ultimate responsibility in a risk-averse environment.

Michael Wernick: So, risk/reward, shared risk, shared return, these are actually hard things to do, and working our way through how to do that is actually the big challenge right now. It's, you know, small, little micro-projects, pilot projects -- which is a phrase I've almost banned -- they work fine, but we have found once we want to go to a bigger scale, you run into all kinds of issues about shared accountability and responsibility.

Dan Monafu: The last thing we’ll include here is Mr. Wernick’s perspective from a government point of view: what does it mean to always keep the public interest at the forefront of the work?

Michael Wernick: The challenge for us who work in the executive branch of government serving elected governments, is taking all of that and turning it into actionable choices by the 30 women and men in my cabinet -- in my case -- or the 338 women and men in our legislature. That is a hard process: to turn things into actionable choices, and then, of course, to move on and implement them effectively. And, define, out of all that noise and competing interests, the public interest. Getting the longer view is hard in government, but we will always have to look for the public interest, as the government sees it. And that is not the same as a private interest, and it's not always the same as the stakeholders who are participating in an online forum. They have legitimate views and interests to bring to bear. But somehow in a democracy, people have to sort out their view, the public interest, and then be held to account for it.

Susan Johnston: And with these opening remarks from our co-chairs, let’s see what else happened during the conference!

Dan Monafu: Jennifer Hollett, head of news and government at Twitter Canada, spoke about the role of social media in open policy making. We caught up with her to talk about this, and about what inspires her.

Jennifer Hollett: I think it’s connecting citizens, regular people if you will, to policy, to government, to conversations around decisions that really impact them on on a day to day. I meet so many people who are intimidated even by the word ‘policy’. Right? Even that word I think excludes a lot of people. But if we can come up with creative ways, especially using digital to invite more people into discussions that have an impact on their day to day lives - cause ultimately, that’s what, you know, government is, whether that’s health, or transit, or education, that means policy. So I think it’s opening that up in a way that’s accessible and engaging.

Susan Johnston: Social media is becoming a key force in terms of open conversations between governments and their citizens. When you look in your role with Twitter or in your own life at things about open policymaking that inspire you the most, are there any examples you could share with us?

Jennifer Hollett: Yeah, I’m really inspired by the movements that are are born and come to life on Twitter. And when I say movement that means a group of people who decide to take action on an issue. And Twitter is a way to connect the people who might not know each other and to through a hashtag follow an issue. And sometimes, what starts off as a hashtag, an example would be #idlenomore or #blacklivesmatter -- both were hashtags. Both were comments, and then they grew into movements because so many people connected to those conversations and then people started meeting up in person and and organizing, and then that movement grew to many movements, and that is having an impact on policy, on conversations that we’re having around race, around land, around treaties. So that to me, when I think of, you know, public policy and social media, it isn’t a formal discussion or tweet on ‘here are my opinions on public policy or new legislation’. Very few people speak like that. Sure, in our circles, I’ve an MPA, I went to a school that had a bunch of policy wonks and we’d have conversations like that. But I think that’s pretty boring, you know, for the average person. So, it’s talking about life and real issues, like growing income inequality and how that connects to gender and race and class, and all those policy issues. So to have that conversation on a platform like Twitter, bring people together, to get them out in the streets, to have them meeting with politicians, this is all part of the discussion that we’re having.

Susan Johnston: We also asked Ms. Hollett about how the idea of, or the objective of, open policymaking impacts her role?

Jennifer Hollett: In my role, as someone who’s working closely with government, with politicians, it’s figuring out how we can work together to reach as many Canadians as possible and give them an opportunity to have a conversation, you know, around public policy issues. And, I think you know, a lot of people are intimidated, by government, intimidated by MPs, public servants, just, you know, they’re not sure what to say, and how to say it. By joining people where they’re already are, and engaging in a way that feels authentic, it’s a start, right? It’s about building trust in, I mean, part of the conversation, traditionally, both news and government was very much one way. Here is a press release, here is a press conference. And now, thanks to social media, it’s a two way, it’s a three four five, I mean, it’s a conversation that includes many voices, and we are stronger, especially with policy, the more diverse voices we have.

Dan Monafu: Good reminders for us as public servants and for this podcast, that our role is in part to to translate the legal and administrative and bureaucratic wheels and cogs into something that Canadians can understand and want to provide insight and input on. Now, before we move on, Jennifer said one particularly critical string of words that we want to make sure you caught:

Jennifer Hollett: By joining people where they’re already are...

Dan Monafu: This is so important. Too often, governments try to create their own conversations rather than join existing ones, launching stand-alone online consultation platforms and Tweet-chats and hashtags instead of engaging Canadians in existing fora, in person and online. You can do both, of course, but part of open policy-making has to be about getting better at listening. Our citizens are already talking about the things that are important to them -- online, in their communities, around their proverbial and literal kitchen tables. Public servants have to get out there and pull up a chair.

Susan Johnston: So, one of the people we pulled up a chair with is Steve Orsini. We’ll let him introduce himself.

Steve Orsini: My name is Steve Orsini, I’m the Secretary to Cabinet, the head of the Ontario Public Service and the Clerk of Executive Council. So there’s three functions: Secretary of Cabinet, I focus a lot about the quality of the advice going to government, head of the OPS, is more than 63,000 public servants, so I need to pay attention to their issues and engage staff on a whole variety of topics, and then Clerk of the Executive Council, I get to do a number of things: sign off Cabinet minutes, swear in the lieutenant governor, cabinet ministers, so it’s different types of functions for different types of situations.

Susan Johnston: Mr. Orsini’s definition of open policy making contained a nuance that was quite interesting, as he chose to focus not so much on a traditional take on “open”, per se, but on how the change of focus impacts policy-making and program design.

Steve Orsini: It’s a fundamental rethink between how we do policy. And it will take time to permeate the organization. But the way I look at it, we operate in a world where, the program areas, the policy shops, would develop policy based on their perspective on the world. And we’re moving to a world where we’re really focusing on the user. The citizen. The patient. The student. The senior. And looking at now designing policies from that person’s perspective. It’s a completely different approach. It sounds similar, but it’s fundamentally different. We have so many programs for youth who are at risk. Yet we have youth in society, the vulnerable areas, with high suicide rates. So we’ve not quite designed the system to best meet the needs of the individual, we designed it around the program delivery functions. That’s a fundamental change. We’re turning the whole system on its head. We got to start with the user, then we have to figure out what are the right programs to deal with their needs.

Dan Monafu: User-centred design is one tool for open policy-making. It brings the end user into the design process, so that our programs are designed with a genuine understanding and sense of empathy for the population who'll be impacted -- so that the programs work out in the real world, and so that they are easy for people to access and use, versus being easy to administer on the back end. This may seem like business as usual, but as Mr. Orsini pointed out, it’s a fundamental re-think for a lot of governments -- one that has become a hallmark of the U.K.’s approach to citizen services and is gaining increasing traction in Canada. It’s not that governments weren’t thinking about citizens - we were. But program design was often heavily influenced by the constraints and habits of the system. Design gives us a set of methods for tilting the focus back to users.

Susan Johnston: We also spoke with James Anderson, who brought a civil society and philanthropic perspective on government innovation.

Jim Anderson: So my name is Jim Anderson, and I lead the government innovation efforts at Bloomberg Philanthropies, which is a New York City-based foundation that does grant making around the world.

Susan Johnston: We asked him what excited him most about the discussions.

Jim Anderson: So the mere fact of bringing civil servant leadership together to talk about how to take these strategies to scale, is incredibly exciting. What we see in government after government after government around the world are instances of excellence. People are excited to test these tools and techniques, but we haven’t seen a lot of governments really get them into the DNA of their organizations. I think that’s what the Canadian civil service is wrestling with through this forum and and that is incredibly exciting because someone needs to crack the nut and why not you guys?

Dan Monafu: Mr. Anderson made a strong plea for deeper citizen engagement

Jim Anderson: The trust gap, the confidence gap is growing in country after country around the world. So I think there’s an incredible urgency right now, for governments to better engage citizens, civil society, businesses and others in policy making that creates greater support for government policies, it creates different reference points for people in their relationship with their mayors, with their congress people, with their ministers. I think that that is an incredibly, it’s so timely, and it’s so critical. So how do we move away from instances of excellence, islands of excellence, to embedding these strategies into the mainstream of work that we do? That’s really, where I think this is going. That seems to be the direction many governments want to oar their boat. And, it’s hard, but that’s definitely the direction where I think we’re headed.

Susan Johnston: To make this concrete, here’s Mr. Anderson giving you an example of something that is happening elsewhere in the world.

Jim Anderson: I think Prime Minister Modi in India is a real example of going from 25 to 80 overnight on the open policy making front. We partnered with Prime Minister Modi around his urban development agenda, he wanted to drive smart city across his country. He created a competition, that competition was open, energetic, transparent. It was the first time a central government had used a competitive challenge to give away discretionary grantmaking dollars. It was a real shift in the way government operated, mainly that government didn’t tell cities what it meant for them to be smart. Instead, it asked them, what does smart mean to you? How do you want to get smart? What’s your strategy for getting smarter? And that became the basis of an incredible program that really marked a big shift in the way that they distribute money and the way that the centre engages with the states and the municipalities.

Dan Monafu: Bloomberg worked with the Government of India to launch a $7.5 billion urban development program, to improve the quality of life in 109 of India’s fastest growing cities. At the centre of the program was the India Smart Cities Challenge, in which cities could submit proposals to compete for central government funding. Along the way, Bloomberg hosted Ideas Camp, bringing together leaders from India’s cities and global experts in urban innovation, to help refine the proposals and spark ideas. The 20 winning proposals included projects to install LED street lights, collect rainwater, use the roofs of public buildings to generate solar power, and revitalize heritage sites and riverbanks. Proposals were encouraged to involve citizen input and represent the needs of the city.

So this is a good example of a government giving up control and prescriptiveness and using an open, competitive approach that lets those closest to the issues -- cities and citizens -- lead the way on solutions.

Susan Johnston: When one organization or government opens up, it helps clear a path for the others to follow, and enables new and different types of collaboration. Here’s Nick Scott, the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network, which brings together various governments, academic institutions, and other organizations to support open policymaking:

Nick Scott: I would like to see the default setting of government be collaboration. Be reaching out, and working in that way. In a more specific way, I would like to see government identify and articulating challenges that it wants to solve in the medium to long term, and putting in time and resources behind that. To find solutions in a collaborative way. I’m seeking that, that unicorn. I get inspired when I meet with citizens who are either, you know, private citizens, or working for an NGO, a NFP organization, who work everyday trying to make their communities better. Trying to make our province better, trying to make our country better. And they are doing all kinds of complementary work, but in silos. Working at the community level, often times not collaborating with government, not collaborating with the academic sector. And I get inspired by their drive, their passion, the work that they are doing, and I get inspired when we make connections, when we break down those silos. That’s what really excites me. Because for some reason, whatever that reason is, somehow, we lost this awareness that, you know, we all kind of care about the same things.

Dan Monafu: Finally, Parker Mitchell spoke with us about why he sees the “open” elements of open policy-making as less important. Mr. Mitchell is an entrepreneur and one of the founders of Engineers Without Borders. His contrasting perspective gave us some food for thought that we wanted to share:

Parker Mitchell: So this is probably a controversial answer. So, I don't think of policymaking in and of itself is a goal. I think better policymaking is a goal. And maybe it's open, maybe it's not. I didn't feel resonance with many of the comments people were making today. I do not want to have input into my government's decisions, to the degree that people seem to think I would. I want very smart people making decisions. And so I am more interested in: do we have the right people in government who have the right understanding and background of the variety of trends that are shaping the world, and I will trust them to make decisions. I think I am less intelligent, less informed, and I've less time, and so I don't know honestly why my government would care about what I have to say.

Susan Johnston: This is an interesting point. In government, we often talk about engaging citizens as though they are clamouring to provide input if only we give them the vehicle to do so. That’s sometimes the case, but not always. And even when government doesn’t directly invite citizens to comment, decisions are usually made on the basis of research and outreach to stakeholder groups and organizations that try to represent or characterize the interests of those individuals. Without input, we are operating in a vacuum, designing programs and services that may not meet the needs of the people who use them.

Dan Monafu: Not everyone will want to contribute, but our job is to make it easy and accessible for those that people to do, and to help people understand why their part in the process matters.

Susan Johnston: We should have argued with Mr. Mitchell...

Dan Monafu: Totally. ...Ok, maybe not. As we’ve heard throughout this episode, the open policy-making toolkit is much, much bigger than just direct consultation and engagement, however sophisticated. As Mr. Orsini noted, it’s largely about putting the focus on the citizen and user. Design thinking and behavioural insights and ethnography are part of the process too. The fact that some people might be busy or not want to be consulted directly or traditionally doesn’t get governments off the hook for solving policy challenges or improving services. Mr. Mitchell might not respond to an online consultation on subject X -- he might not even have an opinion -- but he expects us to use all the data and information we have, and to work with relevant experts and stakeholders, to make things better.

Susan Johnston: Exactly. And thinking beyond consultation is one way to address a point raised earlier by Kim Henderson, the Clerk from B.C., about equity and inclusiveness. Participation in consultation tends to be self-selecting, and not everyone is clear on how or why to participate. When we design open policy-making exercises, we should always be thinking about representativeness and how to triangulate between the different sources of input and information we have. Now, Mr. Mitchell actually emphasized how complicated this is. And he closed by recognizing the unique circumstances of policy makers and public service leaders when it comes to risk tolerance. Which might be a good place to start pulling all these threads together.

Parker Mitchell: It reminded me of how extraordinarily complex, the role of policymakers is, because there are any number of stakeholders, some of whom are going to strongly limit the choices that you can make, and I think some of whom you perceive that they strongly limit the choices you make. So someone said, ‘we don’t want to have an erosion of public trust because of a bad front-page story’, and I thought: ‘well, is that really true? And public trust, public trust is already pretty low, is it going to get that much lower? What if you had a big success that actually might build public trust, and there might be more upsides than downsides...So there might be some assumptions about what are some of the limits, but I live in a world where it is okay to deliver sub-par services initially, in order to grow into extraordinary services. So Slack is a very very good platform now. The first probably 10 versions of Slack weren't’ that good as platforms. That's the advantage of the startup world, is you’re held to lower standards and that allows you to do the iterations, to get the real feedback and grow. You know, I come from a world where it's easy to ramp things up because you're able to make those mistakes. And if you're in a world where everyone...so - here’s a great example: friend of mine is actually one of the people who was, he was the Chief Designer for the healthcare.gov redesign. So he had, he would approach it the way he approached it his startup in Silicon Valley...You don't have to serve 100% of the people when you do a startup in Silicon Valley. You identify who are the 20% that we want as early adopters, and you work through that and so having to navigate you know not being able to A/B test, risking if you are, a journalist visits a site one day and then visits in the next day and it's slightly different site, they go ‘well, why was that different’? Perfectly normal in the startup world, probably should be, and I would argue definitely should be perfectly normal and the ramp-up of government service delivery but it was a difficult thing and they had to convince politicians and they had politicians who are willing to take the political flack for it, and the cover for it, to say yes ‘you're adopting these practices, it’s gonna be faster and better if you do it this way and we’ll take the hit, we’ll we’ve already taken quite a few hits on it, so one more bad story isn’t gonna change things. But being able to, you know, how do you navigate those constraints it's a much more, it’s a minefield that you guys have to deal with.

Dan Monafu: There you have it. Provocative thoughts. How do we challenge our own assumptions and flip the script when it comes to risk-reward calculus? How do we change the mentality that because we are government, programs and services need to run perfectly on day 1? And the million-dollar question: how do we make sure that calls for taking more risks don’t evaporate after a misstep? Because it's how we react to those inevitable missteps that might matter the most. Can we contextualize them as inevitable features of experimenting and learning and building evidence about how to do government better? Or do we send the signal that any misstep is the dreaded proverbial Career Limiting Move? We’re open -- forgive the pun -- to hearing your thoughts on it. You can tweet at us with the #tccdv hashtag, and we can have a conversation about it. Kent, can you bring us home?

Kent Aitken: Now I get the completely unfair position of being able to react to the entire day’s conversation after the fact, and no one can argue back. There are two themes that struck me: the first is the idea that “open doesn’t always mean digital, and open doesn’t always mean always open” - Both Kim Henderson and Parker Mitchell hit on those themes. The real question for governments is knowing when they truly need outside voices, and when including the lived experiences of citizens or external expertise will help get us to better public decisions - and then being able to execute the right process to include those voices. It’s a bit of a paradox - you need the capacity for citizen engagement to do it well, but it’s often doing it that builds capacity. And any time we get it wrong, or choose open approaches in the wrong situation, it’s dis-engaging for the people who choose to participate. I think this is going to be tougher to navigate than we realize.

I also have to touch on the role of social media in open policy making. We think of social as a conversation, a back-and-forth. But the OECD reported last year that virtually no government in the world, except some elected officials, was using social media for genuine two-way engagement with citizens. As Jennifer Hollett highlighted, there’s no doubting how much our public policy discourse can be shaped and influenced through social media - I’m not ready to say “by social media,” so “through” - but as it stands governments are mostly on the sidelines, listening and reacting.

Dan Monafu: Thank you for your insights, Kent. We might have to bring you back sometime. Before we go, though, this was a Clerks and Cabinet Secretaries symposium, so we’ll leave you with a call to action from one of the Cabinet Secretaries on the role he thinks he and his counterparts need to play to make open policy-making a more pervasive reality. Here’s Steve Orsini from Ontario again:

Steve Orsini: So there’s a number of things that I’d say. The first thing: you have to lead by example. So if the deputies don't see me walking the talk, then it it's hollow words. Two, you got to constantly talk about it. If it's not a priority for you in a very busy schedule, then they’ll experience the same thing. And three, you gotta create the space for it. And there’s a variety of ways of creating that space: you create special groups, you encourage pilots and activities, but you gotta create the space. But you have to walk the talk. And that means every time I bring all the deputies together, we meet once a week, every Friday morning we talk about these issues and if I'm not talking about it enough, then it's hard for me to hold them accountable if they're not talking about it enough. But it it does start with each of us, in that room today, has to make sure it's a priority or it's very difficult for others to do the same.

Susan Johnston: “You have to walk the talk” is as good a place to end as any. We’ve covered a lot of ground during this episode. Many thanks to the conference organizers who allowed us to be “in the room” -- and to everyone who spoke with us. We are really grateful to have been given access to great minds, who not only spend their time thinking about this stuff, but are not afraid to come outside of the firewall and share it with us all. I think the richness and diversity of voices and perspectives we heard were a helpful reminder that we are still in relatively early days of open policy-making in a digital age. It is absolutely the right direction to be headed in, and it holds tremendous promise for improving how government solves problems and delivers services together with its citizens, stakeholders, and partners. But it’s also messy and complicated and full of unresolved tensions.

Dan Monafu: Sounds like our podcast. As always, please get in touch with us for whatever reason; we’re curious to know what you thought about this episode, and let us know your own definition of open policy making, your ideas for future episodes, or just say hi. We’d love to hear from you. Like we said, use #tccdv which stands for our name, Track Changes/Changer de Voix, to talk to us on Twitter - or rate us on iTunes.

Susan Johnston: We’ll be back soon with our next episode. Until then, you can find us on Twitter, on iTunes, on Soundcloud, on the PCO Innovation Hub’s website (that’s www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/trackchanges) or you can email us or tweet us.

Dan Monafu: I’m Dan Monafu, on twitter as @danutfm and my co-host is Susan Johnston @engagequestion. Thank you again to our guest producer and co-host - the always thought-provoking Kent Aitken.

Kent Aitken: Thank you! I appreciate the opportunity to weigh in. I’ll be working on this topic for a year, so I welcome any chance I can get to trade thoughts with people.

Susan Johnston: Kent is @kentdaitken on twitter and co-authors a blog at cpsrenewal.ca. Until next time. Here’s Mark Matz, with our theme song, Journey of the Mandarin. Bye!