Actions to Renew the Public Service

Actions to Renew the Public Service

Canada hosts the 6th Americas Competitiveness Exchange

Photo of Minister Bains speaking at a podium during the Americas Competitiveness Exchange event

In September 2016, Canada hosted the 6th edition of the Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE). This initiative brought together 50 senior business and policy leaders from the Americas and beyond for a week-long tour of southern Ontario's innovation ecosystem. The ACE is an initiative of the Organization of American States (OAS), together with host countries that have included the U.S., Mexico and Argentina.

The 6th ACE) tour consisted of visits to leading Canadian businesses, incubators, accelerators, universities and research facilities, focusing on information communications technology, clean tech, fintech, advanced manufacturing, life sciences and agrifood.

Key sites on the tour included the:

  • Lakeview Water Treatment Facility in Mississauga
  • MaRS Discovery District, Bank of Montreal and the University of Toronto in Toronto
  • University of Waterloo, Communitech, the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo
  • McMaster University and CanmetMATERIALS in Hamilton
  • Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Niagara College and the organic Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara
Group photo of the Americas Competitiveness Exchange delegation at MaRS Discovery District

The 6th ACE was important in raising the profile of one of Canada's leading innovation ecosystems and Canada's Inclusive Innovation Agenda to an international audience. Hosting the 6th ACE allowed ISED to demonstrate Canada's commitment to inclusive growth; forge connections with American and Latin American partners to increase innovation, trade and investment with the region; and demonstrate Canada's scientific and innovation assets to non-hemispheric Industry 4.0 leaders on the tour (Germany, Korea and Israel). ACE has already led to commercial and collaborative opportunities between host sites on the tour and ministries and commercial interests represented by the delegates. The trip book and video are available on the OAS website.

The ISED Design Lab

Wide-angle photo showing the co-founders of Blockchain Canada speaking to ISED employees about disruptive technologies

At ISED, we needed to establish a custom space where our employees and federal partners could easily collaborate with the private sector, academia and the public to deliver better products, policies, programs and services for their respective clients.

So ISED created its first design thinking start-up—the ISED Design Lab. The Lab has been especially successful in helping ISED and other public sector clients use design thinking tools and techniques to create prototype solutions to help deliver better services for Canadian business.

Photo of Deputy Minister Knubley holding a microphone while speaking to ISED employees during an event with Blockchain Canada

In addition to working with public sector clients on design projects, the ISED Design Lab has hosted a series of capacity building events in design thinking. One event, a Blockchain Canada primer and an Open Lab Blockchain Pitch session, introduced public servants to disruptive technology and showed how it can improve public policy and services. This event attracted over 150 people—65% from ISED and 35% from outside the Department.

ISED's Change One Thing Campaign

Photo of two representatives of the ISED Managers' Community at a podium during an event forum

The ISED Managers' Community set out to spark culture change within the department by inviting managers and aspiring managers to "Change One Thing" in support of an innovative and healthy workplace. The four-week challenge, led and designed by employees, kicked off with a managers' forum designed to provide both inspiration and practical tools and strategies. An ideas bank and helpful tips on evidence-based strategies for improving the workplace were developed and distributed.

Photo of an ISED employee standing in front of a 'Change One Thing' challenge poster

Managers also made a range of commitments, including turning off their smartphones at meetings, having more face time with their direct reports, being more clear about priorities and goals, and being more open to suggestions for improvements and innovations. Managers were invited to share their commitment online and through posters outside their offices.

Check out our "Change One Thing" Campaign video
Video promoting the “Change One Thing” campaign

Image showing the logo for ISED's 'Change One Thing' campaign

As part of the 'Change One Thing' campaign, I made a commitment to take time to drop by and say hi to employees on a regular basis. This change, small though it may be, is much appreciated. Here's an example: 'I appreciate it that Andrée says hi to us in the morning. Her behaviour shows that she really cares about her employees and that she isn't just doing it out of a sense of duty.  
—Andrée Patry, Manager Patent Operations Services, Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Quebec

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