Starting New Ventures (and adding a new colour to the Life Calendar)

I’m excited to share that I’m embarking on some new ventures in my digital government journey. Late last year I made a big leap professionally and left the federal government after many years working on issues around using new digital technology to modernize the public service. Having successfully launched the Canadian Digital Service last year, after much reflection I decided that the right path for me to take professionally and personally was to leave the public service and continue working on these issues from outside of government. I took a 6-month “sabbatical” to put some focused efforts on the¬†project that I’ve been working on for the past couple years to use digital media to preserve the history and traditions of my ancestors, the Saskatchewan Doukhobors (more updates on that to come soon) – but also to take some time to reflect on what my next steps professionally were going to be.

Over the past few weeks as my sabbatical period started coming to a close, what those new professional ventures are going to be have come into focus and I’m happy to share two new initiatives that I am going to be taking on:

  • I am partnering with the Institute on Governance (IOG) – an Ottawa-based non-profit with a mission to advance better governance in the public sector – to develop digital leadership/literacy training courses for government executives. I’m very excited about the possibilities to make a real impact through training to improve the level of digital literacy in government and ensure that those who are sitting at the management table of public sector organizations are prepared for the challenges and opportunities of leadership in the digital era. I’ve known of the IOG’s work for a number of years, and with their deep experience on governance issues and delivering training specifically tailored for public servants (not to mention their new training space that just happens to be located next door to the best Italian deli in Ottawa!), I think the possibilities are huge as to what we can accomplish together through this partnership. More details to come soon, but we are planning to run our first series of digital leadership courses for public service executives later this fall.
  • I’ve also kept a bit of space free on my dance card to take on some strategic consulting work in the digital government realm, and I am very happy to also report that I’m going to be working with the Chief Information Officer for Transport Canada over the next few months. I’ve long been a big fan of the work that Julie Leese has been doing at Transport to not only modernize the operations of her IT team, but also to more broadly lead a shift in how “digital” becomes an enabler for everything that the department is doing. I’ll be providing some strategic advice to Julie and her team as they continue their good work to establish Transport Canada as a leader in applying modern digital and design approaches to government service delivery.

With these new ventures now starting in earnest, I thought this was a good time to update my long-standing Life Calendar project (for those interested in the origin story of the Life Calendar and it’s evolution, you can read about it here, here, and here). It’s been a few years since I updated it last, so I’ve added on colours to represent my return to federal government in Ottawa from my time in Paris and my subsequent departure from the public service, the Doukhobor project that has been ongoing for the past couple of years, and just as of this week a new orange colour to mark the start these new ventures from outside of government. I still find it a bit humbling to look at one’s whole life laid out at a glance – if nothing else, it helps you to step back from the day-to-day and think about the context of our lives and how we spend our time.

P.S. I was recently contacted by someone in Germany to let me know about a project she has launched called¬†kalenderkind.com to sell her unique variation on Life Calendars via Etsy. If you are interested in the Life Calendar concept it is well worth checking out, and you can go deeper down the rabbit-hole through her research page of different Life Calendar concepts from around the world (including yours truly’s).

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