Want to Reduce the Risk of Getting Digital Government Wrong? Us Too

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Here at Code for Canada, we’re not big believers in new years’ resolutions. But we do love a good goal, and this year, we’ve got some big ones.

We’ve spent the last five years partnering with government teams to create digital products and services that improve people’s lives, from a better intake form for Toronto’s shelter system to improved access to veterans’ benefits. We’ve seen the power of getting digital government right — and the risk of getting it wrong.

In fact, we’ve honed our ability to reduce that risk and sharing it with our partners is one of our main goals for the year, along with telling the stories of impactful digital government in action, investing in our team, and continuing to support Canada’s growing civic tech network.

Here’s a quick look at what we have planned for the year ahead.

We’re spreading the word about how to reduce the risk for your next digital government project

We don’t have to look far for examples of when digital government goes wrong and the risks it opens up; from failed service delivery to fueling distrust in our public institutions.

Here at C4C, we’ve often focused on the benefits of our approach to digital transformation — inclusive, accessible, and effective products and services, made with the public they’re intended for, at a cost that respects them.

This year, we’re flipping the script, and asking leaders and decision-makers to consider the risk of not adopting these best practices. From headline-grabbing price tags, to over-reliance on the same big-name vendors to — worst of all — an inability to fulfil government’s mandate and meet residents’ needs.

We want to be bold in asserting this truth, because the stakes are too high not to. People across this country need digital services they can use. It’s time we started talking about the cost of failing to deliver them.

We’re going to be louder about sharing our work

2022 was a year of major change at Code for Canada. We embraced a collaborations model that lets us take on work on a project-by-project basis, embedding digital professionals within government where they work on projects that matter.

It was a big shift, and one we were quiet about as we adjusted to a new way of working. This year we want to change that. We’ll be working with our staff, collaborators and volunteers so that everyone feels confident telling the stories of our work.

We have some incredible projects in the pipeline, and we can’t wait to tell you about them in the coming months.

We’re investing in our team

Of course, none of this work is possible without our team of staff and collaborators. This year and every year, one of our main goals is to ensure everyone feels confident and happy logging into work in the morning.

In 2023 we’re particularly focused on trust — to do great work, we want everyone on our team to feel confident taking mission-aligned risks and owning initiatives that further our mission of improving lives using tech & design.

We’ve built a strong foundation, testing out features like letting our staff go off-camera as much as they like, conducting weekly retros where people can share anonymous comments and offering no-questions-asked personal days. But we want to go further this year.

We’re going to be collaborating with our team throughout the year on initiatives to make this goal a reality, and are excited to share back our results.

We’re continuing to support civic tech across Canada

If you’ve been following our work for a while, you know we’re deeply committed to the volunteers across Canada using tech and design to improve their communities, otherwise known as the Civic Tech Community Network.

We believe that civic tech and the people who make it happen can create sustainable solutions for people across Canada in a way that public, private and civil sectors struggle to. We are planning to lean into that belief this year, collaborating with our friends in different provinces to see what is possible.

Want to know more?

Now that we’ve outlined some of our goals for the year, we want to hear from you. We’d love to hear any thoughts, questions or ideas you might have (especially if it means the possibility of working together.) Don’t be a stranger!

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