government

GovCamp’s Coming to Toronto: Thursday, June 17th

by Joey deVilla on June 11, 2010

govcamp toronto

GovCamp in Toronto!

First came GovCamp in Ottawa (May 31st – June 1st), and now GovCamp is coming to Toronto! GovCamp is an “Open Government” or “Goverment 2.0” unconference with these two goals:

  1. For governments to become more open, transparent, participatory, innovative, efficient and effective
  2. For citizens to become more connected to each other around their civic passions in the place they call home

GovCamp Toronto will take place on the evening of Thursday, June 17th and will be an evening where all sorts of people, from private citizens to government officials to representatives of publicly-funded organizations will get together to talk about the intersection of:

  • Government transformation
  • Social networking software
  • Participatory approaches to public engagement
  • Open data
  • Public service renewal

Is GovCamp the sort of thing you should attend? It is if you’re one of the following:

  • A municipal, provincial or federal public servant or a public sector agency employee with an interest in these topics
  • A thought leader looking to share and connect with this community
  • A member of the community of developers, advocates and practitioners in public engagement, government communications, technology, open data, open government or "Gov 2.0"

Who’ll Be There?

Few people know more about setting up “Government 2.0” unconferences than Toronto’s favourite high-tech policy wonk Mark Kuznicki, and we’re very fortunate to have him as GovCamp Toronto’s MC and facilitator. Mark has been behind a number of similar unconferences, including ChangeCamp, TransitCamp and Metronauts.

There will be a number of special guests including:

GovCamp Toronto will be hosted by:

  • Omar Rashid, Public Sector, Microsoft Canada
  • Julia Stowell, Interoperability Lead, Microsoft Canada

Where, When and What’s Happening

appel salon

GovCamp Toronto’s venue is nice and also quite central: the Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street, just north of Bloor).

Here’s the agenda:

5:00 Catered reception
6:00 Welcome
6:10 Opening remarks (David Eaves)
6:25 Discussion hosts introduce topics
7:00 Small group discussions and demonstrations
8:30 Closing wrap discussion
9:00 Catered reception

There are a number of ways to participate:

  • You can host a conversation. The conversations at GovCamp Toronto are created by you. We are looking for up to 20 hosts to help convene small group conversations on a variety of topics related to our theme. If you’ve got an idea for a conversation topic, propose one using the online form.
  • You can demo your web or mobile application. We’re looking for up to 6 web or mobile app demos that show the value of open public data, demonstrate what is possible in open government, or demonstrate real world application of social tools inside government. If you’ve built such an app, propose a demo using the online form.
  • You can join the conversation. You can either:

Find Out More About GovCamp

There’s lot of information, ideas and reportage from the recent GovCamp in Ottawa at the GovCamp site – be sure to check it out!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Shape the Future at Canada GovCamp

by Joey deVilla on May 18, 2010

Photo of the Peace Tower in Ottawa: "GovCamp: Ottawa, May 31 - June 1, 2010" Creative Commons Photo by the Poissant Family.

Canada GovCamp is happening May 31 and June 1, 2010 at Ottawa U. and you’re invited!

What is GovCamp?

It’s a gathering of local citizens, public sector employees, service delivery leaders and policy people with an interest in having a conversation on engaging citizens, empowering business and increasing internal efficiencies through transformational government activities across all levels of government (municipal, regional, provincial and federal). It’s neither a trade show nor a product-oriented discussion, but rather a workshop style unconference where participants establish the agenda and explore the themes that are of most interest to them.

Why GovCamp?

We’ve seen a number of great communities spring up across Canada to think about, discuss and build a new relationship with their local governments, often through the use of technology. These activities are accelerated by bringing the community together at workshop-style unconferences such as ChangeCamp and BarCamp. Having participated in these local activities and experiencing the creative energy first-hand, we began to think about how the ideas and enthusiasm we saw at these local events could be shared in a broader context. We thought that it would be interesting to bring together communities across camps, a sort of Jamboree, to explore opportunities to work together on open government activities across multiple levels of government.

To Talk about What?

  • Wouldn’t it be great to call one number and be able to get an answer to government services regardless of which level provided it?
  • Reserve your campsite from one website without having to think about which department managed the site?
  • How about being able to give your input and be heard on government initiatives that start from the speech from the throne and are delivered through provincial programs by you municipality?

These are the types of conversations we are looking to have.

Who Else Will be There?

Confirmed guests include:

  • Welcome keynote speaker Jerry Mechling, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
  • The opening panel discussion members:
    • Guy Michaud, CIO, City of Ottawa
    • David Eaves, a major proponent of Vancouver’s OpenGov, who’ll also do the end-of-unconference wrap-up
    • Eric Sauve, Newsgator and former CEO of Tomoye
  • Mark Kuznicki, Toronto’s civic unconference organizer extraordinaire, who’ll lead the development of the ideas matrix from which the unconference sessions will be formed

In putting GovCamp together, we’re reaching out to a number organizations and communities including:

Who is GovCamp For?

This event is for:

  • IT People –Technology is one way that governments are transforming how they deliver services externally and internally. Technology people are needed to explore the art of the possible for these new services. Mash-ups, Open Data, social media are but a few of the possible areas for discussion.
  • Policy People – We need you in the conversation so that you can share your expertise on the realm of the possible from a policy perspective. Privacy, Security, Access to Information, Information Management are all key considerations for successful government transformation.  Come share your knowledge on how to make these policies enable new services.
  • Government Services leaders – Ultimately, government delivers value through the many services that are provided. GovCamp is about exploring the realm of the possible for service to individuals, services to businesses and services to other departments. Your voice is essential to inform the community and to guide those ideas that the community may have for you!
  • Community – We are fortunate that there’s a passionate and creative community with vibrant ideas about how they can help create a closer connection between governments, individuals, businesses and even among government itself. Your participation at the Canada Gov Camp will provide you with a venue to share your great ideas and, if all goes well, interact with some of the people that can take your idea further.

How Much, and Where do I Register?

Registration for GovCamp is free! To register, visit the registration page. For more information, see John Weigelt’s blog.

Who’s Behind this Event?

Canada GovCamp is being hosted by the Canadian Association for Information Technology Professionals, sponsored by Microsoft Canada on behalf of the community.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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GovCamp: Ottawa, May 31 – June 1, 2010

by Joey deVilla on May 10, 2010

 Photo of the Peace Tower in Ottawa: "GovCamp: Ottawa, May 31 - June 1, 2010" Creative Commons Photo by the Poissant Family.

Open Government / Government 2.0

The intersection of the internet and politics has given rise to many things, including the concept often referred to as “Open Government” or “Government 2.0”. To borrow a couple of lines from Mark Kuznicki’s keynote at ChangeCamp Toronto, its goals are twofold:

  1. For governments to become more open, transparent, participatory, innovative, efficient and effective
  2. For citizens to become more connected to each other around their civic passions in the place they call home

Events like ChangeCamp, TransitCamp and Metronauts – unconferences where ordinary citizens, government officials and representatives of organizations that receive public funding meet to exchange ideas – have been happening across Canada. At these events, people have thought about, discussed and built new relationships with their local governments, often through the use of technology.

Most of these events focused on a local community, municipality or occasionally, a province, but none of them have had a discussion at the federal level. Could this be done at a broader level?

GovCamp: May 31 – June 1 in Ottawa

GovCamp logo

That’s where GovCamp comes in. It’s an “Open Government”/”Government 2.0” discussion where the topics will be centred around Canada as a whole, the interactions between cities and provinces, and how our provincial and federal governments can help cultivate the growth and prosperity of Canadians and their vibrant communities.

John Weigelt, Microsoft Canada’s National Technology Officer, is putting together this event, which takes place on Monday, May 31st and Tuesday, June 1st in Ottawa. It’ll be a gathering of local citizens, public sector employees, service delivery leaders and policy people with an interest in having a conversation about engaging citizens and businesses and making government at all levels more open, responsive and efficient. It won’t be a trade show or product-oriented discussion; instead, it will be a workshop-style unconference where participants establish the agenda and explore the themes that they care most about.

GovCamp is being hosted by CIPS – the Canadian Association for Information Technology Professionals – and sponsored by Microsoft Canada on behalf of the community.

Who’s Coming to GovCamp?

In putting GovCamp together, we’re reaching out to a number organizations and communities including:

Who is GovCamp For?

This event is for:

  • IT People –Technology is one way that governments are transforming how they deliver services externally and internally. Technology people are needed to explore the art of the possible for these new services. Mash-ups, Open Data, social media are but a few of the possible areas for discussion.
  • Policy People – We need you in the conversation so that you can share your expertise on the realm of the possible from a policy perspective. Privacy, Security, Access to Information, Information Management are all key considerations for successful government transformation.  Come share your knowledge on how to make these policies enable new services.
  • Government Services leaders – Ultimately, government delivers value through the many services that are provided. GovCamp is about exploring the realm of the possible for service to individuals, services to businesses and services to other departments. Your voice is essential to inform the community and to guide those ideas that the community may have for you!
  • Community – We are fortunate that there’s a passionate and creative community with vibrant ideas about how they can help create a closer connection between governments, individuals, businesses and even among government itself. Your participation at the Canada Gov Camp will provide you with a venue to share your great ideas and, if all goes well, interact with some of the people that can take your idea further.

How Much, and Where do I Register?

Registration for GovCamp is free! To register, visit the registration page.

GovCamp will be held at the University of Ottawa, in a location to be determined.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Is Canada Becoming a Digital Ghetto?

by Joey deVilla on November 27, 2008

Over at CBC’s Search Engine, Jesse Brown asks an important question: Is Canada Becoming a Digital Ghetto? I’m reproducing the article in its entirety below.

Tundra

Here are three things that suck about being Canadian right now:

  1. Last week the CRTC sided with Bell against a group of small Internet Service Providers who want to offer their customers unthrottled connections where what they download is their own business and not subject to interference.
  2. In last week’s throne speech the Conservative government renewed their intention to “modernize” Canadian copyright law. Their effort to do so last session was Bill C-61, a woefully unbalanced and retrograde piece of legislation that led to the greatest citizen backlash to any proposed bill in recent memory. Yet there has been no indication from new Industry Minister Tony Clement that a much-needed public consultation will take place. The best he has offered is the possibility of a “slightly different” version of the bill.
  3. Twitter has just announced that they are killing outbound SMS messaging in Canada due to exorbitant and constant rate hikes from Canadian cell providers (former Industry Minister Jim Prentice vowed to get tough on SMS price gouging, then backpedalled). Cell phone rates in Canada are among the highest in the world, and the result is that mobile penetration is pathetically low and that emerging new cultural platforms like Twitter are being hobbled.

This growing list of backwards policies is already creating a sense of digital isolation: Canadians can’t stream the videos Americans stream, download the files Americans download, remix the media Americans remix, or tweet the way Americans tweet.

With the election of Barack Obama, digital culture in the U.S. hit a tipping point, where a robust online public sphere proved itself capable of changing the world. Meanwhile, here in Canada we’re approaching our own tipping point, where a series of ignorances and capitulations threaten to turn our country into a digital ghetto.

[Thanks to Mark Relph for pointing me to this article.]

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