I’ve read many different interpretations and applications of Agile, product management and Dev/Ops. At their best, these ways of working have helped many organizations become more human-centered, resilient, adaptive, and innovative by getting the most out of the people in the organization to create value for users of their products and services. In turn, these organizations have become more successful, trusted, and profitable.

Because of this success, there is a rush in many sectors for organizations to become more Agile. In this rush to modernize, organizations can lose the core reason these changes to work have been successful. …


The strategic value of an accelerator program

When asked about my journey to government I often say that I “followed the cookie crumbs”. It is no secret that government services often do not meet the expectations of citizens or their needs. I have experienced it first hand as a citizen and as a non-profit leader. My desire to be part of the solution (plus luck) led me to dedicate my career to serving the servants; to better enable our public institutions to deliver in a new era.

I have had the privilege and responsibility of leading hundreds of public servants through innovation processes like accelerators, sprints, and…


The Rationale for a Parallel Learning Structure in Government

I have recently been tasked with designing and testing a parralel learning structure to aid in the capture and sharing of insights and recommendations for systems change. The intention is that this will enable my government to remain agile beyond the crisis.

Knowing that many other governments are launching, or in the midst of similar initiatives, I wanted to share our thinking to date. As we roll out the initiative we will be sharing lessons and cases as much as possible.

This series documents the rationale, the problem, the opportunity, ideas about the solution (parallel learning structure), and a conclusion…


Knowing the Difference Between Drywall and a Load Bearing Wall

As a homeowner I have so many ideas for change and improvement. Most often those ideas remain just that: ideas. “Better not pull up that floor, who knows what I’ll find under there”, I caution myself. “Don’t want to have the roof fall in trying to open up this room, better just stay in the dark”. So usually I resort to doing nothing or something superficial like painting.

Then the basement gets flooded and… we have no reason to avoid the changes. Doing nothing, or simply doing the superficial, are no longer reasonable alternatives to making the changes we need…


Lessons I learned from Dubai The Model Centre

The low-hanging fruit of efficiency and improvement have been picked. Deeper changes to the way the public service operates are required to achieve performance excellence in government.

In the past three years I have had the privilege of being part of the Hamdan bin Mohammed Award for Smart Government in Dubai. Each year a group of experts in public innovation and digital government assemble in Dubai to evaluate 30–40 of the government’s service improvement initiatives. Last week DTMC and CityMaker wrapped another innovation cycle.

This year my team engaged directly with eleven innovation teams across Dubai Government entities. As with…


Transformation Is Not An Internal Consultancy

The term transformation is thrown around A LOT. This post is a plea for organizations and teams in the public sector to dig deeper, beyond using the term as a branding exercise. The post uses digital as the example but this plea applies equally to any transformation effort (including and especially innovation labs). Digital transformation in an organization must go beyond offering products and services in bits of code.

Transformation is much deeper than the proverbial tip of the iceberg. We are talking about organizational or societal level changes. The end game is not digitizing existing services. …


Each month in the Government of New Brunswick, public servants convene in a colourful, street-level, open work environment with plenty of wall space and whiteboard surfaces. They are here for the regular Public Innovation 101 workshop.

Neither the look nor the feel of the space resembles a traditional government meeting. The participants are gathered in a circle and each sharing something about themselves (What is their superpower? Why did they become public servants? What motivates them to excel in their work?). This is part of the first lesson in the workshop: innovation will be uncomfortable, unfamiliar by nature, and require…


Every public service touchpoint is a handshake that subconsciously defines our relationship with government.

Gracen introduced me to the concept of the loose doorknob effect https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17975402710176101/

Gracen Johnson introduced me to the concept of the loose doorknob effect many moons ago when she posted an Instagram story that stuck with me.

She writes:

“Doorknobs are a part of your home that you interact with every day. It’s disturbing in a subtle way when a doorknob doesn’t feel sturdy and functional.

Every damn time you turn a wiggly doorknob with a loose screw, or feel a dented hollow one, or WORST, try to turn one that doesn’t even turn, it cheapens the feel of the building”

The doorknob is your handshake with a house and jiggly doorknobs…


We need to transform what we measure in government

Metrics, metrics, metrics. In government we track A LOT of information, largely quantitative, about our activities and desired outcomes. Theoretically this should help government actors track progress against work plans, action plans, project plans, strategies, priority projects, etc. and communicate that progress to their managers, executives, cabinet and the public.

Metrics are instrumental for this tracking. There are however a number of traps we get caught in when using metrics that unintentionally generate friction in our efforts to create value, innovate, or change the status quo. Collecting data and measuring progress should help us learn. That is the prime directive…


It’s not a place. It’s something we create.

My 8 year old brought up the most interesting dinner conversation the other day.

He said, “Daddy, do you know why we can’t predict the future”?

“That’s a really interesting question! Why can’t we predict the future”, I asked.

“Because we’re all creating it together, all the time”.

“🤯”

Ok. Whoa. Now I’m not certain but I have a hunch that this is a concept most adults don’t really understand.

My dear friend Beth Lyons recently introduced me to Deem Journal. The home page displayed an interview with Collective Future’s Ronni Kimm and Eric Holdener that I highly recommend. …

Nick Scott

I want to change the system / je veux changer le système #collectiveimpact #opengov #opengovNB #opendata #socinn #psilabs #govmaker @rrpsnbsprn @nou_lab

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