We enjoyed the recent Code For Canada Summit so much that we couldn’t help but create a second video of highlights!

What sets the Summit apart from a regular conference is its focus on real, tangible examples of work happening at the intersection of technology and public service.

We were consistently impressed by the detailed case studies, comprehensive and inclusive workshop sessions, and the general positive, collaborative attitude among all attendees.

Our video recap, part 2

You’ll see from our footage, over one hundred enthusiastic digital changemakers convened to share frank talk about the state of digital transformation and service design in government. The conference explored what’s working, how we can better support and upskill teams, and how to best collaborate across the public and private sector on solutions to improve processes, products, and service, all for the common good.

In our second recap video, we share highlights from our conversations with:

  • Safiah Chowdhury, Policy Development Officer, City of Toronto
  • Sameer Vasta, Lead, Employee Experience, Ontario Digital Service
  • Elvis Wong, Founder and Director, Innovate Financial Health
  • Honey Dacanay, Director, Digital Academy, Canada School of Public Service


Safiah Chowdhury:

I think a really core component of the work that I do and that people who work in municipal service, municipal governments do, is fundamentally thinking of everybody as a subject matter expert. So people with lived experiences of poverty are subject matter experts and often in a system that is replete with challenges, it is a system where people are critically underserved in so many different facets. The problems are, there’s a range of problems that need solving, and I don’t believe the solutions are necessarily challenging to get to. It’s just a matter of asking and ensuring that the right people are engaged in that solution making. So when we think of residents in precarious situations as subject matter experts, when you think of frontline caseworkers and staff as subject matter experts, it’s actually very simple to figure out how to marry needs and solutions.

Sameer Vasta:

So we can’t say we’re only gonna design for the average. We have to design for the entire spectrum. And that means designing way out to the margins. But the margins are actually probably more important than the average. Because if people can’t opt out, then the people who are gonna be most ignored are those people on the margins.

Elvis Wong:

I just think of the language that you’re using. If you think of the design of your app, there’s one session that we had in our accellerator where just in terms of the designer website one of the companies, very blue, all the pictures that you use were male, et cetera. It was like, so they got feedback that this is an intimidating product and intimidating website for a lot of people.

Honey Dacanay:

So the digital government movement, follows two principles essentially. The first is work in the open, which means fail forward, and share everything in terms of what works, what doesn’t. And then the second is pay it forward. And so make it easy for others to do the same thing. Help other governments get set up. There is no other community globally that’s as tight knit I think then the digital government community and everybody’s always welcome to, so there’s even a tradition of visiting different counterpart officers or the ability to pick up the phone and call your counterpart from somewhere else, since you’re just starting out and helping figure out a pass forward together and so even at the summit today of figuring out how we can share best practices for teaching and learning digital, is something I knew in principle we need to do together.

Sameer Vasta:

The summit is really exciting because it is a larger scale version of what they are doing. It’s not just embedding the follows into a team for 10 months but it’s embedding all of these people from a diversity perspective who thinks in different ways, who work in different ways to share with each other. It’s creating that human friction that we need to find and is allowing us to be grateful to be part of the community who actually embraces these kinds of thoughts. I love what they’re doing with the fellows. I love what they’re doing with great, I love what they’re doing with their . There’s so many things that they’re doing great but the thing I love most of our code for Canada is helping us understand that we’re not alone. That there’s a community of people who believe in the same kind of things and that we can work and make great change if we work with the community and alongside it.

From chatting with the former and future Code for Canada Fellows, to tapping into the expertise of many public sector, third sector, and private sector speakers, The Say Yeah Team was thrilled to have the chance to connect with our public sector and social good peers.

Many thanks to the Code For Canada team. You were so gracious and helpful in facilitating our filming and participation. We hope everyone enjoys hearing from these civic tech leaders as much as we enjoyed speaking with them!

In Part 1 of our Code for Canada Summit recap, we spoke with experts about strategies for digital government and how to get past service delivery roadblocks

We’ve worked on a series of transformational public sector research, service design, and digital product projects over the years.

We’re here to help improve digital maturity, service delivery, and user experience, all through an inclusive lens.

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