Can we motivate civil society to form a collaborative approach to Canadian governance?
How will governing – public decision making – be influenced through citizens evolving new digital and place-based channels?
The January DwD was a public workshop convened by OCADU’s Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) as part of our ongoing SSHRC-sponsored action research conducted during 2014. We hosted 25 participants in reframing and representing key challenges and future innovations that might influence civic participation and governing across Canadian government sectors. A current model of the Gigamap (large-scale system map) as a departure point for participant contributions, you can contribute to the discourse by building on and critiquing the findings of a recent major workshop via card sort and dialogue mapping.
Governance in our digital era is a central challenge facing government institutions and societies in the coming decades where information ownership is uncertain, power is dispersed, and authority and accountability need to be reconceived. Last November we convened a diverse group of practitioners, policy experts and academics to explore how digital technology and new flows of information have been influencing governance and government practice, and where it might have potential to more significantly transform analysis, engagement, policy, service delivery, and accountability. We are seeking many perspectives on the promise and concerns of digital engagement, and the positive possibilities for designing and delivering public policy and services. We want to hear your views on how governments at all levels in Canada might re-conceive various governance practices as digital tools and practices continue to evolve.
We are interested in discovering how the practices and expectations of governance are and will be shifting from the vantage point of citizens and other stakeholders, communities, and sectors. We aim to explore how Canada – with all of its levels of government and regional diversity – might evolve as a basis for considering how government practices ought to transform.
Digital era governance can be understood from a technology-centric viewpoint or a governing practices perspective, which largely colours the values and strategies under discussion. Since the start of the Internet era, governments have sought greater efficiencies and interaction with citizens and stakeholders. Digital governance includes issues such as citizen rights and uses of data, the questions of government control through ICT, and the online management of benefits and services. It is now simple to pay parking tickets online. But understanding the core issues and arguments in legislation remains as murky as ever. Is it fair to suggest that digital rights may filter the power of citizen access?
We asked participants to do some homework to familiarize themselves with some of the issues and trends in “digital governance” and the larger trends concerning Canadian government relevant to discussions.
- The recent story in The Toronto Star about the disturbing trend of low trust in Canadian elections.
- The Globe’s analysis piece on internet as both agora and problematic foreign policy for alternative diplomatic channels
- Ethan Zuckerman (MIT’s Civic Center) on social surveillance, internet privacy, and the lack of knowledge about digital technology in social change.
- The NCDD 2013 Conference on Building a Global Civic Infrastructure
Gigamaps: The Gigamap presented at the Ottawa conference was displayed in the workshop as an evolving model. Final visual maps may appear more like this online Gigamap on the Circular Economy from a student team in our OCADU SFI course. Maps may include system diagrams as found in this student project on the adaptation of veterans to civilian life http://resetremembrance.ca