What’s happening during Digital Government week in Ottawa?
When we launched FWD50, we had a few clear rules:
- No expo hall. The conference isn’t a tradeshow; our partners believe that a rising tide lifts all boats, and brings great content—and if they don’t, the audience can go elsewhere during the event.
- Nonpartisan. Our allegiance is to society as a whole; the “FWD” in our name means “neither left, nor right, but forward.”
- Open. We know we’re part of a community, both in Canada and globally, trying to use technology to improve society.
We’d always hoped that FWD50 could serve as a “lightning rod” around which other groups can coalesce. The week that FWD50 happens, we have some high-powered infrastructure (in the form of the Aberdeen Pavillion and the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne park.) We also have an abundance of amazing speakers from around the world. And of course, we have the immense privilege of a Bully Pulpit. We take these things seriously.
One of our breakout rooms, packed to standing room only, last year.
One of the ways we try to make the most of this is to work with a number of communities and groups to put on events in and around FWD50 itself. Our goal, over time, is to turn this into a week of digital government events for organizations at home and abroad.
Here’s a list of the things that are happening alongside the event—it’s probably incomplete, because we’re adding more events every day at this point. If you’ve got something you’d like to run in and around FWD50, please contact us via our website or on Twitter.
Our venue has three breakout rooms, which are available at breakfast and lunch on both November 6 and 7. So we open those up to community groups, NGOs, and civil society organizations to use for on-site meetups. These are informal gatherings and a chance to chat for an hour about a particular topic or project.
A few familiar faces in the growing FWD50 family.
November 6 breakfast (8–9AM)
- Meet with the folks behind OneTeamGov Canada, a global public sector reform movement which aims to improve public services and change the way we work through practical action.
- “Data Viz” as a tool for disruption. Ask Me Anything about data innovation at the Canada Energy Regulator.
November 6 lunch (12:30-1:30PM)
- Join Estonia’s Kristo Vaher for an open format discussion regarding next generation citizen experience and what more we could do to get there now, and in the coming years.
- Join this meetup for a conversation on eliminating barriers and advancing accessibility for Canadians.
- Join Aaron Snow and the Canadian Digital Service, to talk about “The Art of the Possible”.
November 7 breakfast (8–9AM)
- Code for Canada connects all the Canadian civic tech groups through a community network and has a playbook for government innovators to find ways to meaningfully engage these passionate citizens to help make government more ‘by the people’.
- Ever wonder what a Government of Canada Entrepreneur (GCE) is and what they do? Stop by to learn more about their exciting initiatives and an excellent leadership opportunity!
- Join Pia Andrews for a Government as a Platform meetup.
The Code for Canada teams will be sporting these jackets throughout the event once again this November.
November 7 lunch (12:30–1:30PM)
- Connect with ARMA Canada for a meetup on the Black stage: Digital transformation, big data, AI, blockchain and other information technologies are changing the way we manage records.
Regional Digital Government Summit
New for 2019, the Regional Digital Government Summit is a place for provincial, state, and municipal government leaders to focus on the unique opportunities and obstacles they face. It happens from 11AM-5PM on November 6.
Some of the Ontario Digital Service team getting ready backstage in 2018
We’re thrilled to be helping put this on; it’s being chaired by three digital government heavyweights:
- Hillary Hartley (Chief Digital and Data Officer and Deputy Minister, Cabinet Office for the Province of Ontario)
- Catherine Desgagnés‑Belzil (Chief Digital Officer and Head of Quebec’s Digital Center of Excellence for the Province of Quebec)
- Nikhil J. Deshpande (Chief Digital Officer for the State of Georgia.)
We’re hoping this parallel event, which expands FWD50 to regional governments, will become a regular part of the conference each year. It’s open to all attendees of FWD50, however, participants will be asked to sign in at the door so that the nature of the event is understood, the room is secure, and we can keep in touch.
Back for its third year, this fun evening event invites speakers to entertain us—quickly! The popular Ignite format has been run thousands of times around the world: Speakers present 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds, making a series of fun 5-minute talks.
Our 2018 Policy Ignite co-hosts managing a motley lineup of speakers.
Code for Canada
Code for Canada is hosting one of its Open Houses as an official side event at this year’s FWD50 conference. It’s a chance to learn more about their mission and connect with civic tech and digital government practitioners in Canada.
You’ll also hear directly from 2019 Code for Canada fellows, and see the impact they’re making inside the federal government, including:
- Working with the Canada Energy Regulator to make data about national energy projects more accessible and useful.
- Teaming up with the Public Health Agency of Canada to help them find and fund community health initiatives.
- Working with Public Services and Procurement Canada to reimagine the government travel experience.
This event is free and open to the public; you do not need to be registered for FWD50 to attend.
CFR’s Regulatory Innovation Showcase
We’re also working with the Canadian Federation of Regulators, OCIO, and other groups to make this a packed week of digital government and technology transformation content. The CFR is running a regulatory innovation showcase in the Horticultural Building on November 5 (as a separate event from FWD50; tickets and details here.)
And of course, there’s plenty of networking, breaks, and other events to connect with your peers from around the world. If you want to be a part of it, grab your ticket now.
Last year had plenty of networking for speakers, partners, and senior public sector officials, too. Lansdowne is the perfect location for this kind of connecting in and around the conference.
Our goal is to give every stakeholder in digital government a platform and a place to gather. We make space available for free (or at cost if you require A/V technicians during their lunch break) and would love to include your group. If you’re part of a nonprofit or community group that wants to coordinate a meetup onsite for FWD50 attendees, let us know.