Week 27 — Data Analytics for the Public Sector

  • Diversity is important if we want to be better public servants designing services that are effective and help people. However, diversity in our workforce is only the first step. Public servants are not representative of the people they serve. Public servants are largely speaking university educated, making way above the average income and live in urban environments (or close to them). This is not representative of the average Canadian.
  • It is important for public servants to get out of their bubble and talk to real Canadians. If you don’t, you create an echo chamber that will not let you do your best work or design the best services.
  • Failure is ok and it is good to keep re-enforcing this message. However, the structural systems (budgets, at-risk pay, who we promote etc.) of the public service do not indicate a tolerance for failure.
  • Bias in AI is bias in our people, processes and systems. We need leaders who understand that the problem is not that the AI is bias but that we are bias. We need leaders who can face that head-on and be open to hard truths.
  • Innovation succeeds because you have people who understand how to take something risky or novel and navigate it through the bureaucracy. The talent gap in government isn’t in hard skills (we can hire AI developers). The talent gap (if it exists) is in people who understand how to move through the bureaucracy while understanding innovation. It’s a rare skillset and we need to build up people to be able to do this.

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Scott McNaughton

Scott McNaughton

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Working on public sector innovation one problem at a time. Found biking and hiking on weekends. Father of young baby… what is sleep?