From a table, a laptop and a title in 1990, the IOG quickly expanded its staff and expertise under the guidance of its founding President, Tim Plumptre. Today, it stands as a much-consulted independent source of knowledge and experience on governance in Canada and around the world.
Initially established as an independent observer and advisor, the IOG was usefully positioned “on the window sill of government”. From the start, the IOG worked internationally carrying out advisory and research work of its own and at the request of donor organizations. Its Canadian and international practices informed each other and made research and advice richer for the blend. The two principal knowledge areas at the time were Public Service Reform and International Development.
The exploration of governance itself grew with the organization. By the ten-year mark, the IOG had 15 staff in Ottawa, a small project office in Kuala Lumpur, and had worked in 20 countries. Our knowledge areas had increased to include Aboriginal Governance, Technology and Governance, and Board Governance. The development of the Five Principles of Governance provided a framework for our approach. The Learning Centre, officially opened in 2002, formalized the IOG’s existing workshops and programs, providing a focal point for ongoing learning and development.
The IOG’s second decade was marked by increasing competence in core areas and a steady expansion of knowledge areas and services. The Learning Centre now supports some 40 programs a year, has welcomed several thousand participants to its workshops and has undertaken custom design for clients across the country and the world. Our Board and Organizational Governance, Indigenous Governance and International Programming areas have produced many dozens of reports and papers. To date we have completed over a thousand projects for hundreds of clients in 35 countries.
Although new knowledge areas and services continue to be added, our original aim—to create, share and apply knowledge of governance—remains at the heart of the organization. The IOG celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2010.