Preparing Government for the Data and Information Needs of the 21st Century – Summary Report

In the digital era of information superabundance, the challenge for governments is clear: how will they put in place the processes, frameworks and capabilities to manage this information and data so that it meets growing and complex needs and expectations?

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) specialists have done their best to put generic “safety net” solutions in place to meet complex business requirements. But policy makers and program managers are now important players in the information and data game. New, contemporary requirements and challenges have emerged that will expand in urgency and importance. The burning issues of government, from accountability to open government to security and privacy, are largely contingent on the information and data insights of program managers and policy makers.

In today’s data-rich world, everyone is an information steward. The traditional mandated imperatives of technology solutions and compliance must be expanded beyond CIOs and IM/IT specialists to those who run the business of government. Thus, CIOs, IM/IT specialists need to collaborate with policy and program managers to find appropriate solutions if government is to build the necessary information capacities and change agenda for the 21st century. Consequently, the roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities of all players must be more precisely defined, beyond those of IM/IT specialists.

Digital information leaders from the public service, academia, and consulting firms were invited to the Institute on Governance (IOG) on May 1, 2014, to network, exchange ideas, and gauge interest in establishing a continuing dialogue or community of interest related to information management (IM) in a digital age. This unique consultation event, held jointly by the IOG and On Second Thought Advisory (OSTA), brought together a range of public service, private sector, and academic communities including program managers, policy makers, CIOs and IM/IT specialists to ask them a simple question: how can we work together to create a sustainable change agenda that connects data and information technologies and management with the program and policy needs of government?

This report provides a summary of the discussion that took place during the breakout sessions and plenary discussion at this event, as well as proposes specific next steps as a course of action.


About the Authors

  • Dustin Munroe

    Dustin Munroe

    Research Officer

    Dustin has been a Research Officer at the Institute on Governance since September of 2012. Much of his work at the IOG involves research, writing, and logistical support for advisory services projects. These projects serve clients that seek expertise from the IOG in our knowledge areas of not-for-profit governance and public sector governance. Another area where Dustin has been deployed is in support of the IOG’s Public Governance Exchange (PGEx) applied research initiative. In addition to his responsibilities in advisory services, Dustin is also active at the IOG in event planning, business development, and communications.

    Dustin’s current governance interests are in the areas of board governance, stakeholder relations, collaborative governance, and distributed governance organizations. He also has an ongoing interest in public policy, provincial politics, and federal politics. Before joining the IOG, Dustin worked for the Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix daily newspaper. He completed Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in political science at the University of Saskatchewan.

    • 613-562-0090 ext. 261
  • Toby

    Toby Fyfe

    Vice President - Learning Lab

    Toby Fyfe is Vice President of the Learning Lab, where he is responsible for the IOG’s educational programs and courses aimed at providing tools and insight to enhance the skills of executives and officers at all levels of government, the private and the not-for-profit sectors.

    Toby has extensive executive public sector experience in governance, service delivery, change management, and organisational design and performance. He developed the Treasury Board Alternate Service Delivery Policy and represented Canada at an OECD public management (PUMA) experts panel examining arm’s-length agency creation.

    He has worked on a number of significant governance and change management initiatives including ones for the RCMP, the Caribbean Development Bank and the creation of the Natural Resources Canada Shared Services Office.
    Toby has significant corporate communications management experience and expertise. He is an Adjunct Professor of Communication at the University of Ottawa and a former federal government head of communication. He led three studies for the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) examining the impact of social media on public sector organisations. He was a broadcaster with CBC radio and television where he produced programs such as The HouseCross Country Checkup, and the first commercial-free version of Ottawa Morning.

    He was editor-in-chief of Canadian Government Executive magazine for five years and is a member of  IPAC.

    He writes regularly on public management issues, both in a weekly e-newsletter for Canadian Government Executive

    • 613-562-0090 ext. 242

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