Dive into the First Year of IOG’s Digital Executive Leadership Program

5 minute read

By Rebecca Hollett, Marketing and Communications Manager

In September, IOG welcomed 17 new members to the Alumni family of our Digital Executive Leadership Program. With Ryan Androsoff at the helm, and four cohorts under our belt since the program first launched in December 2018, ELPDigi (as it is known by the Twitter community) has been a great success and addition to digital education for government. As we approach the first anniversary of the program, we take an in-depth look at what the Digital Executive Leadership Program is all about.

“The need for something like the Digital Executive Leadership Program has never been greater for executives and policy leaders,” says Toby Fyfe, IOG President, “as the skills to be digitally literate and technologically-savvy are increasingly important. The digital revolution has brought about tools and techniques that open up radical new possibilities for governments. However,” he adds, “it also introduces challenges for risk-averse organizations that traditionally adapt slowly to change.”

Rapid advancements in the technology sector have dramatically changed citizen expectations that are shaped by their experiences with companies such as Google, Amazon and Netflix. As such, citizen interactions with government are increasingly out-of-step with the quality, timeliness, and user experience of what they are used to in other aspects in their lives. Add to this the increasing struggles that governments are having with technology procurement and digital project failures; organizational cultures and processes that have been resistant to adapt to the more agile approaches that are the hallmark of the “digital era;” and a rapidly changing policy landscape when it comes to technology-driven issues as diverse as autonomous vehicles and the impact of social media-amplified “fake news” on the electoral process (a topic of particular interest with 10 days before the 43rdfederal election on October 21st).

Ryan At Elp Digi
Day 1: Ryan Androsoff welcoming cohort 4 to a week of digital government learning

“ELP Digi is designed to provide executives and policy-leaders at all levels of government (federal, provincial, municipal) with the knowledge and competencies they need to lead in a digital world,” says Program Lead Ryan Androsoff. ”Spread out over five days, our program features topics such as digital government, design thinking, digital technology, data, and leadership. Under these topics, participants spend their days learning about the big digital picture, as well as the details, and most importantly, how to take action.”

Cohort four welcomed a mix of high-caliber speakers including Mike College, President of Canadian Pubic Affairs at Ipsos Canada; Siim Sikkut, CIO of the Government of Estonia; Hillary Hartley, Chief Digital and Data Officer for the Province of Ontario; our core facilitators Amanda Clarke (Carleton University), Meghan Hellstern (Bll+E), Mike Gifford (OpenConcept), and Jennifer Shellinck (Sysabee); as well as key players in Canada’s digital service and digital government revolution from organizations such as Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the Canadian Digital Service, and Transport Canada.

And IOG’s own leadership shared their expertise throughout: Toby Fyfe, IOG President, Gerard Etienne, Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion, and Francois Gagnon, Vice-President, Learning Lab, have spoken to the various cohorts of the program. We mix learning opportunities with guest speakers, panels, e-learning on the IOG Academy platform, hands-on exercises, technology demonstrations, real life case studies, and discussions—which often take to Twitter. Check out the hashtag #ELPDigi to follow the conversation.

Here a few examples of some of the fun had during the ELPDigi program:

Design Thinking Elp Digi
Day 2: Design thinking in action – this activity, led by Meghan Hellstern and Ryan Androsoff, has participants synthesizing data that will help identify challenges for their afternoon session on ideation, prototyping, and testing.
Blockchain Elp Digi
Day 3, Cohort 3: Participants took a deep dive to demystify digital technology. Here’s a participant tweet of the blockchain workshop led by Matt Jackson.
Vr Demo Elp Digi
Day 3, Cohort 2: A Tweet from Ryan Androsoff from one of the coolest #ELPDigi days we’ve had. Our students had an opportunity to test out some emerging technology like virtual reality and voice control.
Marshmallow Elp Digi
Day 5, Cohort 1: The winning marshmallow challenge team (and might we add this was an all-women power team) as part of an exercise related to related to agile management practices

ELP Digi has become so much more than an opportunity to get our hands wet with all things digital; it has also a home to cultivate relationships and build mutual support among peers. When we call the Alumni a family, it is because of the inclusivity and engagement that we see growing amongst the cohorts. This engagement can be seen in one of the highlights of the week: the Thursday-night dinner. Here, we gather current and past participants to talk about the future of digital government, enjoy each other’s camaraderie, and take the opportunity to build relationships that last far beyond the length of the program.

Cohort four hosted Hillary Hartley, Ontario’s Chief Digital and Data Officer, as the Thursday evening guest speaker. Previous dinner speakers have included Aaron Snow, CEO of the Canadian Digital Service; Alex Benay, former CIO of the Government of Canada; and Michael Tremblay, President of Invest Ottawa.

Speaker Elp Digi
Day 4: Hillary Hartley discussing what leadership means in a digital government context at our Thursday-night dinner, which welcomes all program Alumni.

ELP Digi welcomes all levels of the digitally/technologically-savvy—or not so savvy—as the course provides participants with a basic grounding in key digital concepts and a practical understanding of how they can be applied to the business of government. The program also provides participants with an understanding of the big strategic drivers of the digital era, as well as considerations for building and managing modern, digitally-savvy teams in the public sector.

To learn more about our Digital Executive Leadership Program, or sign up for Cohort #5 (launching in early 2020), click here,or sign up to the program waitlist here.There is no commitment, but it will help us plan the timing of cohorts next year. If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to our Director of Digital Leadership, Ryan Androsoff at randrosoff@iog.ca.

About the author

Rebecca Hollett

Rebecca Hollett

Marketing and Communications Manager

Rebecca joined the Institute on Governance in January 2018.

Prior to joining the IOG, Rebecca spent ten years in the theatre exhibition industry in guest service, management, human resources, learning events and talent development. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Rebecca is interested in innovative thought and new ideas, and is passionate about social and environmental responsibility.

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