Nov. 6-8, 2023 | Ottawa and online

FWD50 took place on November 6-8, 2023 in Ottawa's Lansdowne Park. See the Agenda.

There have been 272 posts and 905 favourites with the hashtag #fwd50 on Mastodon.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

New blog post! 🐘 “Twitter is dead. Let’s start live-tweeting conferences on Mastodon instead.”

If you’re at @fwd50 this year either in person or virtually, I’d love to see you on Mastodon! sboots.ca/2023/10/27/twitter-i

Twitter is dead. Let’s start live-tweeting conferences on Mastodon instead.

Twitter is dead. Let’s start live-tweeting conferences on Mastodon instead.

It’s been almost a year since I stopped using Twitter on a regular basis. It was a big change given how large a role Twitter played in my professional life – connecting with public servants across Canada and around the world and learning from their experiences. Now that it’s 2023 and Twitter is both crumbling apart and morally suspect, I think we should make Mastodon our new community. If you’re at FWD50 this year either in person or virtually, I’d love to see you on Mastodon!
113 | 64 | 4 | Oct. 27, 2023, 6:36 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

“Public services aren't complicated, they're complex. In a complex system, it is literally impossible to predict an outcome from the inputs. … Most complex systems are not knowable upfront, and our toolset is wrong.” @tomski

18 | 12 | 0 | Nov. 7, 2023, 2:37 p.m.

Alex Howard @ mastodon.social |

Fantastic talk by @sboots on what ails government tech in Canada — and elsewhere — and what could be done to fix it, without a shoutout to @Marthalanefox’ paper in 2010 gov.uk/government/publications & @govuk & @GDSTeam since. Humble, smart, inspiring.

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18 | 8 | 3 | Nov. 6, 2023, 4:57 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

New blog post! “Revolution, not evolution, for federal public service delivery”

Big thanks to @acroll and the whole @fwd50 for the chance to be part of this week’s conference! sboots.ca/2023/11/06/revolutio #fwd50

Revolution, not evolution, for federal public service delivery

Revolution, not evolution, for federal public service delivery

This morning I gave a keynote presentation at FWD50, Canada’s leading digital government conference. My talk was titled “Revolution, not evolution, for federal public service delivery”. In the presentation I talked about how Canada needs a revolution in how we operate as a public service – not just when it comes to technology work in government, but there in particular, too.
16 | 19 | 1 | Nov. 6, 2023, 11:24 p.m.

Aaron @ mastodon.social |

@sboots thank you for bringing your flamethrower to

16 | 4 | 1 | Nov. 6, 2023, 4:38 p.m.

Hillary Hartley @ mastodon.social |

@sboots on why even public servants at the top of the hierarchy can’t change things:

Diffused responsibility.
Consensus over action.
Process over outcomes.
Vaporware instead of structural change.

15 | 7 | 1 | Nov. 6, 2023, 4:25 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

"Every deputy minister should have their chief of staff, but also their chief of technology. Same for political leaders. To help choose and solve the right problems." Hillary Hartley in conversation with Angelica Quirarte @quepol @fwd50 #fwd50

Hillary and Angelica on stage at FWD50, with screens and decorative plants in the background.
14 | 5 | 0 | Nov. 7, 2023, 8:16 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

"At the end of the day, empowering our teams is really just about confronting and dismantling the structural things that disempower them." @honeygolightly #fwd50 @fwd50

Honey presenting a slide with quotes from public service team members and leaders.
14 | 7 | 2 | Nov. 8, 2023, 4:53 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

“SSHRC just got their first application in Cree, and at first they didn't know what to do. They asked, uh, can you just re-send this in English or French? And the applicant said, nope! That would change its meaning. And they got funded!

Knowledge and language goes hand-in-hand, this could be a real strength of the whole country if we could embrace it.” Brad Greyeyes-Brant #fwd50 @fwd50

Brad Greyeyes-Brant speaking alongside a panel of Indigenous researchers and thinkers.
12 | 7 | 0 | Nov. 6, 2023, 8:12 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

"You're always navigating the tightrope of, respecting the institution that you're trying to subvert." The brilliant @honeygolightly at #fwd50 @fwd50

Honey presenting on stage at FWD50 with multicoloured slides in the background.
12 | 4 | 0 | Nov. 8, 2023, 4:40 p.m.

Alasdair Allan @ mastodon.social |

@jenn I sort of passionately believe we also need backup for the legislators. We need someone that has our backs if we say “No!” to doing unethical things. The exodus of developers that weren’t held in bondage by H1B visas is an amazing precedent there. /cc @acroll medium.com/fwd50/everything-is

Everything is Broken - fwd50 - Medium

Everything is Broken - fwd50 - Medium

An (somewhat expanded) transcript of a talk I gave at the FWD50 conference on digital government held in Ottawa, Canada, in November 2019. I talked there about privacy, security, and machine…
11 | 1 | 0 | Dec. 2, 2022, 8:58 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

If you'd like to catch up on #fwd50 Mastodon posts from the past few days, check out fedidevs.com/fwd50 ! You can filter by date and account as well. Thanks to everyone posting here! 🎉 @fwd50

11 | 7 | 2 | Nov. 8, 2023, 2:19 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

"I'm still bullish on the need for central digital teams in government, because they pave the way for teams elsewhere to have the space to do things differently. To have a leader that will take the heat to go do that. To be able to say, this team did it too, let's go do it." @quepol #fwd50

11 | 2 | 1 | Nov. 7, 2023, 8:21 p.m.

Hillary Hartley @ mastodon.social |

“Test the thing that matters.” @tomski Could be a policy, a process, a small idea. Use this feedback loop for everything, but don’t wait for a big bang.

11 | 4 | 0 | Nov. 7, 2023, 2:42 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

"When we take our teams' experience for granted, we set up subconscious expectations to accept substandard public service." @honeygolightly #fwd50

Honey presenting a slide about team burnout, with a quote about working 12-15 hour days.
9 | 3 | 0 | Nov. 8, 2023, 4:46 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

Good morning from Whitehorse ✈️

An Air North Boeing 737 seen in the dark from the departure ramp. The sky is dark in the background.
9 | 0 | 0 | Nov. 4, 2023, 2:54 p.m.

Sean Boots @ mastodon.sboots.ca |

"There is a direct correlation between the quality of service delivery and people's trust in government." Minister Anita Anand

9 | 5 | 0 | Nov. 6, 2023, 2:43 p.m.

Hillary Hartley @ mastodon.social |

Invest in digital teams and level up leaders. Great list of accountabilities from Ebony Sager (from ODS).

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9 | 4 | 0 | Nov. 6, 2023, 6:32 p.m.

Monica Mendoza @ mastodon.social |

My takeaway today so far at : Risk aversion is the enemy of innovation within the public service (in Canada, at least. The Estonian public service seems to be )

8 | 2 | 1 | Nov. 8, 2023, 4:03 p.m.

Lucas Cherkewski @ mastodon.social |

Gardening is a recurring metaphor for digital transformation work at

Ursula Franklin’s metaphor of earthworming for social change—preparing the soil, a generational task—really resonates: lucascherkewski.com/study/eart

8 | 8 | 3 | Nov. 6, 2023, 7:09 p.m.