Catch-up on Season One of Let’s Think Digital!
June 15, 2023
By Ryan Androsoff, CEO & Founder, Think Digital
Earlier this year we launched the Let’s Think Digital podcast. Our mission behind the podcast was to help you learn about how digital technology is impacting our world (particularly from the perspective of government and public services), and how to ask better questions and get beyond the hype of the newest tech so that you are able to call bullshit when you need to.
How did we do? We’d love to hear from you if you have a few minutes to fill out our listener survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FSVKV32
Over the course of Season One of Let’s Think Digital I’ve had a great time hosting conversations with leading technologists and digital innovators. We covered a wide-range of topics from the Metaverse, to Artificial Intelligence, to fixing procurement, the role of innovation labs, and much more! Whether you are new to the topic of digital government or an expert in the field, there are a lot of great insights to take away from these podcast episodes. Consider it your own personal masterclass with almost 9 hours of content that you can catch-up on over the summer – on the commute to work or enjoying some sun at the cottage!
Here is the full list of all the episodes from Season One of Let’s Think Digital:
Episode 1 – Dude, Where’s My Digital Government?
Over the last 30 years, technology has been promised to transform government and public services. But the reality hasn’t always matched the promise. Why is that? On our very first episode of Let’s Think Digital, we unpack what is going on, and how we might use the “Pac-Man” model to drive digital transformation.
- Dorothy Eng, Executive Director of Code for Canada / Think Digital Associate
- Winter Fedyk, CEO of Silo Strategy / Think Digital Associate
- Luke Simcoe, change management and communications expert / Think Digital Associate
Episode 2 – Welcome to the Metaverse
Everyone is talking about the metaverse, but what is it actually, and what does it mean for digital government and the public sphere? How is it different from the promises of virtual reality made in the 1990s? In this episode we talk to an expert in data science and artificial intelligence, and a user experience and human-centered design specialist to break through the hype. Additionally, we delve a little into how we’ve been using the Metaverse to upskill government executives as part of our Digital Executive Leadership Program.
- Jen Schellinck, expert in data science and artificial intelligence / Think Digital Associate
- Meghan Hellstern, user experience and human-centered design specialist / Think Digital Trainer and Facilitator
Episode 3 – Live from Dubai
Ryan travels to Dubai for the World Government Summit, an annual event that brings together leaders in government and industry from around the world, looking at issues related to digital transformation, futurism, sustainable development and other topics that are of interest to policy makers around the world.
- Pooja Warier Hamilton, Chief Partnerships Officer, Apolitical
- Giulio Quaggiotto, Innovation Advisor, Prime Minister’s Office, UAE
- Aaron Snow, Fellow, Georgetown University Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation
- Barbara Ubaldi, Head of Digital Government and Data Unit, OECD
- Simonida Subotic, Former Deputy Secretary for Economic Development, State of New York
Episode 4 – All Problems are Procurement Problems
Government procurement. For some, you might think of scandals, like the recent controversy about the amount of money spent on developing the ArriveCan app, or the sponsorship scandal in the early 2000s. For others procurement is that boring, sometimes frustrating process when contracting for services. But the reality is that how governments procure is fundamental to its ability to undertake digital transformation projects.
- Dr. Amanda Clarke, Associate Professor of Public Administration, Digital Government, Data Governance, and Civic Technology at Carleton University
Episode 5 – Making Tech Work for Everyone
Unlike in the private sector, governments don’t choose their users. That’s why it’s even more important in the public sector to make sure that technology and digital transformation efforts work for everyone. It doesn’t matter how innovative or efficient digital technology can be for public institutions if the implementation of those actively excludes people from accessing and benefiting from public services and assets. That’s why principles like accessibility, sustainability and openness are so important when we think about digital transformation.
- Mike Gifford, Senior Strategist at CivicActions / Think Digital Associate
Episode 6 – Teaching Old Bureaucracy New Tricks
This week on Let’s Think Digital we tackle the idea that government organizations are slow and resistant to change, and explore the idea that digital innovation is a necessary skill set for public servants to learn. Joining us is Robyn Scott, who shares her insights on the types of skill sets public servants need to learn, the challenges of transformation in government, and the importance of connecting with peers from around the world.
- Robyn Scott, CEO and Co-founder of Apolitical
Episode 7 – Human Factors of Digital Government
In this episode we talk about the human factors that can prevent and enable digital government innovation. We start with the results of the FWD50 2023 Digital Government Content Survey, and there’s some really interesting results about what digital government practitioners are seeing as priorities, and the challenges they face in pushing through innovation within their organizations. We then talk with Nilufer Erdebil about her new book, “Future Proofing by Design”. She talks about the importance of design thinking, not just as a methodology, but as a way of approaching problem solving in government that can make your life, the lives of citizens, and even your boss’ life, easier.
- Alistair Croll, Founder and Content Chair of FWD50
- Nilufer Erdebil, Founder and CEO of Spring2 Innovation / Think Digital Associate
Episode 8 – Government in the Era of ChatGPT
This episode, we go deep and talk about everything you need to know about artificial intelligence, machine learning, large language models like ChatGPT, and big data in the government context. Additionally, we have a preview of a research report that we are publishing next month that explores how governments around the world are approaching the governance of artificial intelligence.
- Jen Schellinck, CEO of Sysabee / Think Digital Associate
- John Stroud, CEO of AI Guides
- Cecilia Tham, CEO and Founder of Futurity Systems
- Shingai Manjengwa, Founder of Fireside Analytics
- Jacob Danto-Clancy, Digital Policy Analyst at Think Digital
- Bryce Edwards, Digital Policy Analyst at Think Digital
Episode 9 – Do Innovation Labs Work?
Over the past decade it seems like countless innovation labs have sprung up inside of government. Sometimes, innovation and government can seem like a contradiction in terms. Joining us to explore this topic is our special co-host Nick Scott, and guest Alex Ryan who has a tremendous breadth of experience having previously ran innovation labs in the United States, Alberta, and most recently, serving as Vice President of the Solutions Lab at MaRS in Toronto. He talks about what he has learned during his years of experience helping government and the social sector harness innovation, his belief that government can in fact be innovative, and how government is the ultimate opportunity to do innovation at scale. If you ever have wanted to learn about what these things called innovation labs really are, what they are good for (and what they aren’t), this is the episode for you!
Episode 10 – Live from the Code for America Summit
This week, Meghan Hellstern hosts as she reflects on her time at the 2023 Code for America Summit in Washington, D.C! In this episode, we hear about how digital transformation is as much about people as it is technology as Meghan interviews a number of civic technology leaders live from the conference.
- Meghan Hellstern, Trainer and Facilitator with Think Digital
- Hillary Hartley, CEO of U.S. Digital Response, former leader of the Ontario Digital Service
- Dorothy Eng, Executive Director of Code for Canada / Think Digital Associate
- Ariel Kennan, Senior Fellow & Research Faculty at Beeck Center
- Amanda Renteria, CEO of Code for America
- Karina Rider, postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft
- Natalie Talis, Population Health Manager at Alexandria Health Department
- Luke Simcoe, Think Digital Associate
Although Season One is officially completed, we aren’t quite done yet! Join us live on Friday, June 16th at 12pm ET, where members from the Think Digital team will be joining us to talk about the impacts of social media on work and society from a multi-generational perspective, reflect back on themes from some of the episodes in Season One, and also have a chance get your questions answered live!
Finally, we are planning to launch Season Two of the podcast this Fall and would love to hear from you as we start planning. Please take a few minutes to fill out our listener survey and lets us know how we can make Let’s Think Digital as useful as possible to you: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FSVKV32
Thanks so much for being part of our growing Let’s Think Digital podcast community, and remember to keep thinking digitally!