Digital Transformation

Developing a Digital-Ready Public Service in Canada

At their Ottawa Public Sector Summit AWS assembled an expert panel to explore the culture and skills challenges of this scale and depth of Cloud adoption.

AWS public policy experts debated the topic with Olivia Neal of the Treasury Board, who makes the keynote point that continual learning is the essential dynamic, achieved through new models and mindsets for public sector employment, like the Gig Economy, encouraging more fluid movement in and out of the sector rather than a single lifelong journey where the academic skills gained to begin that journey also mark the end of their education.

From 10m:00 Dr. Wendy Cukier provides a detailed synopsis of her research into the gender and diversity aspects of this challenge, including how 40% of public sector organizations don’t consider themselves ready for digital transformation, and that there is a very low representation especially of younger women, highlighting the stunning fact that there are less women in Computer Science now than there was in 1989.

Wendy also makes the critical point that it’s not just tech skills that are holding back growth, identifying that for very advanced tech firms like AI companies, it’s actually a lack of business personnel such as Sales and Marketing that is the issue.

From 17m:45 she then talks through an eight point set of recommendations, concluding that the headline strategy is not to view diversity and digital skills needs as a narrow HR function, but as a holistic embrace of modernization overall, transforming traditional work culture to one that is more fluid and flexible to attract younger talent, mirroring Olivia’s point.


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