11 May 2016

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Conference 2015 - reflections on institutional innovation

The May Policy Options Magazine features the reflections of our Trudeau scholars on the theme of institutional innovation. The special edition of the magazine, comprised of their perspectives, is reflected through the lively discussions, panels and talks of the 2015 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation conference.

The conference, based on the theme “Fail, Adapt, Innovate: Institutions for a Changing Society,” held in Ottawa in November of 2015, saw 31 speakers, nine thematic dinners with 170 participants & several in-person and online participants.

"How are our industrial age institutions adapting to growing demands for citizen engagement, to globalization and to rapid technological change? What is their capacity to innovate?"

Our Trudeau scholars reprise the discussions of the 2015 conference as a starting point to tackle these questions in this edition. Below is a snapshot of the scholars' reflections, coupled with resources to explore this special Policy Options edition, the 2015 Conference or our community.

Introduction by Morris Rosenberg

Foundation president and chief executive officer Morris Rosenberg introduces the special edition, noting that the 2015 conference "raised important issues about how our institutions need to evolve to be able to address the complex issues that confront Canada and the world, and to do so in a more inclusive way."

Setting up the essays to follow on the various discussions & panels of the conference, Rosenberg observes:

[These challenges] are enduring in that they will not be solved within the mandate of any one government. They are systemic problems in that they transcend the jurisdiction or mandate of government departments and of governments themselves. Many are global in scope. Addressing them effectively requires engagement by civil society, the private sector and the academy. They require the expertise of a variety of disciplines and openness to new sources of knowledge. They are deeply connected to each other.

Read his piece or view the video of his closing remarks below.

Lilia Yumagulova on the challenge of massive change

The 2011 Trudeau scholar Lilia Yumagulova reflects on Indy Johar's opening 2015 Conference keynote: "the challenge of massive change." She observes:

...the responsibility for change can no longer be left to any one person or institution. Effective solutions require engagement of the “crowd,” whether it is defined as citizens, entrepreneurs, corporate coalitions or NGOs. Change requires movements that connect multiple actors, creating the capacity to act and innovate across established institutions or grassroots campaigns.

Read her piece or watch the original talk by Indy Johar below.

Amanda Clarke on the innovation challenge & modernizing the public service

2010 scholar Amanda Clarke reflects on the "paradox with which the federal government is grappling" in seeking to new policy innovation, grounding her observations in the discussions held at the Conference:

Drawing on their experiences in organizations that are globally renowned for their innovative approaches to public policy and services, the two imports on the panel — Kit Lykketoft of MindLab, a Danish cross-government innovation unit, and Tiina Likki of the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team — had much advice to share with those in Ottawa currently tasked with implementing the policy innovation agenda across the federal government.

Read her piece or watch the original panel below.

Steven Hoffman on concrete action on Ebola

2012 scholar Steven Hoffman reflects on three lessons upon which depend the "health, well-being and future prosperity of Canadians." Hoffman notes that "Canada has an important role to play in making the world a safer place," and discusses the key messages emerging from the panel discussion of the 2015 Conference featuring Tim Evans of the World Bank, Laurie Garrett of the Council for Foreign Relations & Hossam Elsharkawi of the Red Cross.

Read his piece or watch the panel below.

Leah Levac on social innovation & relationship innovation

2007 scholar Leah Levac reprises the Conference panels on local footprints and global innovation, reflecting that:

Relationships within networks of individuals, and between institutions, and the trust that these relationships foster are central to how we understand and describe the diffusion of ideas in both the private and public sectors

Read her piece or watch the panel below.

Zoe Todd and Aaron Mills on our responsibilities to Indigenous peoples & places in Canadian research & policy

2011 scholar Zoe Todd and 2014 scholar Aaron Mills write on the place of Indigenous rapporteurs, noting the importance of ethical relationality, how:

we can approach the work of the Indigenous rapporteurs during the Foundation’s public policy conference as the labour of tending to, and asserting, relationships between people, place, stories and time. So while important, honourable steps were taken here by and for the Foundation’s community, “making space” for Indigenous voices is just a small step toward a meaningful dialogue about our differences, about systemic inequality and Indigenous peoples’ experience, about the reality of Indigenous suffering and why it exists today, and about the responsibility that all Canadians carry in respect of it.

Read her piece with Aaron Mills or watch the videos below.

Michael Pal on the shifting landscape of democratic participation

2012 scholar Michael Pal moderated the panel on democratic participation, featuring FEC Chair Ann Ravel, Wellington MP Michael Chong, Professor Luc Turgeon and Peter Macleod. In his essay, he notes that, on the one hand:

...the interest in and capacity of citizens to engage in the democratic process is also of great relevance to Canada at the moment. The optimistic story is that innovative models for participation such as citizens’ assemblies, citizens’ juries and other deliberative mechanisms have demonstrated clearly that there is an appetite for participation in the decisions made by governments at all levels.

While on the other,

the more pessimistic story lies in the data on voter turnout and participation.

Read his piece or watch the panel below.

Learn more

Amanda Clarke

Amanda is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University.

2010 Scholars

Steven Hoffman

Steven Hoffman wishes to leverage Canadian innovations in public health to help resolve health and security issues on the international scene.

2012 Scholars

Leah Levac

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Guelph

2007 Scholars

Aaron Mills

Aaron is examining the Anishnaabe legal tradition and how a revival of Indigenous legal orders will help Canadians to better understand Aboriginal issues.

2014 Scholars

Michael Pal

Michael is Assistant Professor in Law at the University of Ottawa.

2012 Scholars

Morris Rosenberg

President and Chief Executive Officer

2014 Team

Zoe Todd

Zoe is examining the impact of mining development in the Northwest Territories on women's subsistence fishing

2011 Scholars

Lilia Yumagulova

Lilia addresses the challenge of increasing communities’ ability to withstand natural disasters, with a special focus on marginalized urban communities.

2008 Scholars