Public Service Renewal seems to be on many government-types’ lips these days. The impending retirement of many senior civil servants creates a substantial demographic problem for the public service. But there’s another side to “renewal” beyond just hiring more people my age (but please please please, hire me). It’s about renewing the talent and passion and innovation in the public service. It’s about unleashing the creativity of employees already in the public service as well as those entering. One of the best places to see that creativity and passion is on Twitter.
The #cpsr tag is used by people discussing Canadian public service renewal and innovation within the Government of Canada. While there are certainly internal discussions taking place, Twitter provides a place for public discussion of ideas from public servants largely acting outside their official capacity.
Real renewal will depend on embracing interactivity, openness, risk-taking, and passion. That’s what it will take to bring out the best in existing public servants and to attract the truly gifted of my generation. It isn’t about job security or compensation. That will attract good people, but not great people. As a taxpayer, I want my government to be staffed with innovators and risk-takers. I want a Google-ish government, and I understand that for every resounding success (Google Adsense) there will be a failure (Google Wave). I’m okay with that. What I fear most is risk-averse mediocrity.