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MARCH 2017 volume 127, number 3
MUNICIPAL WORLD – CANADA’S MUNICIPAL MAGAZINE
OPEN DATA SMART CITY
SPORT’S IMPACT ON
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE Open Data Smart City Discover the power of open data in the Canadian context, and what municipalities are doing to build smart cities.
Discover how managing employee energy – not engagement – can be the key to improved service delivery and a better workplace.
Helping New Canadians to Feel at Home
Read more about Jumpstart, community sport initiatives in Ottawa, and how they have been able to help new Canadians feel more at home.
Online Exclusive! Editor’s Flashback This online-only feature column highlights select articles from past issues of Municipal World’s monthly print magazine. In this issue, we share “Better Drives Change ... Doesn’t it?” – by Peter de Jager, from the June 2015 issue.
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CI TY OPEN DATA CAN SERVE AS A FOUNDATION TO SMART CITY DEVELOPMENT In recent years, one major topic has sparked the interest of academics, government officials, and members of the general public alike: smart cities. Smart cities are supported by an extensive digital infrastructure of sensors, databases, and intelligent applications. A smart city is a “system of systems” that can benefit from extensive information management tools,1 the promotion of innovative planning and management,2 and the encouragement of environmental stability.3 By leveraging information technologies and data, the smart city offers several practical benefits as it seeks to improve operations, efficiency, and quality of life within a city environment.4 Although there are many things to
consider when adopting a smart city framework – including the integration of sensor networks, privacy concerns, and the efficient usage of data in the city environment – this article will focus solely on the integration of open data into the urban environment as a
1 Stephanie Santoso and Andreas Kuehn, “Intelligent urbanism: Convivial living in smart cities,” iConference 2013 Proceedings (2013): 566-570. 2 Milind Naphade, Guruduth Banavar, Colin Harrison, Jurij Paraszczak, and Robert Morris, “Smarter Cities and Their Innovation Challenges,” IEEE Computer (2011): 32-39. 3 Gregor Harter, Jai Sinha, Ashish Sharma and Dave, Sandeep. Sustainable Urbanization: The Role of ICT in City Development. (New York: Booz & Co., 2010). 4 C. Harrison, B. Eckman, R. Hamilton, P. Hartswick, J. Kalagnanam, J. Paraszczak and P. Williams, “Foundations for Smarter Cities,” IBM Journal of Research and Development, 54 (2010): 1-16.
way to promote smart city development. If harnessed in a meaningful way, open data serves as a foundational component to smart city development and acts as a workable solution that municipalities could adopt to achieve smart city status.
Open Data and the Smart City In order to approach smart city development, it is important to consider
VINCENZO ALAIMO is a recent Master of Arts graduate in the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University. He is a specialist in smart city development and an advocate of open data practices. He recently worked on a five-year, federally-funded international collaborative analysis of leading edge smart city technologies.
As such, open data acts as a window allowing the public to scrutinize government effectiveness. It offers citizens a glimpse of various government operations, sheds light on government priorities, and helps ensure fairness and due process. how cities use data. Data is broadly defined as encoded, structured information ranging from videos, documents, and spreadsheets.5 Open data – the release of organizational data made available for unrestricted public viewing and use6 – falls upon the spectrum of data. Open data commonly offers information ranging from spatial and government-related data to environmental and public transit information. When manipulated in a particular way, open data acts as a tool to help foster problem-solving applications that can enhance the urban landscape. Data is what data is used for. That is, if open data is used in a sensible way, it can produce sensible solutions. Provided that open data is used in ways that optimize city operations, along with city management and services, it is easy to consider open data as a driver of smart city development.
How Does Open Data Promote the Smart City? If implemented in a strategic and systematic fashion, open data can ac-
5 Tim Davies and Duncan Edwards. “Emerging Implications of Open and Linked Data for Knowledge Sharing in Development,” IDS Bulletin 43 (2012): 117-127. 6 Open Data York Region <www.york.ca/opendata>. 7 Kevin C. Desouza and Akshay Bhagwatwar. “Citizen Apps to Solve Complex Urban Problems,” Journal of Urban Technology 19 (2012): 107-136. 8 Thorhildur Jetzek, Michel Avital and Niels Bjorn-Andersen. “The value of open government data: A strategic analysis framework,” Pre-ICIS Workshop, in Proceedings International Conference on Information Systems. (2012): 1-12. 9 Ibid. 10 Noor Huijboom and Tijs Van den Broek. “Open Data: An international comparison of strategies,” European Journal of ePractice 12 (2011): 4-16.
celerate smart city development. It offers several broad benefits such as: zz producing a more transparent and accountable government; zz facilitating citizen-government dialogue; and zz promoting innovative solutions. Transparency and accountability – When considering smart city development, it is important to not only use technology and data to increase efficiencies in city services, but to also ensure that government entities are operating in an efficient and effective way.7 Open data, particularly open government data, aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government entities through transparency and accountability. Open government data offers the public information regarding government performance and spending. As such, open data acts as a window allowing the public to scrutinize government effectiveness. It offers citizens a glimpse of various government operations, sheds light on government priorities, and helps ensure fairness and due process.8 It ensures that elected officials, who play a substantial role in the development of the urban landscape, are carrying out duties in a responsible and efficient manner. Facilitating citizen-government dialogue – Open data also encourages the cooperative development of the urban landscape by citizens, businesses, and government through increased citizen-government dialogue. With open government data, the public sector relinquishes its role as information gatekeeper and adopts a new role as information publisher.9 This allows citizens and businesses to become more participatory in government decision-making processes. The release of data to the public encourages more proactive forms of citizenry, as citizens and businesses
can engage directly with government bodies to reform policies, suggest new ideas for governance, or assist in the shaping of city services. This is apparent based on the recent uptake of Web 2.0 applications by government bodies including social media, blogs, and applications that allow direct contact with government officials. Open data also provides an opportunity for citizens, businesses, and government to manipulate datasets and collectively develop practical solutions to issues affecting the urban landscape. This tool ultimately enables a bottom-up approach to urban development, as citizens are offered a chance to share concerns about pertinent issues and to cooperatively work towards generating solutions to concerns. Evidently, citizens are afforded an alternate method of urban development, as their input (and collective action) is used to enhance the urban landscape. Promoting innovative solutions – Finally, open data facilitates innovation in the city environment. Since open data usage is unrestricted, it offers users the opportunity to exercise creative freedom by transforming abstract datasets into innovative solutions to everyday urban issues.10 The nature of open data allows users to develop ideas that are unconstrained by traditional bureaucratic processes found in realms of government and businesses. This ultimately enables a more creative, out-of-the-box approach to solving urban issues. Datasets can be integrated into useful applications or amalgamated with other datasets in order to develop actionable information used to augment the urban environment. Several open datasets reveal information about the urban infrastructure, including: road networks, bike paths, notable addresses, and street light information.
Datasets such as these seemingly beg innovators to apply them in ways that can enhance urban services. As such, open data is a means to an end and not an end in itself,11 as citizens are empowered with tools that can be used to create efficiencies in the urban landscapes. Since there is no singular way to use open data, users are left to their own devices to apply this data in whichever way they please. Users are able to uniquely combine various open datasets together, or even integrate open datasets with other forms of data, in order to yield novel outputs. If open data is applied in a way that enhances the urban landscape by optimizing city operations, management, and services, it can serve as a foundational component to smart city development.
Open Data in the Urban Environment Several municipalities across Canada have already started using open data as a way to develop smart city infrastructure. For instance, the City of Surrey offers an open data based waste application. With the â€œRethink Wasteâ€? app, citizens are easily able to access relevant waste collection service information. By entering an address into the application, citizens can access personalized collection schedules and be informed about which type of waste will be collected and when collection will occur. This initiative not only demonstrates the easy integration of open data in a simple to use mobile application, but also links citizens to essential information about public spaces in aims of making a more livable and sustainable environment. A variety of public transit services are also beginning to use open data to influence city services. For example, several transit services release openly available transit schedule information. With this data, users of public transit can be informed about peak travel times or travel delays; this information can help transit users to
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11 Note 8, supra.
Open data usage allows citizens, businesses, and government to cooperatively shape the city to be more efficient and livable. coordinate their transit routes. Users can also relay pertinent travel information to transit authorities, who can then make appropriate adjustments to services in order to increase the efficiency of public transit. Map Your Property is yet another service that uses open data in a way that directly promotes the development of a smart urban environment. By using openly available spatial data, this application offers streamlined datasets such as planning, environmental, and zoning information to developers and urban planners. The initiative demonstrates how open data can be used to enrich available knowledge regarding the urban landscape, and highlights the potential for contributing to smarter, more informed decisions about planning and development processes.
Conclusion As indicated by these initiatives, Canada is truly making progress with smart city development initiatives driven by open data. Although smart cities in a Canadian context are not generally as developed as may be seen in places like Brazil, South Korea, and the United States, Canada is up to the task to implement the smart city. In fact, the Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF) has recently named 21 communities across the globe that are committed to smart city development, seven of which are Canadian communities. As it stands, Canada is well positioned to develop smart city initiatives since, as stated by ICF’s co-founder Louis Zacharilla, the Canadian government
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typically engages with communities in order to access “the power of the local.” There is a growing interest in the adoption of open data policies – presenting sensible opportunity for Canadian cities to accelerate smart urban development. Rather than regarding open data as a “cheap” alternate source of useless data, it could be regarded as a foundation of smart city development and an opportunity to enhance the urban environment. Open data usage allows citizens, businesses, and government to cooperatively shape the city to be more efficient and livable. Leveraged appropriately, it can be an important catalyst for innovation, and a tool that can inspire the integration of technology and data into the urban infrastructure. MW
by Brady Wilson
to EXHAUSTED, DEPLETED EMPLOYEES? Manage energy, not engagement
Are your traditional employee engagement efforts delivering the results you need? That is, are your municipality’s engagement surveys, town hall meetings, newsletters, and departmental action plans creating energized, high-performing, and productive employees? If the answer is “no,” you’re not alone. Time and again, despite leaders’ good intentions, they continue to buy into a traditional management approach that isn’t working. In fact, it seems that the more leaders try to manage engagement, the more disengaged their employees actually become. So, what is causing this engagement paradox? Put simply, it is leaders’ inability to recognize that is it energy – not effort – that powers up performance.
Overlooking Brain Science Typical employee engagement initiatives like the ones mentioned above
focus on unlocking discretionary effort: they aim to get employees to try harder and do more. But, many employees are already doing that: they come in early, stay later, and try harder in between. And, they are exhausted. In other words, it is possible to have employees who are technically engaged but not energized – dedicated but depleted, committed but constricted. The human brain plays a critical role in people’s energy levels. And yet, traditional engagement strategies generally overlook this fact, preferring instead to focus on how to get more from alreadyexhausted employees.
shuts down. More specifically, they lose the ability to: zz predict outcomes; zz regulate their emotions; zz connect the dots; and zz make smart decisions. The impact of “executive function shut down,” experienced by even a handful of people, can be felt throughout entire organizations. For example, when unenergetic employees are forced to resort to base-level thinking, they lose the ability to identify root causes and address systemic issues. As a result, they turn to band-aid solutions, ducttape fixes, and quick workarounds.
Executive Function Shut Down
BRADY WILSON has a vision: organizations that pulsate with innovative energy. As the Founder of Juice Inc., Brady functions as a human energy architect, working with leaders to build the conditions in which innovation, value creation, and unforgettable customer experiences can flourish. He helps leaders step into life’s grittiest tensions, inspiring them to create a sustained approach to positive change – and better business results.
On a more granular level, here is how the brain affects employee energy and performance. When people feel low on energy, their capacity for complex thinking
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This hardwires depletion into the ecosystem of an organization, creating a culture where employees and leaders are regularly in reactive mode, and having to put out “fires.”
cerns are often talked about only at survey time, and left unaddressed throughout the remainder of the year. Science shows one way leaders As a result, those concerns eventucan effectively generate and maintain ally turn into “crucial” or “difficult” employee energy is through converconversations that take up multiples sation. Innovation and Customer of energy, time, and mind-space from Conversation releases three highService at Risk many in the organization. The point performance, feel-good hormones of frequent conversation is that it can In a sector like municipal govern- (dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin) ment, innovation is critical to provid- through the brain. This creates an en- help catch issues before they become calamity-based. ing quality service – particularly as ergy “cocktail” of connection, calm, While this task may sound like a populations increase, citizen expecta- concentration, creativity, and curioshuge undertaking – particularly the tions grow, and technology evolves. ity – boosting the brain’s processing “frequency” aspect – meaningful, The ability to be more innovative power. face-to-face conversation does not and creative, move beyond convenTo make this work, however, leadhave to take up a lot of time. In fact, tional approaches, and modernize ers must ensure each conversation science shows that even two minutes systems is dependent on employees meets the following three criteria. can elevate people’s energy, giving and leaders: people on the inside of Conversation must be face to face them that quick boost they need in municipal governments. However, – It may not always be possible, but the moment. it is virtually impossible to expect face-to-face conversation is best for employees to frequently identify energizing others. Science shows that Unlock what Matters opportunities for change if they are the limbic system of the brain – also Most to Employees unable to access the “power tools” of known as the emotional centre – is Meaningful conversation is an their brain – housed in the executive an open-loop system. What does this effective way to identify and underfunction. mean? Put face to face, leaders’ and stand what matters most to employMoreover, devoid of energy, ememployees’ emotions can be “contaees. Science shows that employees ployees can only provide service to gious.” Essentially, each person can are driven by the following five citizens in a way that is impersonal, regulate the other’s emotions (and, needs (with each need varying in mechanical, and transactional. Deliv- subsequently, energy levels). ery of a citizen/customer experience Conversation must be meaningful importance depending on the individual). that is human, intuitive, and personal – Leaders must ensure they demonBelonging – This means having happens in one way and one way strate value, respect, and care within only: through an energized employee. the conversation. They can do this by a sense of teamwork, inclusion, connection, and acceptance. That’s because energy unlocks enthu- paying close attention while in conSecurity – This means feeling siasm and authentic human warmth versation, not being easily distracted, clear about their job, the rules, and – the ingredients of remarkable cusacknowledging what the other person their ability to predict things. tomer service. is saying, and showing genuine interFreedom – This means having In other words, municipalities are est in the person and subject matter. autonomy, flexibility, and decisionvirtually unable to evolve and conConversation must be frequent making latitude. tinue meeting citizens’ needs unless – Generally speaking, conversation Significance – This means feeling they have a strong, sustainable source is not a typical go-to engagement valued and respected. of employee energy. technique. Rather, engagement con-
Energize Employees through Conversation
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TAX PROFESSIONALS March 2017
To create a truly-engaged organizational culture that is innovative and citizen-centric, municipal governments need to focus on both engagement and energy – essentially, moving “beyond” engagement as we know it today. Meaning – This means knowing they are making a contribution, and understanding the “why” of their role. The challenge is how leaders can engage in conversation to pull out this critical information. Short, simple “energy check” conversations are a proven and efficient way to identify what needs matter most to employees, as well as to unlock insight and possibility in their minds. There are two ways leaders can have these types of conversations: with individual employees and with teams/departments. If the answer is “no,” you’re not alone. Individual energy check – Energy check conversations can be as simple as asking individual employees what is energizing them at the moment, and what is depleting their energy. During the face-to-face conversation, watch for two opportunities: to listen for what matters most to that
person, and to acknowledge those needs. For example, if your employee feels unchallenged, you could say, “It sounds to me like what matters most to you in this situation is the chance for more opportunity or responsibility. Is that it?” This creates a feedback-rich state. Team/departmental energy check – To guide an energy-boosting conversation, meet with your team, write the five above needs on a flipchart, and ask which one or two needs matter most in their work life. Then, share with your team the driving needs that energize you in your work experience – and how the absence of those needs drains or depletes you as a leader. As the discussion evolves, find ways to co-create solutions with employees that give them a bit more of what energizes them, and a bit less of what depletes them. It may sound overly simplistic, but I have personally witnessed lead-
ers in some of the world’s best organizations reinvigorate entire work forces by combining their understanding of brain science with energy conversations.
Manage Energy, Not Engagement Employee engagement is not dead – far from it. Indeed, engagement is still critical to building workplaces where people are dedicated and committed to their organization, and willing to give discretionary effort. However, employees can’t do their best work, be innovative, or give excellent service unless they are also full of passion, resilience, verve, and excitement. And, these things are by-products of energy. To create a truly-engaged organizational culture that is innovative and citizen-centric, municipal governments need to focus on both engagement and energy – essentially, moving “beyond” engagement as we know it today. MW
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Presented by Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities
Helping New Canadians to Feel at Home Sport as a vehicle to integrate newcomers
Municipal World is partnering with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities to raise awareness about the Jumpstart program and the value it can bring to communities, and to showcase the power of sport in effecting positive social change. In this fourth in a series of articles, MW will look at the how sport can be used as a vehicle to integrate new Canadians, using two case studies from Ottawa, Ontario as examples. In the January 2017 issue, “The Skills for Success” highlighted the importance and impacts of inclusion in community, and, more specifically in community sport programs. Communities help facilitate inclusion in important ways: through community programs for families struggling
financially; by offering services that may be needed in the community; or through initiatives that help integrate newcomers into the communities where they settle. We all want to feel welcomed and supported in our communities, regardless of our circumstances. And, on the front lines of the immigration issue, with communities becoming increasingly diverse, municipalities are well positioned to be leaders in making newcomers feel at home.
Case Study: Ottawa’s “I Love to” Programs The City of Ottawa has certainly understood the importance of welcoming newcomers in recent years. With Ottawa becoming home to more than 2,000 immigrants in
2015, the city recognized the need for community programs that help the integration process for newcomers. In partnership with Jumpstart, the city launched the “I Love to” programs in 2006-2007 as a means to allow children to enjoy physical activity in a variety of ways (swimming, cycling, hockey, etc.). These LANDON FRENCH is President of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, managing Canada’s largest portfolio of community partnerships. Landon holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, and an MA in Canadian Studies from Carleton University. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his leadership on the design and live television broadcast of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Royal Visit to Canada in 2002. Landon also received the Royal Roads University Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence in Public Relations and Communications.
programs offer a positive approach to promoting inclusion and physical wellbeing. The “I Love to Mentor” program also offers a different inclusive platform in which newcomers and youth in low-income and priority neighbourhoods can participate. Through the program, youth aged 15 and older receive 50 hours of training, including specific certifications for employment in recreation programs: Standard First Aid and CPR, High Five (healthy child development training), and Fundamental Movement Skills. They also receive employment preparedness training, including resume writing, cash handling, leadership, and volunteer experience. Graduates are given a letter of recommendation from the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and tourism. Frempon Bafi-Yeboa, recreation and community development officer at the City of Ottawa, notes, “Our partnership with Jumpstart helped us implement a model that reaches as many children in Ottawa as possible, including new Canadians. From I Love to Swim to I Love to Mentor, the programs not only give kids a strong foundation, but continue to develop skills for success in life.” An example of the program’s success is highlighted by a young man named Nour. A Syrian refugee, Nour’s ability to speak English served to be a huge asset to the
program organizers. Being able to translate information between program staff and newcomers unable to speak English was immensely helpful to all involved. Upon Nour’s graduation from the I Love to Mentor program, he was hired to help with several programs, including a cycling education program for 27 Syrian families. Nour has been employed with the City of Ottawa for six months. While newcomers are not the only group to be helped by these programs, the invaluable experience of being welcomed to a new country is certainly a testament to the “I Love to” initiatives.
Case Study: Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa Serving the community since 1923, the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa (BGCO) has been a Jumpstart Community Partner for 10 years. “The Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa provides a positive, safe environment for kids from high-risk neighbourhoods, and the programs help New Canadians feel welcome in the community,” says Colleen Mooney, BGCO’s executive director. “Donations and funding from partners are essential for growth, and allow us to adapt our programming for an ethnically-diverse, culturally rich Canadian population.” BGCO provides a supportive place for children to experience new opportunities,
overcome barriers, build positive relationships, and develop confidence and skills for life through four programming pillars: education; physical activity and healthy lifestyle; leadership and social skills; and creative arts. BGCO offers after-school and weekend programs that have been successfully adapted to meet the unique needs of new Canadians. The programming at each location is developed strategically to serve the needs of the community. Because many of the neighbourhoods served by BGCO are ethnically diverse with a high immigrant population, cultural and language barriers are a unique challenge facing program leaders. Although member self-identification is voluntary, BGCO estimates that at least 25 percent of their members are new Canadians. Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities contributed $100,000 to help fund programs specifically for new Canadians. BGCO worked with an agency to help program leaders and volunteers learn and understand the cultural differences they could expect with these children. The employees are now trained in best practices for working with new Canadians, and BGCO works hard to maintain a staff reflective of the populations they serve. Representatives from the club even travelled to the city’s Donald Street Apartment complex (where many of the Syrian families now live) to outline the options available for the children. BGCO also features a culturally-diverse staff who speak many languages, something that immediately helped the children feel more comfortable and welcome.
Moving Forward The programs profiled in this article show the important initiatives underway in the nation’s capital to ensure that newcomers feel welcomed. While other communities may create their own blueprints, the effective inclusion of newcomers is critical across Canada. Among the many vehicles to integrate new Canadians, participation in sports – particularly for young newcomers – can play a significant and lasting role in helping them feel at home.
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Better Drives Change … Doesn’t It?
Every new road, upgraded computer application, cancelled project, corporate reorganization, downsizing, or relocation (to mention only a handful of endeavors) have something significant in common. They are all attempts to improve something, to make something – a product, a service, or a process – better. This might seem like an extremely mundane observation; of course a change is supposed to better something. Why do it otherwise? The observation that “Better Drives Change” (BDC) becomes even more obvious when we factor in our personal experiences. When we embrace change, we do so because we see the benefits; and, when we resist a change, it’s because we don’t see sufficient benefit to compensate us for the inevitable effort it takes to learn how to do something new. So, we’re forced into the conclusion that BDC is almost a basic Law of Change. There’s one small problem with this notion, though. It doesn’t seem to hold true. While it is true that all change is an attempt to make things better, it’s also true that many change initiatives fail … some in spectacular, epic, and costly flame outs. If BDC is true, then why doesn’t the organization embrace our latest attempt to make things better?
This isn’t a new question; we’ve asked it numerous times in the past. In the 1903 book, The Laws of Imitation, Gabriel Tarde articulated it brilliantly: “We need to determine why, if 100 innovations are conceived simultaneously, ten will spread while ninety will be forgotten.” An answer to that question, even a weak answer, has the potential of reducing a 90 percent failure rate of change initiatives to something more acceptable, and certainly more profitable. The notion that BDC is a true observation is difficult to erase from our thinking. Many moons ago (1983), I was tasked with introducing the IBM PC into an organization. I was incredibly naïve (my excuse is I was young – I’m older now). I believed that this would be an incredibly easy task. How could someone not want a PC on their desk? It was the latest technology. We would provide all the training. It would increase their skills. It would at least double their productivity. It would make their job easier. It would make them more valuable on the job market. The benefits were endless. It was inarguably BETTER! What was their problem? As I said above, I was naïve – painfully so. I encountered resistance to the notion of using a PC at every turn. It made no sense. “Better” did not seem to drive change to a significant degree.
Peter de Jager
The fact is, there’s lots of evidence that “Better” isn’t the primary driver for change. If it was true, then how do we explain the following? Scurvy is a terrible condition. It’s the consequence of a lack of Vitamin C (a nutrient not “discovered” until 1932), and we need this vitamin to produce collagen – which is basically the glue that keeps our cells together. Without it, we literally start falling apart. Our ligaments loosen, we develop suppurating wounds, our gums recede from our teeth, which then fall out and litter the decks of sailing ships around the world. Estimated deaths due to scurvy, according to available records, were astounding; in excess of two million sailors died because of a lack of available Vitamin C. On a long sea voyage, it was not unreasonable to expect 50 percent of the sailors to succumb to scurvy. It was a serious problem. In 1601, Captain James Lancaster conducted a simple experiment. Three ships set out on a voyage. On one ship,
PETER DE JAGER breathes change management. If you’d like to have an informal conversation with him regarding your change management issues, contact him at <email@example.com>.
This article was originally published in the June 2015 issue of Municipal World.
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There is consistent, strong, emphatic consensus that we are far more likely to embrace a change when we’re involved in creating it. On the flip side is an equally strong agreement that we reject change that is forced upon us. the sailors were given a daily dose of lemon juice; on the other ships, no lemon juice. The result? On the lemon juice ship, no one suffered from scurvy; on the other ships, a 50 percent death rate. Conclusion? Lemons prevent scurvy. With respect to scurvy … lemons are much BETTER! Lemons save countless lives. The British Admiralty did not mandate the use of lemons on naval ships until 1795 – almost 200 years later. Better, even incredibly Better, is not sufficient to drive change. Are our projects “better” than lemons? If not – why do we expect others to embrace them? Over the last three decades, I’ve had the opportunity to ask a single question of about 1,000 audiences. “Thinking back to your last major change, what was the primary reason it failed or succeeded?” The answers to that question suggest an answer to Tarde’s question. In order of increasing frequency, here are the top three responses formatted as “Successful/Failure.”
Good Planning/Poor Planning – This makes sense, and offers no surprises. If we’re attempting to build a new hospital, change a process, or even learn a new language – then it makes sense to approach the change with some sort of plan. Randomly attempting to move forward is doomed to failure. Good Communication/Poor Communication – Once again, this is not very surprising. Ask anyone what we can do to increase the likelihood of succeeding with a change initiative and the response is, “Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!” This advice is perfectly aligned with the notion that “Better Drives Change,” since it’s obvious that we must at least attempt to communicate why we think it’s “better.” The language used in the above responses is consistently “good X” versus “bad X” – indicating a consensus of thought. Planning and communication are important concepts, and good or bad change hinge on these activities. But, the most frequent response to the question posed, is slightly different;
the language used isn’t a “good” versus “bad” phrasing. It’s more personal … Involvement/Top-down Dictated – There is consistent, strong, emphatic consensus that we are far more likely to embrace a change when we’re involved in creating it. On the flip side is an equally strong agreement that we reject change that is forced upon us. This is perhaps the answer to Tarde’s question and to the conundrum surrounding “Better Drives Change.” Not only must a change be for the better, but we must be involved in creating that change – it can’t be forced upon us, regardless of how good it is. Consider the child who decides on their own (100 percent involvement in the change decision-making process) they wish to ride a bike versus the one who has no interest (zero percent involvement). In the case of the former, we can’t stop them from learning to ride, not even broken bones will hold them back. In the case of the latter, nothing – no amount of force, or cajoling – will succeed in getting them to wheeeee on wheels down the street. MW
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March 13-16 – Saskatoon Association of Rural Municipalities Annual Convention Saskatoon SK. http://sarm.ca/events March 20-22 – Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties Convention Edmonton AB. www.aamdc.com March 21-22 – International Meeting of Efficient Cities Montreal QC. www.americana. org/en/program/events/international-meeting-of-efficient-cities March 28-31 – PRO Educational Forum and Trade Show Huntsville ON. http://www. prontario.org/index.php?ci_id=9101 April 2-5 – Ontario Business Improvement Area Association Conference Toronto ON. http://www.obiaaconference.com/index. cfm?ID=179 April 5-7 – Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association Spring Workshop Niagara Falls ON. www.omhra.ca/en/events/ index.asp
April 9-11 – Ontario Municipal Tax and Revenue Association Annual Spring Conference London ON. www.omtra.ca April 11-13 – North Central Local Government Management Association AGM & Convention – Prince George, B.C. http://www. lgma.ca April 21-22 – International Conference on Climate Change Cambridge UK. http://onclimate.com/2017-conference May 2 – Accelerating Smart Communities Conference Vancouver BC. May 2-5 – Ontario Small Urban Municipalities Conference and Trade Show Blue Mountains ON. www.osum.ca/Events May 7-10 – Ontario’s Water Conference & Trade Show Niagara Falls ON. www.owwa. ca/conference May 10-12 – Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council Waste ReForum 2017
Saskastoon SK. www.saskwastereduction.ca/ events May 10-12 – Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association Spring Workshop Minnett ON. www.omaa.on.ca May 16-18 – Local Government Management Association BC Annual Conference and AGM Penticton BC. www.lgma.ca May 27-30 – BC Water and Wastewater Association Annual Conference. https://www. bcwwa.org/education-program.html May 29-31 – Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators Conference and AGM Gatineau QC. http://www.camacam.ca/ en/conference/2017Conference.asp June 1-4 – Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual Conference and Tradeshow Ottawa ON. https://www.fcm.ca/home/ events/upcoming-events/2017-annual-conference-and-trade-show-ottawa.htm
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MWDigest is a monthly digital publication, highlighting and supplementing content available to Municipal World magazine subscribers.
Published on Mar 27, 2017
MWDigest is a monthly digital publication, highlighting and supplementing content available to Municipal World magazine subscribers.