We’re the digital collaboration team for the Government of Canada. We’re also called the GCTools team.
You probably haven’t heard of us, though. That’s not you. That’s us. Except for a few videos, we’ve been pretty quiet about who we are and what we’ve been doing. We’ve been here for a long while though, and have been working behind the scenes to help your public servants to do amazing things.
So, who are we? What do we do? Why should you care?
People, not government
We’re a team of passionate public servants in the Treasury Board Secretariat. We build and operate digital collaboration tools to connect our people with the information and other people they need to do better work for you.
- GCconnex — a professional social network — think Facebook, but focused on what you’re working on now, vs. that party last weekend, pics of your dog or cat or what the kids have been up to;
- GCpedia — an internal wiki with more than 30,000 articles on what’s happening, how to do stuff and core info that people need to work. If folks need to share information across the Government of Canada, there’s a damn good chance it happens here; and
- GCcollab — our newest family member, GCcollab is the same as GCconnex, but was launched to help us work better with partners and to re-imagine the way we as public servants, can engage and work side-by-side with citizens. It’s open to all federal, provincial, territorial public servants, students and academics from every post-secondary institution across Canada and anyone else by invitation. We plan on making it open to everyone, but for now, if you’re interested in trying GCcollab out, just hit me up at @Toferc on Twitter.
We also partner with other teams that make up the employee workspace:
- GCintranet – A central place for communications, and common information, and features that build employee pride and showcase interesting projects being worked on across government; and
- GCdirectory – The Government of Canada’s directory service. From outside government, you’ll see this as GEDS (the Government Electronic Directory Service).
These “GCTools” are about making life better for public servants so they can make life better for you.
Social government == better government
They’re about sharing knowledge, increasing awareness and reducing duplication across an organization that has 130 departments, agencies and crown corporations and more than 300,000 employees. They’re about creating sparks of innovation that can only occur when different perspectives and ideas come into contact with each other. They’re about the Government of Canada working better.
Working out loud == better results
The frame that we use (borrowed) to describe this is “Working out Loud”. Working Out Loud means working deliberately to create value for others that goes beyond your position or team. From our perspective, it means working to create value not only for public servants, but for Canadians and our partners in and outside of government around the world.
An important way we do this is through the use of open source software. Everything we build or do is done in the open and the work we’ve done is available for use by anyone without approval, for free.
What’s out there now is just the start. Through the lens of GCcollab, we are looking not only about how we can make government more effective and efficient, we’re looking at how we can help our society — across all sectors — to come together and work to address the wicked problems of our world today.
Just plain open
Over the weeks and months to come, we’ll be communicating a lot more, with semi-regular blog posts on technology, accessibility, engagement, collaboration in the public service, international partnerships and opportunities to work together on open source solutions.
So, Hello World. You haven’t heard of us until now, but we’re here.
We’ve rolled up our sleeves, opened our doors and we’re looking forward to working with you to make a better world for everyone.