“ I felt like I had found the Netflix of Digital Government!”

Luke Simcoe
Code for Canada
Published in
2 min readSep 13, 2017

The following post is a reflection on the course by Denis Carr, the Open Data Supervisor at the City of Toronto. He was a student in Digital Government and Civic Tech in Spring 2017.

I enrolled in Digital Government and Civic Tech around the same time that I started a new job at the City of Toronto. Even though I had already been working in digital transformation, I still felt like I needed to catch up on a field of study and practice that had evolved so much over the last few years. Technology, innovation, policy, design practices, business transformation, modernizing government — the amount of content and important examples can be overwhelming.

I took the course because I wanted to understand which examples and skills would be most useful for me in my new role, and which ones would be the most relevant for Toronto, at this moment in time, and for the goals the City wants to accomplish?

One of the first things the class did was pick and prioritize the areas we wanted to focus on. This became our syllabus, and every class we had the opportunity to customize how we were learning and direct the activities towards the information and skills that resonated with us. I felt like I had found the Netflix of Digital Government! This process also helped us connect with others in the class who had similar interests or had experience in particular subjects.

The format of the class — part interactive presentation, part guest interview, and part hands-on practice with different tools and techniques — kept the course engaging and enabled us to quickly iterate on what we just learned. It also made it easy to adopt the techniques at work the next day — I’d already practiced and gotten feedback from the diverse group of peers in my class, and felt confident about how to apply new skills to my role. Continuously learning from the experiences of my classmates was definitely a highlight!

I walked away from this course with a solid foundation and greater awareness of digital transformation possibilities in government; as well as the value and importance of strong connections with the civic tech community to help make that transformation happen. It was a great educational and networking experience, and it made me even more excited to be a public servant!

For more information on Digital Government and Civic Tech, or to enrol, visit ryerson.ca/ce/cvup110.

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Luke Simcoe
Code for Canada

Director of Outreach at Code for Canada. Telling the Canadian story of civic tech and digital government. Find me on Twitter: @code4luke