Like all governments Canada’s federal public service is asked to solve increasingly complex challenges. To respond effectively, the public service needs an agile workforce. But how can that be done in a hierarchical structure which may not necessarily be known for its flexibility?
Abe Greenspoon, who has been with Canada's federal public service for more than 10 years, led the development of "Canada's Free Agents", a radical, new, and experimental workforce model. The program recruits existing public servants who demonstrate empathy, team-orientation, creativity and a focus on outcomes - all attributes which relate to effective problem-solving and experimentation.
Successful candidates are moved into positions at three separate "home" ministries. From there, the employees are given full autonomy to find and complete projects anywhere in the federal public service that match their interests.
In this session Abe shared his experience setting up and piloting a startup-like venture inside government, what has worked and what hasn't, and what he has learned along the way.