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Re-Imagining Government - 4-6 August 2014. At the Fourteenth Annual “On the OrganizationConference held at Oxford University, Mr. Wilson spoke about the impact of Internet connectivity on humanity and human organizations. “Having become connected to a world of innumerable differences -- in terms of language, ethnicity, understanding, perspectives, values, beliefs and assumptions – we have created a profound basis for social friction. Today’s fundamental challenge is how to take advantage of those differences to increase human welfare through collective innovation and creatively working together, while mitigating their divisive effects.” 

According to Mr. Wilson this amounts to a fundamental governance question, one which he believes will inevitably and radically transform our governing institutions. “While this connectivity has dramatically increased social complexity and the potential for social disorder, our governance models have not kept pace. That said, if the Internet is making the old governance model obsolete, what will take its place? To me it seems that as government evolves, in many ways it must begin to resemble the Internet itself -- connected, networked, open, inclusive, permissionless, facilitative, collaborative, trusted, learning, innovative and adaptive – becoming a platform for human cooperation.”

He spoke of the challenges to public management and leadership and tried to identify the organizational frameworks, skills, and mechanisms that would be needed to support a new model of government driven by collaboration, participation and stewardship. In particular, “we will need to explore the fundamental social problem of distributed governance identified long ago by Hayek -- the problem of the utilization of knowledge, resources or power which are not given to anyone in their totality.”


Reality Bites: Picking up the Clerk’s Collaboration Challenge, Canadian Government Executive, December 2012



Nova Scotia decision to eliminate ‘minority’ ridings headed for legal challenge, Kathryn Blaze Carlson, The National Post, Dec 9, 2012


The Nova Scotia government is headed for a legal challenge over last week’s decision to stamp out minority ridings that aim to ensure Acadian and black representation in favour of population-based ridings, provoking discussion around whether ethnically based districting has any place in today’s political landscape — there or anywhere. The ridings are believed to be the only such seats in Canada, but by abolishing them the provincial government would be only partway down the path toward shedding its special treatment of minorities in elections.  I’m surprised those kinds of districts still exist,” said Christopher Wilson, a senior research fellow with the University of Ottawa’s Centre on Governance. “Our governance process has evolved over time … In this day and age, we just wouldn’t do that.” Mr. Wilson contended that the practice divides Canadians along bloodlines rather than uniting them around common social, political or economic interests.



"Liberals abdicating legitimate policy space for a popularity contest, a political version of reality TV", The Hill Times, 19 November 2012



21 August 2012 - Mechanisms of Collaboration and Enagagement.
Interview with Canadian Government Executive during IPAC Annual Conference 19-22 August 2012 in St. John's. Click here to view the full interview.


2 July 2011 -
Scandals piling up in world of Canadian business

Source: Derek Abma, Postmedia News

This country has long benefited from a strong corporate reputation abroad — a "halo effect," as some call it, from being seen as a kinder, gentler version of our American neighbours. But some might question whether that's still the case, as the country gains attention, and sometimes notoriety, for everything from the oilsands pollution; to Bear Creek Mining Corp.’s loss of its mining rights in Peru; to Niko Resources Ltd.’s recent $9.5-million fine for influence peddling; and to the now re-jailed former media baron Conrad Black.

Christopher Wilson, a lecturer and researcher at the University of Ottawa's school of management, says some scandals involving Canadian business interests are indicative of a corporate culture that puts its emphasis on the immediate appeasement of shareholders, often at the expense of other stakeholders, such as workers, customers and affected communities.

"The orientation is to see the profits in the next quarter as opposed to the long-term health of the organization and the long-term value addition to society," he says. Wilson says English-speaking countries tend to have a business culture that emphasizes short-term needs of shareholders over other considerations. Canada, he says, is perhaps even more so this way than the United States, because the relatively small pool of significant shareholders in Canadian companies limits the diversity of opinion that goes into shaping corporate policies.

"It makes it really, really difficult for Canadian companies to make a change because everybody sort of thinks the same way," Wilson says. "Whereas in the more diverse, less closely held environment of the United States, there's so many other perspectives that come into play." (more..)


5 May 2011 Ottawa - Christopher Wilson met with met members of Nigeria's visiting Fiscal Responsibility Commission today to discuss ways of enhancing public sector reform in Nigeria which Transparency International has ranked 134th of 178 countries in its Corruption Perception Index. The real problem said one commissioner is the "culture of corruption" that is so widely tolerated in the country that it tends to hamper the well-intended efforts of government and civil society organizations.

The meeting was part of a workshop that explored public sector governance in Canada and that paid particular attention to the Management Accountability Framework that has been adopted for use by the federal government. Commissioners also shared elements of Nigeria's recent accountability act and efforts being untaken by NGOs in Nigeria to shine light on budgeting and spending practices and hold authorities to account for discrepancies in spending and budgeting.



24 November 2010 - Censemaking blogger, Cameron Norman, comments on Christopher’s discussion of the Technology Spectrum of Social Collaboration. “This model combines both face-to-face methods of organizing and ideation, with a social media strategy that connects people together between events.”




last updated 12 October 2014