By Gerry McGovern

In 2007, I first visited Ottawa. It was winter. Very cold. But what I remember most is the warmth and enthusiasm of the audience. And the size! There were about 300 people in the room for a two-day workshop. It was the biggest workshop audience I had ever—or have ever—presented to. It was a thrill!

I’m writing this on a flight home to Ireland as I end my latest trip to Ottawa. It’s been a thrill! So many wonderful, enthusiastic and talented people. So much energy and desire to deliver the very best services possible.

Photograph of Gerry McGovern during the master class at Bayview Yards in Ottawa, February 13, 2018
Gerry McGovern during the master class at Bayview Yards in Ottawa, February 13, 2018.


There are challenges. They are mainly organizational. People are rightly frustrated that the current government organizational model is not fit for purpose in the digital age. Everything has changed in our world except how large organizations organize themselves. The silos have become lumbering dinosaurs, holding back and inhibiting quality service.

We must change the metrics. We must measure the customer experience by rigorously identifying their top tasks and measuring the success rate and the time it takes to complete these top tasks. Senior management, in particular, must be measured in relation to what they are doing to make it easier and faster for Canadians to complete their top tasks.

Change the key metrics and you will change the organization. Change the organization and you will deliver vastly better digital services. Canada is already on the road to doing this. Measure the customer outcome, not the organizational input. Focus on what the customer does not what the organization does.

Canada is in a better position to do this than a great many organizations I have dealt with over the years. I leave, optimistic and encouraged, that there is a team of talented and determined people who will keep pushing Canada forward to deliver the best possible government services for Canadians.

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About Gerry McGovern

Gerry helps large organizations deliver a better digital customer experience. He has written six books on the digital customer experience. In his latest book, called Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation, he argues that digital transformation is far more about culture change than technology change. His commercial clients include Microsoft, Dropbox, Cisco, NetApp, VMware, and IBM. He has also consulted with the US, UK, EU, Dutch, Canadian, Norwegian, and Irish governments. The Irish Times described Gerry as one of five visionaries who have had a major impact on the development of the Web.