Innovation And Public Policy

Smiling young man in blue dress shirt and tie in front of Parliament Hill  Guest Post by: Jonathan Kates, Master of Public Policy Student

As a graduate student at UofT’s School of Public Policy & Governance and an executive member of the student-led Policy and Innovation Initiative, the Innovation Hub’s human-centered design focus overlaps with my own interest in innovative policy design. The way policy is designed at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government offers opportunities for or constraints to innovation. This is largely due to the fact that unlike businesses in the private sector who dream up a brilliant new product, governments rarely enjoy a first-mover advantage. That is, one of the main ways of selling policies to the public is by talking about a successful application of this policy somewhere else. “It worked well in the U.K.!”; “If Montreal can do it, so can Toronto!” The thing about policy is that it can be context-specific, so sometimes what worked in the United Kingdom or Quebec may not be what’s right for Canada or Ontario.  But does that mean we shouldn’t at least try and find out?

The Innovation Hub at Civic Tech Toronto

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By: Margaryta Ignatenko, Student Co-Leader, Communications and Events Team

On March 7th, Ali Rodney, Julia Smeed and Tamsyn Riddle presented the Hub’s key insights and design process to a room full of energetic, inspired and innovative folks who are part of Civic Tech Toronto.  Civic Tech Toronto hosts weekly “hacknights” which allow anyone with a project to collaborate and create with fellow community members. Participants worked on projects ranging from creating a WebCrawler to identify hate speech in Canada to creating a multimedia campaign that raises awareness of racial profiling and carding to a take down of fake news project (among others!)Civic Tech Toronto LogoJulia Smeed talking at podium Office spaceAli Rodney speaking at podium

Collaborating in a Decentralized Postsecondary Institution: Three Insights from the Organizational Learning Team

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By Denise Bentum, Kate Bowers and Alexandra Rodney

As mentioned in our last post, the Innovation Hub’s Organizational Learning team has been interviewing faculty and Student Life staff at the University of Toronto to learn about their experiences working with students and with each other. We have been exploring the topics of collaboration and student support, in line with a design-thinking approach, by trying to understand these things from the perspective of staff and faculty. Our goal has been to elicit stories of successful and challenging experiences supporting students and collaborating across the university’s many divisions and departments. We have analysed these stories in order to understand how to meet the needs of both students and frontline workers at the university, and to learn about what they value during intra-institutional collaborations and interactions.