FWD50 2022

November 1-3, 2022 | Ottawa and online

A truly hybrid event

2022 saw the return to in-person interaction with a truly hybrid event: An entire virtual platform with networking, messaging, chat, and multi-channel streaming; and a live studio audience. It was also our first event with department-wide access, as several major departments of the Canadian Federal Government gave their employees access to online talks.

The tech stack to deliver all of this included multiple cameras (and even a robot camera!) that turned the hundreds of in-person participants into a studio audience. With a soundproofed booth to chat with virtual speakers, and a polling and Q&A platform that both virtual and physical attendees could use together, the conference redefined what hybrid can be.

At this point, we'd featured over 50 countries including the UAE, Brazil, the Phillippines, and even Ukraine, as well as senior technology executives and ministers within government.

What others are saying

“FWD50 will restore your faith in government.”

“Exceptionally honest, incredibly produced and brilliantly informative; FWD50 offers inspiration for public servants that lasts for months. Every time I've attended, I am filled with renewed hope and optimism for how I can create positive change.“

“I wish it didn't end. Should be attended by all public servants, tech or not, across the entire departments and agencies.”

“One of the must-attend events on the calendar for public servants who imagine a better future and want the tools to realize it.”


We returned to the Aberdeen Pavillion in Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park. Given the hybrid format, we designed a more spacious, distributed layout that avoided crowding, and encouraged in-person attendees to go out to the surrounding restaurants and stores for lunch.

The adjacent Horticulture building served as a backup space for some of the tech and staff who ran the event, and nearby dinner spots were perfect for speaker meetings and improptu community gatherings.


Attendees (virtual and in-person.)


Speakers from 11 countries.


Dedicated hands-on workshops, simulations, and activations.


Questions for speakers got 8,573 live upvotes.

This year’s content

The lineup included speakers from across Canada and around the world, as well as bestselling authors. We tackled tough issues such as procurement, the psychology of change, remote work, and the high mental health costs of rapid transformation in a public health crisis.

In-person attendees had access to a range of hands-on workshops where they could play simulations, build technologies, and solve policy problems in real time. Virtual attendees used a spatial networking platform to interact with speakers after their talks.

2022’s speakers

This year’s faculty was made up of academics, public servants, consultants, and technology experts from around the world.

The Honourable Mona Fortier

President, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS)

Mike Bracken

Partner, Public Digital

Marina Nitze

New Practice Lab Fellow, New America

Gulsanna Mamediieva

Director General of the Directorate for European Integration, Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine

David McRaney

Science Journalist
Author, You Are Not So Smart

Catherine Luelo

Chief Information Officer, Canada
Deputy Minister, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS)

David Lopez Almirol Jr.

Undersecretary for E-Government of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Philippines

Julie Inman Grant

eSafety Commissioner, Australia


We built a number of custom activations for in-person attendees. Job Jobs helped public servants find their peers, then have productive discussions on thorny topics, and Hourglass pass was mentorship with a twist, using a sand timer to keep the conversation flowing.

The Beeck Center brought a governance card game; Think Digital showed how to unpack government challenges; and the Canadian Digital Service built a new service atop their platform in under an hour.

Want to take a peek at 2022’s sessions? Check out the agenda!

2022 Agenda

Some of this year’s innovations

We ask public servants to innovate and take risks, so we try to embody that ourselves. Each year, we experiment with new technologies and formats to improve attendee experience. Here’s what we tried in 2022.

Live, from a soundproofed booth!

To blend in-person and virtual content, host Alistair Croll moved from center stage to a soundproofed booth, appearing on the main screen alongside speakers from as far away as Australia.

Headphones in workshops

The workshop stage used wireless headphones—originally designed for live interpretation—so participants could hear organizers clearly in the wide-open space of the Aberdeen Pavillion

Questions and upvotes around the world

We used a digital platform to solicit questions for speakers, and then let the audience upvote the ones they liked the most. And following virtual talks, attendees could meet with speakers in a spatial networking tool that let them chat via video easily.

A live studio audience

While hundreds of participants joined us in person, thousands watched from afar. To make the production feel like a professional broadcast instead of yet another webinar, we had three cameras (including a robot camera!) and speakers’ notes were mounted at the back of the room, teleprompter-style.

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