Past sessions

Each fall, the world’s leading public servants, tech innovators, and academics gather in Canada's Capital for the annual FWD50 conference. FWD50 spans multiple days of packed content, from keynotes and workshops to breakouts and meeting rooms, as well as other community meetups we run throughout the week. Every year we tackle a different theme on the most pressing challenges in digital government and curate our content accordingly. Browse all our past sessions from over the years using our interactive agenda.

In PersonVirtual

November 06

1:00 PM

Networking

Breakfast

2:00 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Channeling your inner salmon

Salmon live in the sea, but must travel hundreds of miles upstream to spawn. They're incredible jumpers, leaping tirelessly out of the water to climb rapids in the face of incredible hardship. See More.
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50

2:35 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Digital Transformation in the Government of Canada

Details coming soon. See More.
President of the Treasury Board
Government of Canada

2:50 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Tackling tech-debt for a cyber-resilient Canada

As organizations continue their digital transformations, they are challenged with tech debt. When legacy technologies linger, the complexity, support costs, and security risks increase, and systems become more vulnerable to cyber attacks. See More.
Global Practice Leader, Security & Resiliency
Kyndryl
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50

3:15 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Are we making the most of digital to meet the challenges of our time?

The best public sector digital organisations in the world understand that ‘digital’ is about more than tools and technology. They embrace a whole new ethos, a shift in their culture, methods and processes. That’s what it takes to design and build digital solutions that transform how government works and deliver policies and services that meet people’s needs. See More.
Co-founder and CEO
Apolitical

3:40 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Do You Know What That Camera is Doing? Building Trust and Inclusion in Digital Urban Infrastructure

Digital technology is embedded into how our cities work. All around us, sensors are collecting data about the movement of people, objects and vehicles, and the environment. See More.
President & Co-Founder
Helpful Places

4:05 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Revolution, not evolution, for federal public service delivery

Efforts to transform how the Canadian government delivers digital services have stalled; public service morale is at the lowest point in years. Meanwhile, public and media recognition of the importance of "state capacity" (can the government actually deliver programs and services?) is growing. What needs to change to close this gap? See More.
Former federal public servant
Open government program manager
Government of Yukon

4:30 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Implementing Implementation

Government has an implementation crisis. The idea that laws are passed, and magically turn into services everyone can access easily, is a fiction. There's a "murky middle" between policy and implementation, made worse by the ever-increasing complexity of legislation. And the public service is left to pick up the pieces. See More.
Author of "Recoding America: How Government Fails in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better"

4:55 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Transforming Service Delivery for Canadians

Details coming soon. See More.
Minister of Citizens’ Services
Government of Canada

5:00 PM

Networking

Lunch time!

It's time for a break! Take this opportunity to grab lunch and catch up with, or meet your fellow attendees! See More.

6:15 PM

Innovating

Skilling for the Future Workforce Demand

As leaders look to stay ahead of emerging trends like generative artificial intelligence (AI), they need a workforce that's ready to support their plans to reinvent the business. See More.
Partner, Workforce Consulting
PwC Canada
Senior Director, CTO Branch Management
Shared Services Canada (SSC)
Inspiring & Interacting

It comes down to teams

One common mistake that digital transformation groups often make is relying on a single visible leader to carry it all and rally everybody to success. See More.
Head, Digital Talent Strategy, Benefits Delivery Modernization
Service Canada
Director, Product Design, Digital Credentials
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), Government of Canada
Director Digital Strategy
Ontario Digital Service (ODS)
Learning & Doing

Assessing Your Organization’s Digital Maturity

In recent years more and more public sector organizations have been embracing the idea of “digital government”, including changing their practices and processes to include agile, user-centered, and open ways of working. See More.
CEO & Founder
Think Digital
Facilitator & Trainer
Think Digital
Director Data, Analytics & Visualization Services, Corporate Services
Regional Municipality of York

7:15 PM

Networking

Time to network!

It's time for a break! Take this opportunity to catch up with, or meet your fellow attendees! See More.

7:30 PM

Innovating

Adapting to the new reality in the public sector

Public sector institutions face distinctive challenges in delivering digital services. Funding pressures, political complexity, regulatory restrictions, and population scale and diversity challenge digital transformation efforts. COVID-19 has only added to the pressure, with increased demand for speed and resiliency to deliver critical services. In many cases, this requires rapid adaptation. Join us to learn more about relevant use cases for adapting to the new reality in the public sector. See More.
Global Transformation Strategist
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
Inspiring & Interacting

Open Science & Indigenous Knowledge: Challenges & Solutions

The panel objective is to discuss the importance of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and Indigenous Data in obtaining a more complete understanding of the cumulative effects of industrial development on Indigenous territories and communities. See More.
Impact Assessment Coordinator
Matachewan First Nation
Executive Officer & Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Indigenous Centre for Cumulative Effect (ICCE)
Senior Manager, Environmental Assessment Division, Environmental Protection Branch
Environment and Climate Change Canada, Government of Canada
Indigenous (Kanien’kehá:ka) Research Consultant
Senior Consultant
Daniel J. Brant & Associates

8:15 PM

Learning & Doing

Mission Sabotage: how not to create a user centred organisation

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sabotage your organisation’s plan to move to user-centred service delivery. See More.
Director
Public Digital

8:30 PM

Networking

Time to network!

It's time for a break! Take this opportunity to catch up with, or meet your fellow attendees! See More.

9:00 PM

Innovating

Navigating Government's Digital Odyssey for Citizen Services

The core mission of government is to serve its people and ensure the well-being of citizens. In this era of rapidly evolving technology, public sector organizations are increasingly embracing innovative technology solutions to make informed choices and optimize program and service delivery. See More.
Digital Transformation Lead for Health Industry, Go-To-Market Strategist | Salesforce Public Sector
General Manager – CRM Experience Transformation
Canada Post Corporation
Senior Director, OEE/EETS
Natural Resources Canada
Inspiring & Interacting

Transforming Public Services with User Research: A Case Study of Five Transformative Projects from the USDR: Seattle Research Cohort

The talk will cover the Seattle By Design Cohort, a pilot program created by U.S. Digital Response (USDR) in collaboration with the City of Seattle Innovation & Performance team. The program connected a cohort of 20 volunteer experts with city staff from 5 different departments to answer specific research questions and make recommendations using best practices in user research. See More.
User Research Operations Lead
US Digital Response
Service Design Project Lead
City of Seattle

11:00 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Glorious Blunders: A Public Service Fail Fest

Join Apolitical, Public Digital and Think Digital in conjunction with FWD50, for an evening of storytelling, laughter, and community building at the "Glorious Blunders: A Public Service Fail Fest." This unique event brings together public servants and friends from around the world to share stories of failure, resilience, and learning in the world of public service. See More.

November 07

1:00 PM

Networking

Breakfast and Book Club with Jen Pahlka

Start off Day 2 of FWD50 with some breakfast and a book club chat with Jen Pahlka. Come prepared to discuss urgent lessons from her book Recoding America that very much also apply to Canada. See More.
Author of "Recoding America: How Government Fails in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better"

2:00 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Why Societies Fail, and What To Do About It

As every society confronts issues stemming from growth (such as theft or taxation or defense) it creates new layers to deal with it (such as a judicial system, or revenue assessors, or armies) which further increase its costs—a pattern Joseph Tainter has tracked across several civilizations. See More.
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50

2:25 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

The Radical How

Terry Beech has recently been appointed as Canada's first Minister For Citizens' Services, with a mission to put the needs of users ahead of the convenience of government. See More.
Partner
Public Digital

2:50 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Generative AI: Fiction and reality

Governments want to work on what matters, and have a positive impact on the communities they serve. But delivering on that promise is complex, and often challenging. And while emerging technologies offer tantalizing promise, sometimes it's hard to distinguish fiction from reality. See More.
Chief Technology Officer
Avanade
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50

3:15 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

From Fairytales to Agile: Unleashing Innovation in Government Procurement

Agility is about responding to change, managing risk and activating collective intelligence to deliver better results faster. While these sound great, they're seldom found in government procurement. See More.
Thought Leader
Lean-Agile Procurement

3:40 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Trust in government goes both ways

Governments operate from a place of mistrust. By default, we treat everyone we serve as if they are trying to defraud us, until they prove to us that they are “safe” by performing certain behaviours. Guilty until proven innocent. See More.
Lead Service Designer
BC Public Service

4:05 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Delivering a Digital Foundation for Canadian Citizens

Canadians are moving more of their government interactions online and have increasingly high expectations for what those digital services should look like, as revealed by VMware's recent Citizen Satisfaction Survey. Join us in this conversation with FWD50’s Alistair Croll, where we will share more about the survey insights and discuss what issues and technologies matter the most to Canadians as the process of modernization continues. See More.
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50
Field Chief Technology Officer
VMware Canada

4:30 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Canada's Digital Ambition: A conversation with Catherine Luelo

Delivering government in a digital age is using technology to bring people together – private and public sector – and working towards a common goal. The role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Canada is to provide guidance and chart the course to deliver easy-to-use and accessible digital tools for Canadians that provide simplified access to services and programs. See More.
Chief Information Officer
Canada
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50

4:55 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

That's a wrap for the morning!

Find out what's in store for your afternoon. See More.
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50

5:00 PM

Networking

Lunch time!

It's time for a break! Take this opportunity to grab lunch and catch up with, or meet your fellow attendees! See More.

6:15 PM

Innovating

Innovation Breakthroughs: How Public and Private Sector Can Work Together to Build AI-driven Growth and Value

The past decade has seen the rise of public and private sector work that results in creating new industries, industrializing digital business, and improving government services. Many of these qualify as breakthrough events as technologies and strategies such as Artificial Intelligence and Digital Business drive ‘cascading opportunities.’ See More.
Vice President and Distinguished Analyst
Gartner
Inspiring & Interacting

Public Digital Takeover: Digital service standards

Digital service standards have become an increasingly popular tool for raising the bar of public service quality, in Canada and around the world. With careful stewardship, they can smooth the path to more effective ways of working at scale across large organisations. See More.
Partner
Public Digital
Director, Digital Strategy | Digital Investment Office, Office of the Chief Information Officer
Government of British Columbia
Director, Channel Experience, Benefit Delivery Modernization
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
Learning & Doing

Practices and tools to attract, retain, and develop digital talent

Building off “the Canadian retrospective: what’s working (and what’s not) to attract, retain and develop digital talent”, this interactive workshop will explore “what’s working”, like tried and true practices and tools for you to build digital talent in your organization. See More.
Executive Director
Code for Canada
Senior Product Director, Digital Talent Careers
Government of British Columbia
Executive Director, Product
Government of Alberta, Technology & Innovation
Manager, Digital Talent & Leadership
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), Government of Canada
Senior Analyst
Digital Academy at the Canada School of Public Service

7:15 PM

Networking

Time to network!

It's time for a break! Take this opportunity to catch up with, or meet your fellow attendees! See More.

7:30 PM

Innovating

The Citizen Experience at the Centre of Sustainable Digital Transformation

We will explore the important relationship between sustainability, digital transformation, and the citizen. See More.
Head of Management Consulting and Solutions, Application Services
Fujitsu North America, Inc.
Inspiring & Interacting

Regional Digital Government Summit Takeover

In 2019, the Regional Digital Government Summit (RDGS) was created to explore the unique challenges facing municipal, provincial and state-level public service delivery teams. See More.
Director of Ontario Relations
Council of Canadian Innovators
Federal Partnerships Director
Tech Talent Project
CEO
Digitality GovTech Center of Excellence
Fmr Minister of Digital, Media & Public Administration
Montenegro
Tech ambassador, entrepreneur & scholar
Chief Executive Officer
U.S. Digital Response
User Experience Leader
Mexico City's Digital Agency for Public Innovation (ADIP)

8:15 PM

Learning & Doing

Discovering Government Data & Integrating AI into Research, Policy-making, & Deliberation

Some of the most substantial, well-funded, and longitudinal data is produced by government agencies. See More.
Department Director
Internet Archive
Executive Director
Internet Archive Canada

8:30 PM

Networking

Time to network!

It's time for a break! Take this opportunity to catch up with, or meet your fellow attendees! See More.

9:00 PM

Innovating

The Story of Herman Hollerith: Why we need a new (old) paradigm for procurement & partnership with Government

In today’s rapidly evolving world, this session sheds light on the need to re-think on how solutions are designed and procured, and how this shift in approach can fuel innovation. See More.
Chief Executive Officer
Thrive Health
Inspiring & Interacting

Beeck Center Takeover: Open Source Government Services: The Promise and The Realities

Open source software is in our computers and our phones, in our cars and our airplanes — and, of course, in many government systems. But government systems using open source software and being open source software are two different things. Decades into the life of the open source software world, governments large and small still spend enormous sums of money on systems that are closed and proprietary. With all of the potential benefits of open source government services, why is it still this way? See More.
Fellow
Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador at Large for Digital Affairs
Department of Digital and Cyber Diplomacy, Estonia
Former federal public servant
Open government program manager
Government of Yukon
Executive Director
Code for Canada
Partner
Public Digital

November 08

1:30 PM

Networking

Breakfast meetup: Talent and Toast

Code for Canada and Canadian digital teams invite you to contribute to a community retrospective. Together, you will reflect on the past year, with a special focus on digital talent. See More.

3:00 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Welcome back!

Join host Alistair Croll as we kick off the third and final day of FWD50! See More.
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50

3:15 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Reframing choices for widespread public adoption

Rapid technological developments have profund impacts on our societies. On the one hand, digital technologies can improve governance, strengthen economy as well as democracy. Estonia is a living reminder of the enourmous positive transformative power of technologies. See More.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador at Large for Digital Affairs
Department of Digital and Cyber Diplomacy, Estonia

3:40 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

AI, government, and the path to an augmented public sector

In this fireside chat, Google's John Cousens talks about the remarkable advances that generative AI has made in recent months. See More.
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50
Managing Director, Public Sector Canada
Google Cloud Canada

4:05 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Designing My Grief

The grief process is a lifelong journey. Something we will all experience as we walk alongside the amazing people in our lives. See More.
Service Designer | Client: Government of Alberta Seniors, Community and Social Services
J5 Design

4:30 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Canada’s Digital Journey (Yes, we’re sorry)

For more than a decade now, digital government teams have been forming all over Canada, enthusiastically adopting philosophies and practices from the UK, Australia and the United States. Each team had a mandate to challenge the status quo and had high hopes for changing how government works. See More.
Director-General, Digital Policy | Office of the Chief Information Officer, TBS

4:55 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

That's a wrap for the morning!

Find out what's in store for your afternoon. See More.
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50

5:00 PM

Networking

Lunch time!

It's time for a break! Take this opportunity to grab lunch and catch up with, or meet your fellow attendees! See More.

6:15 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Humans to heroes

Public servants are unsung heroes. Working to improve people’s lives and change things for the better, all while navigating complicated political environments and the constraints and barriers of their own organizations. This panel builds on Brian Whittaker’s Humans of Public Service and Sean Boots’ Public Service Heroes series, and features public servants from the United States and Canada who fearlessly represent the best of what we strive for as public servants. Join us to hear how they’ve made an impact in their public service work, and how we can change our organizations for the better. See More.
Senior Strategic Advisor
Canadian Border Service Agency
Founder & President
MokSol Impact LLC
Former federal public servant
Open government program manager
Government of Yukon
Innovating

Unlocking the Power of AI in Modern Data Platforms for a Trustworthy Conversational Data Experience

In this session, we aim to demonstrate how government can accelerate the Mean Time to Analysis and Decision (MTTA/MTTD) in the context of digital transformation. A central theme of our discussion will revolve around enabling organizations to offer 'Secure Access to Trustworthy Data on Demand,' thus fostering active engagement in the Conversational Data Experience. See More.
Chief Technology Strategist, Government & Education
Oracle
Learning & Doing

How to Hack a Bureaucracy

At Code for Canada, we know a thing or two about hacking into an established bureaucracy to work with/around obstacles, create the changes we hope to see in our governments, while building champions, not enemies, along the way. We’ve worked with government teams at every level to examine their existing work structure and find ways to streamline and fast-track ongoing digital projects that deliver value with limited resources. See More.
Executive Director
Code for Canada
UX Designer
Code for Canada

6:45 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Getting there from here: Innovation, talent, and delivering on service promises

Everyone's excited for what digital can be. But the reality is that many modernization initiatives stall because they lack a clear definition, or are so delayed that they're obsolete before they're released. Big committees, mired in processes and procedure, often fail to accomplish what a small team can. And in the eternal dance between public and private sector, government is often unable to put the latest technologies to work because of legacy systems and monolithic technologies. See More.
President
Council of Canadian Innovators
Chief Transformation Officer, Associate Deputy Minister’s Office, Enterprise Pay Operations
Public Services & Procurement Canada, Government of Canada

7:15 PM

Networking

Break

7:45 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Effortless Customer Experience by Design: Abu Dhabi Government Case Study

Introducing the Abu Dhabi Program for Effortless Customer Experience as a pioneering initiative in the holistic implementation of CX practices; with a pertinent focus on the newly emerging concept of effortlessness in service delivery. In a coordinated approach based on 5 strategic pillars, the program aims to transform service delivery across all 67 entities in the Emirate, in a vision to become the world's most effortless government. The session will delineate the origin, implementation, and results of this endeavour so far. See More.
Executive Director, Customer Experience Affairs
Department of Government Enablement, Abu Dhabi
President
Gov. Design Academy
Board Member
The International Foundation for Customer Experience in Government
Innovating

Creating an insights driven operating model to embed empathy in government

As the government matures in digital capability, its approaches to feedback and insights have to mature with it. Real time listening is only one part of how successful government agencies build trust. Acting quickly and creating agile approaches to design empower government frontlines in more innovative ways See More.
Global Government Advisor
Qualtrics
Learning & Doing

Mentor Meetups: Convo codes

We've got questions; you've got answers! In this session, you'll tackle some of digital transformation's toughest challenges at a table of your peers, led by expert mentors. Scan the QR code at your table to get prompts on themes within the subject of the table you're at! See More.
Federal Partnerships Director
Tech Talent Project
Founder & Exec. Director
AIGS Canada
Co-founder and Principal
Stance Global
Director of Ontario Relations
Council of Canadian Innovators
Head Coach
Digital by Default Academy
Director-General, Digital Policy | Office of the Chief Information Officer, TBS
Assistant Deputy Minister of Digital Innovation and Product
Ontario Digital Service (ODS)
a/Senior Policy Analyst
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
Human-Centred Design Lead
Treasury Board Secretariat
Director
Digital Academy, Canada School of Public Service
Lead Service Designer
BC Public Service
Head, Digital Talent Strategy, Benefits Delivery Modernization
Service Canada
Senior Go-To-Market Lead for Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
AWS Canada
Director, Digital Talent Development
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), Government of Canada
Director of the Digital Democracy Project
a/Director, Service Health
Office of the Chief Information Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat, Government of Canada

8:15 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Watching the watchers

The national security and intelligence ecosystem is often absent from discussions of digital government – with, in some cases, good reason. What does digital transformation look like inside of Canada’s national security and intelligence ecosystem? What roles do regulators and review bodies play in the activities and undertakings of our national security and intelligence agencies? How do tensions in digital transformation surface in this space and how can we better navigate them? See More.
Government of Canada
Government of Canada

8:45 PM

Networking

Time to network!

9:15 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

Humans in the room: how to build tech that won’t kill us

In this talk, Alexis Wichowski, former Deputy Chief Technology Officer for New York City and long-serving public servant, professor, and author of the 2020 book The Information Trade: How Big Tech Conquers Countries, Challenges Our Rights and Transforms Our World (HarperCollins), asks why we continue to build tech that harms us and explores ways to course correct and design more humane tech that serves the whole human experience.  See More.
Professor of Professional Practice & Program Director, MS in Technologies
Columbia University School of Professional Studies

9:45 PM

Inspiring & Interacting

That's a wrap!

We did it, 3 jam-packed days! Thank you so much for joining us! Don't forget, we want to hear from you, so please make sure you fill out the survey that's coming your way! See More.
Co-founder & Chair
FWD50
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