The People Table and Employee Engagement

The People Table had a problem to tackle – the City hadn’t performed well in the 2012 employee engagement survey. In 2014, some departments and service areas had made positive strides, but others had been less successful so the overall picture hadn’t actually changed all that much. “Must do better.” Agreed. So, where to start?

Big Data and Smart Cities

Departments across the City of Guelph are moving towards the greater collection, use, and sharing of data. A “smart city” uses technology and data to help manage the city, from traffic to energy, and water use to healthcare.

While cities have a long history of using data to support decision-making, technological advances have dramatically increased the volume and variety of data available and raise the possibility of this new wealth of data being used to make evermore complex decisions.

Procurement Insights

Is procurement like baking a cake, sending a rocket to the moon or raising a child?

The short answer?

We think it might be like all three but not at the same time. It just depends on the project.

Brenda Zimmerman was one of Canada’s leading management thinkers and she used the metaphors of baking, rockets, and children to help people recognize and make sense of the difference between three types of problems – simple, complicated and complex. She was a pioneer in using the ideas of complexity theory as a management science.

Trade-Offs in Procurement

When looking for truly innovative ideas, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” is the best pop-wisdom we can use.

When we try to solve a problem, we tend to focus on what’s wrong with the status quo miss the bits that we’d actually like to keep.

If we really want innovation however, we need to find the best of both worlds; like healthcare that is “holistic” and efficient, or like we want cars that are fast and safe. Innovation is about reconciling these values, rather than choosing between them; more “yes-and” as opposed to “either or”.

Public Innovation

Participatory approaches to social innovation – from user-centered design to citizen-centered policy making, to community-based research – promise better outcomes by directly involving those most affected by these social/environmental challenges. But what role can these “users” and “citizens” actually play in these change-making efforts? And what are the implications for public policy-making?

Open Government

The City of Guelph’s 2014 Open Government Action Plan (attached below) was one of the first of its kind in Canada. The Guelph Lab hosted 30 City of Guelph staff and councillors to discuss Open Government – what it means, its history, and how it has (and hasn’t) been adopted across Canadian municipalities. 

Active Citizen Project

The Active Citizen Project leverages the research and teaching resources of the University via the Guelph Lab, linking them with initiatives at the City that engage citizens in the governance of the city – from policy making to service design/delivery and budgeting.

City of Guelph Roundtables

The City of Guelph is experimenting with different methods for developing policies, programs, and services. The City asked the Guelph lab to support a series of “Roundtables”.

Learning Enhancement Fund (LEF)

Funding provided by: Office of the Provost