Show cover of The 311 Podcast

The 311 Podcast

Host Paul Bellows explores the stories, challenges and opportunities of digital government, in conversation with the people making it happen.


09 - Power and Change with Sophia Hoosein and Jessica MacQueen
I am really excited today to be talking to Sophia Hoosein and Jessica McQueen, who are two people that I know and respect and who have agreed to come and talk to us about government organizations trying to make digital change. We're going to talk about power and how you get things done, and I'm just really excited. Thanks to Sophia and Jessica for the open and honest conversation about the actual experience of working in government. --This is a show about the people that make digital government work. If you'd like to find out more, visit We're going to keep having conversations like this. If you've got ideas of guests we should speak to, send us an email to Government is about all of us. Let's keep making a better world. This has been the 311 podcast and I'm your host, Paul Bellows.-- LinksSophia Hoosein: MacQueen:
48:28 12/14/22
08 - Interpreneurship with Miki Stricker-Talbot
This is The 311 podcast. I'm your host, Paul Bellows. This is a show about the people that make digital government work. If you'd like to find out more, visit Today, my guest is Miki Stricker-Talbot. Miki is responsible for intrepreneurship and strategic design in the citizen services branch at the city of Edmonton.You may ask what intrepreneurship is and my answer is keep listening. That's what we'll be talking about. In addition to organizational design, kindness, privilege, and generally how to make change from within an organization rather than just top down. I know that our podcast theme is on digital government and the people who are making change. And while digital isn't part of Miki's purpose in the organization, I think that the mindset she brings to making change is what's necessary for any digital worker who is feeling frustrated and like they can't do their work in the right way. Like they don't have the right supports. Miki's work has been recognized globally and Apolitical recently named her as one of the 100 most influential people in government.  If you've come across, Miki's work on UNICORNS, that's an acronym that I'll let her unpack, then perhaps you've come to understand why the way she thinks and works is so important to pay attention to. In particular with digital work, government is on the same talent hunt as the rest of the startup and software world but without the salaries and profit sharing that the private sector can sometimes offer. I think it's more and more important to think about the kind of organizations that we're creating to operate our public trusts. We need government to be the first place that passionate and talented people think about spending some or all of their career.And if we have more people like Miki in positions of influence, then maybe we can make that come true. I loved having this conversation. Miki is a colleague, but also a friend. We had to edit out a few moments where we were just having fun, but I think you'll like what we left in. I hope you enjoy the conversation.---Thanks so much for listening. If you want to learn more about Miki's work and in particular, find her now infamous blog post on unicorns or read about unlearning, we'll have links in the show notes.Government is about all of us. Let's keep making a better world. This has been the 311 podcast and I'm your host, Paul Bellows.---LinksUnicorns:
30:08 10/27/22
07 - Creating Equity with Lawrence Eta
Today my guest is Lawrence Eta, Chief Technology Officer at the City of Toronto. Toronto is the fourth largest municipality in North America, behind Mexico city, New York city, and Los Angeles. Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. And it's the home of much of Canada's media and cultural community, as well as the headquarters of Canada's five largest banks.Toronto's population is about as diverse as it gets both culturally and economically, and the city faces unique, digital challenges and opportunities. As a result, when I first spoke to Lawrence about the podcast, he was direct on his goal. He wanted to talk about equity. I love that because what I love most about digitization is the ability to remove barriers to equity seeking groups, when we make that a priority, and it's definitely a priority for Lawrence.  I love his perspectives on how to invest in a more equitable world. I do need to call out a technology fail that I had during the call. Due to an operating system upgrade, one piece of my recording software became unlicensed. You'll hear the audio quality change about 10 minutes in because I was using the software in trial mode and didn't realize until it was too late. We've done our best to fix this and keep the quality as high as possible.Technology is never perfect, and humans less so. That's why I'm glad we have people like Lawrence Eta in positions of responsibility to keep watch and ensure that everyone's interests are in balance. Here's Lawrence Eta. 
29:13 3/6/21
06 - Digital Innovation with Dominique Bohn
Today, my guest is one of Canada's most influential government technologists. Dominique Bohn is the chief officer and assistant deputy minister at the digital innovation office at the government of Alberta.Dominic has held various executive leadership roles in the government of British Columbia, as well as a director role at global IT leader CGI. Alberta's digital innovation office is a relatively new department at the government of Alberta. It reports to executive council and has been given the mandate to transform how software is created in the government with citizen needs and design leadership at the forefront, the Dio has been running exemplar projects to showcase how modern agile software development can work within a traditional government organization.And the outcomes have been transformative. We spoke in August, 2020 over a web meeting. So the odd word may drop, but there's no denying the wisdom and enthusiasm that Dominic brings to her role. I think you'll enjoy her refreshing perspective and vision. 
39:26 12/29/20
05 - City Innovate with Jay Nath
Today, my guest is one of my favorite people in gov tech. Jay Nath is the co-CEO of City Innovate. They're based in San Francisco, where Jay was the former Chief Innovation Officer for the City of San Francisco. City Innovate is a program that Jay founded during his tenure with the city, and it was time to move on, he took the program with him, and he and his colleague Comran Siddique now run cohorts of cities through their matchmaking and procurement platform. They helped cities connect with startups and innovators who might never try to navigate the traditional procurement process for selling to government. It's a program that solves real problems and creates new economic and service opportunities. I think you'll love how Jay thinks and what's important to him.  
33:56 12/1/20
03 - Open source government with Norman Mendoza
Norman Mendoza, manager of business and technology innovation at the City of Edmonton, joins Paul to share his experience with open source and open data, and how to make practical use of them within the context of a municipal government. Norman Mendoza on LinkedIn: Mendoza on Twitter:
22:59 10/26/20
04 - Upgrading the CDS with Sean Boots
Sean Boots, technical advisor at the Canadian Digital Service, joins Paul to share his experience with digital government and bringing modern tools to government workers.Sean Boots:
28:31 10/26/20
02 - Open source government with Bianca Tomazeli
Bianca Tomazeli, senior advisor for architecture, security and innovation at Ville du Montreal, joins Paul to share her experience building an open source practice and talks about collaboration, cost management, and long term support. Find out more about Montreal's open source work at:
26:10 9/2/20
01 - Governing A.I. with Ashley Casovan
Ashley Casovan, AI Global's Executive Director and former Director of Data and Digital for the Government of Canada, joins host Paul Bellows for a frank discussion on the ethics and responsibilities of governments using Artificial Intelligence technology, and the many uses to which A.I. can be put.Government of Canada's Algorithmic Impact Assesment Casovan on Twitter:@ashleycasovanAI Global
24:30 7/20/20