Blogue de Lyne Robichaud

29 août 2011

Culture change and the voice of Quebec

These past twenty days, I did not blog. I'm quieter than usual (I even lost one Klout point these past three weeks). The rejection of the Open Government and Francophonie Project by IDÉtr, and their refusal to meet me in person, have considerably shaken me.

Several things have caught my attention during the week of August 22. I share them with you here.

I noticed a small gesture from the @GautrinWeb2 team, which I interpret (THIS IS AN HYPOTHESIS) as an incipient culture change, allowing a glimpse of hope that the government of Quebec walks towards collaboration with citizens and open government. Let's hope the government will soon find a solution that will allow to launch the Open Government and Francophonie Project.

This week, we were informed of the departure of a great politician, leaving a void in the Canadian political landscape. "Working for change can actually bring about change. The hope is better than fear. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." Jack Layton, Leader of the Official Opposition in Canada, wrote this farewell letter two days before his death.

This letter has moved thousands of people, including myself. It will remain engraved in Canadians' hearts. I found out about Jack Layton's death on Monday morning, when surfing on my iPhone, returning from a meeting with MP of Maskinongé. Jack Layton's funerals were celebrated on Saturday afternoon (August 27) at Roy Thomson Hall, a concert hall in Toronto (Ontario).

I still try to receive support from government of Quebec's high authorities regarding the Open Government and Francophonie Project, despite an adverse decision from Innovation and Business Development of the City of Trois-Rivières (IDÉtr). I requested a review of their decision, and IDÉtr's CEO wanted to receive advice from MP of Trois-Rivieres. Danielle St-Amand transferred my file on August 16 to MP Jean-Paul Diamond, deputy of Maskinongé. Since IDÉtr and MP of Trois-Rivières did not agree to meet me in person (IDÉtr took a decision without even questioning me and allowing me to discuss the project), I was really glad that Jean-Paul Diamond agreed to me speak to me in person on August 22.

My goal, when meeting with MP of Maskinongé, was to find solutions to allow the launch an international project that will deploy open government throughout the Francophonie.

Mr. Diamond said he is willing to deal with these issues.

I hope that Mr. Diamond will soon form a kind of tandem with the Deputy House Leader of the Government of Quebec, Henri-François Gautrin, since he's responsible for the current mandate analysis on the potential of Web 2.0. The final report of this analysis is due on December 15, 2011.

The Open Government and Francophonie Project was presented seven months ago to the government of Quebec, in February 2011. There are four months remaining before Henri-François Gautrin's final report to be revealed. How to accommodate the launch of the international social business initiative before the end of the year, without an official open government declaration from the government?

For now, no solution has yet been proposed, but I'd like to acknowledge the efforts of Diamond / Gautrin: they are trying to find a way.

As months go by and I await a commitment from the government of Quebec (since the beginning of this year), Christie Clark had time to be elected as head the government of British Columbia, declared her intention to become the most connected Prime Minister in Canada, declared the implementation of an open government, (among others) launched the first provincial open data platform starting with an impressive number of data sets (in July 2011), and produce this remarkable video about her open government vision (

This week, the experienced @fusedlogic interviewed Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government at the show Gov2TV. The host of this show is Walter Schwabe. He travels around the world to find out how the government is using online technology and the Internet to become more transparent, efficient and responsive.

The open government editor of O'Reilly Media, Alex Howard alias @digiphile tweeted this statement from the Minister Cadieux: "To tackle problems, we need to engage the hearts, the souls, the minds of the smartest people" - View @digiphile's post:

With this statement, I think that British Colombia (HYPOTHESIS) is experimenting with a style of soul of leadership, appropriate in an open government context. BC begins to decode the alchemy of the heart and great leadership.

Real leadership begins at the spiritual level. It is not about popularity, power or accumulation of profits, but rather about succeeding in getting the ego out of the away so that people that make up an organization can serve the greater good. Does a woman minister, and in addition a person in a wheelchair, have more awareness and opportunity to exercise such leadership?

A car accident at the age of 18 years changed the course of her life. "I have all the same dreams, all the same heartaches… I just use a different mode of transportation," she said. Her different mode of transportation may have helped Stephanie Cadieux to develop her brain to think otherwise, which could explain how she is able to consider leading in a different way.

"In our increasingly interconnected world, we learned that neither the government nor the private sector alone can find solutions to problems. We must work in partnership and we must "deal with the soul" to achieve our common goals," explains Deepak Chopra in his recent book.

This statement by the Minister Cadieux contrasts with the answer I received from IDÉtr. I was told that I am "too good". This would be one reason for the rejection of my project.

On August 23, I attended in Three Rivers (Trois-Rivières) the first citizen meeting organized by the Parti Québécois. Ms. Pauline Marois, Opposition Leader, said she wants to "restore integrity in government, make a cleaning in government institutions which should give confidence back to citizens, and eliminate bureaucracy and duplication of structures." All this could be achieved through an open government. I asked Ms. Marois to go a notch further in her vision, by adopting the open government philosophy. She said that "these issues should not be neglected, but it will take a revolution." Parti Quebecois could be on its way to develop an open government approach and hopefully this will lead to interventions by MP members of the opposition at the National Assembly this Fall, in line with the mandate analysis about the potential of Web 2.0.

Visit, comment, suggest ideas and vote for ideas on this platform:

Is the wind changing? There is reason to believe it is.

Firstly, I was granted a meeting. The MP of Maskinongé agreed to meet me on August 22, and said he agrees to tackle with these issues. A window of collaboration may be opening.

Secondly, Gautrin's team begins to recognize citizens' initiatives. In the late afternoon on Friday August 26, @GautrinWeb2 team tweeted this to @CapitaleOuverte: "Congratulations for your initiative and your commitment!"
(!/GautrinWeb2/status/10714 6160023670784)

I read these congratulations as a mark of recognition of "grass-roots movement" efforts by citizens in order for the City of Quebec to release its public data. This could be also read as a step towards the "complete change of thinking", which is necessary for the implementation of an open government, stressed Henri-François Gautrin, in an August 9 CBC report about his mandate analysis.

In an info monitoring mode, to listen means strive to go beyond expectations to create an environment conducive to development. Simply gather ideas on the platform for consultation, it is not enough. Citizens stress it since the beginning of Gautrin's online public consultation in their comments and tweets.

A demonstration of recognition is an excellent starting point.

Those who follow with interest the work of the Gautrin's team hope that a strategy, action plan, or elements of vision, will be disclosed before December 15. Something - some hope - to hold on, allowing a glimpse into what feeds Henri-François Gautrin's vision.

The "voice" of an organization is indicative of its culture. Organizational culture, in the field of organizational studies and management, is described as the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and cultural values) of an organization. Organizational culture is defined also as "the specific collection of values and norms shared by people and groups in an organization which control how they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization."

Please note that this definition focuses on how people interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization. The interaction between people is largely facilitated by communications. Communications result in attitudes, actions and tone of conversations. Today, attitudes, gestures and tone of the conversations have become "open source", empowered by the power of social media.

People (government employees, citizens) are the power of any organization. Unless invested with individual empowerment, these people feel... powerless.

United around a cause, a mission or a common goal, people can and will do things out of the ordinary. Uncommon things - such as overcoming the impossible, explore the unexpected, walk out of a frame which is not planned - innovation occurs alongside these rare situations.

I believe that more communication would be the greatest good to everyone, in terms of the GautrinWeb2 project. I suggested three simple areas to develop to M. Gautrin this week.

Premier Jean Charest has initiated a process in October 2010, by offering an analytical term to Henri-François Gautrin. The Prime Minister is directly responsible for youth issues. Frequent communication by the end of the year would be desirable.

If government leaders cannot initially change their own culture (or in the words of Henri-François Gautrin, establish a "complete change of thinking"), they will fail to tap into the "open source" culture of social media. Attempt to do so, without first changing their own culture, is a path to failure.

Therefore, tangible demonstrations of cultural change are desirable now.

In addition, the "voice" of Quebec must assert itself in the coming months, including:
- The mobilization of citizens to participate in the analysis on the potential of Web 2.0 and collaborate with the government;
- The mobilization of its own governmental institutions and the mobilization of Quebec municipalities to engage in a process leading to the release of public data and adoption of open governance throughout Quebec;
- To collaborate and partner with other governments already engaged in this direction in the Canadian space;
- Mobilization of countries sharing the French language by offering to adopt open government principles as a preferred mode of governance (through the Open Government Project and Francophonie);
- To create partnerships with other governments around the world, including developing a Francophone complementary component to the Open Government Partnership.


September 8, 2011

On September 1st, 2011, the Deputy of Maskinongé, Jean-Paul Diamond, said: 'There are no solutions. There is nothing at the Government of Quebec that allows for the startup of this project'.

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