Challenging Myths Around Technological Innovation

Spark with Nora Young presented an interesting discussion with Patrick McCray on myths that have built up over time around the narrative of how innovation happens.  McCray argues that innovation is not always what we have been led to believe it is.

McCray wrote a longer essay on the topic which is also a fascinating read in addition to his interview on Spark.

McCray argues that “…it’s essential to understand how science and technology advances actually happen and affect the world. Because of their importance, it’s essential to reflect more critically on our collective myths about innovation.” 

A clearer understanding of what innovation is, how it is usually much more ordinary than the popular media and stories would have us believe, and how it should (and often should not) be harnessed is important for everyone facing decisions regarding the implementation of new technologies.

“The history of technological change is full of examples of roads not taken. There are many examples of seemingly illogical choices made by firms and individuals. This shouldn’t surprise us – technological change has always been a deep and multilayered process, one that unfolds in fits and starts and unevenly in time and space. It’s not like the ‘just so stories’ of pop history and Silicon Valley public relations departments.” — Patrick McCray


The Stupidity Paradox

thestupidityparadox_thepowerandpitfallsoffunctionalstupidityatworkToday on Spark with Nora Young there was an interesting conversation regarding a new book called “The Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work” by Andre Spicer, a professor of organizational behaviour at the Cass School of Business at City University of London.  The conversation with Dr. Spicer was part of Spark’s focus on innovation in the workplace.

Spicer sums up the paradox as follows: “Functional Stupidity [in organisations] is smart people sitting around doing stupid things”.

Does this definition resonate at all?  This is certainly something that public administrators should be focusing on to make sure that “functional stupidity” is not a problem in their organizations.

This could be a potentially good book for an upcoming session of Regina’s Public Policy Book Club.

Listen to Spark

Lecture on the 2016 US Election

The 2016 American Election: Is this any way for a democracy to choose a leader?

For anyone at all perplexed by the current US election, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy recorded and released the following lecture from late September.  Dr. Paul Finkelman outlines how the US electoral system works and the implications of this on the current election.

Upcoming JSGS Events


JSGS Supported Event
Public Forum on Electoral Reform

The forum will take the form of a debate between four electoral systems: (1) first-past-the-post (FPTP); (2) alternative vote (AV); (3) mixed-member proportional (MMP); (4) small district open list proportional representation (SOP).

October 20, 2016
5:30 – 7:30 pm

Click here for more information.

Please note, seating is limited so those interested in attending are encouraged to register.  The JSGS and the University of Regina’s Department of Politics and International Studies are pleased to host this event.


 JSGS Public Lecture
Canada’s Arctic Future

Presented by Michael Byers, Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law, University of British Columbia

November 4, 2016
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Click here for more information.


 JSGS Public Lecture
After the Political Storm:  Assessing the Effects of the 2016 U.S. Election

Presented by:

Daniel Béland, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Public Policy (Tier 1), Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

Cheryl Camillo, Assistant Professor, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

John Courtney, Senior Policy Fellow, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

Dale Eisler, Senior Policy Fellow, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

November 9, 2016
10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Click here for more information.


 JSGS Workshop:
The Relationship between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People

Featuring Dr. Kathleen McNutt, Executive Director, JSGS, Ron Crowe, Executive-in-Residence, JSGS and Cassandra Wajuntah, Research Affiliate, IPHRC

This one day workshop will provide an overview of the historical events and policies that have shaped the current relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.  For complete details please click here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016
9;00 am – 4:30 pm
Jubilee C, Heritage Inn
1590 Main Street North, Moose Jaw, SK

Click here for more information.


 JSGS / Brown Governance Program
Professional Director Certification Program

Why invest in governance training?

  • Governance Drives Success
  • Capacity building to expand on good governance practices
  • Better governed organizations work well across the system

Registration is available by individual modules, or for the entire program.  Click here for a detailed program overview.

Module 1: Governance and Strategy / December 1-2, 2016 | Regina, Saskatchewan
For more information, please click here.

Module 2: Governance and Resources / February 15-16, 2017 | Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
For more information, please click here.

Module 3: Governance and Risk / April 5-6, 2017 | Regina, Saskatchewan
For more information, please click here.

Module 4: Governance and People / May 25-26, 2017 | Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
For more information, please click here.


 Recorded Lecture now available!

Watch “The 2016 American Election:  Is this any way for a democracy to choose a leader?” Presented by Dr. Paul Finkelman, Ariel F. Sallows, Visiting Professor of Human Rights, University of Saskatchewan.


 JSGS in the News

Johnson Shoyama policy brief appears to back Wall’s position on carbon pricing, Peter Phillips, Regina Leader-Post, September 20, 2016.

Johnstone:  Peeing match over carbon pricing primarily political posturing, Peter Phillips, Regina Leader-Post, September 23, 2016.

Agriculture has a role to play in Sask. carbon reduction, Peter Phillips, Regina Leader-Post, October 3, 2016.

JSGS Governance Symposium

Governance Trends Symposium

October 19, 2016

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Make the most of your experience as a board member. Join us for an informative day of discussion and networking, while learning how to make better board governance decisions, and how to handle real issues being discussed around public sector board room tables right now.

Speakers include:

Ron Crowe, Executive-in-Residence, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

Ian Hanna, Senior Policy Advisor, Cabinet Planning Unit, Government of Saskatchewan

Ken Acton, Executive-in-Residence, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

Topics to be discussed are:

  •     Emerging Trends and Hot Issues in Board governance
  •     Informed Board Consensus Decision Making
  •     Truth, Reconciliation and Building Bridges
  •     Provincial Governments Expectations of Public Sector Boards

*This symposium is approved for six hours of continuing education and can contribute to the required 30 hours of continuing education in every three year period following your certification to maintain the Professional Director designation.

$895.00 per person (plus GST)

Saskatchewan Economic Outlook Conference 2016


Presented by the Saskatchewan chapter of the Canadian Association for Business Economics (CABE)

The Hotel Saskatchewan, 2125 Victoria Avenue, Regina

9:30am – 10:15am (Registration)
10:20am – 3:20pm (Conference)
Lunch Provided

Sessions & Speakers:

  1. Overview of the Saskatchewan Economy: Hale Ramsey, Ministry of Finance
  2. Big Data: The economic benefits of analytics, data and information sharing: Justin Longo, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
  3. Carbon Pricing: Case studies from British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario: Kira Judge, National director, CABE
  4. The Regina Regional Economic Outlook: David Froh, Economic Development Regina
  5. Developments in the Agriculture Sector: Ag West Bio
  6. Behavioral Economics and the “Nudge”: Jason Childs, University of Regina Economics
  7. Housing market

Registration Fee: $75 for SEA members, $110 for non-members

Registration & Payment on-line at: or visit and follow links to CABE Store, SEA Events.

If you would like to renew or obtain your membership prior to the registration, please, visit Membership page The Membership fee is $35.

See you at the conference!

I’m Right and You’re an Idiot

On Monday, October 24th the Public Policy Book Club will be meeting to discuss “I’m Right and You’re an Idiot” by James Hoggan with Grania Litwin.  This book will be sure to spur some interesting discussion!  Come out and enjoy some great food, stimulating conversation, and expand your network.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Winter Fedyk at


The most pressing environmental problem we face today is not climate change. It is pollution in the public square, where a smog of adversarial rhetoric, propaganda and polarization stifles discussion and debate, creating resistance to change and thwarting our ability to solve our collective problems.

In I’m Right and You’re an Idiot, author and David Suzuki Foundation chair James Hoggan grapples with this critical issue, conducting interviews with outstanding thinkers from the Himalaya to the House of Lords. Drawing on the wisdom of such notables as Thich Nhat Hanh, Noam Chomsky, and the Dalai Lama, his comprehensive analysis explores:


  • How trust is undermined and misinformation thrives in today’s public dialogue
  • Why facts alone fail — the manipulation of language and the silencing of dissent
  • The importance of reframing our arguments with empathy and values to create compelling narratives and spur action.

Our species’ greatest survival strategy has always been foresight and the ability to leverage our intelligence to overcome adversity. For too long now this capacity has been threatened by the sorry state of our public discourse. Focusing on proven techniques to foster more powerful and effective communication, I’m Right and You’re an Idiot will appeal to readers looking for both deep insights and practical advice.

LeadersGC : pride in the public service / fierté dans la fonction publique

English version *** La version française suit ***


We are pleased to invite you to participate in an innovative initiative delivered by dedicated federal employees, known as the Collaborators: a Twitter chat series with senior leaders on themes related to leadership and employee engagement!

Please join us on October 20th from 8pm to 9pm EDT for the next chat, featuring Sarah Paquet, Assistant Deputy Minister, Procurement Modernization Integration Team, Public Services and Procurement Canada,  for a discussion on pride in the public service.

Follow and participate in the conversation online using the hashtag #LeadersGC and learn how to embrace your future and become the leader the public service needs.

If you don’t have a Twitter account and would like to create one for this event, don’t feel intimidated, the steps are easy: head over to Twitter and just sign up. If you want to learn more about Twitter and how to use it, this Twitter guide on GCpedia is the best place to start.

Please share this within your network and department and feel free to promote the event online. For more information or questions please contact

See you all online!

Version française *** English version precedes ***


Nous avons le plaisir de vous inviter à participer à une initiative innovante proposée par des fonctionnaires dévoués, connus sous le nom des collaborateurs, qui tiendront une série de discussions sur Twitter avec des cadres supérieurs et portant sur le leadership et la mobilisation des employés!

Joignez-vous à nous le 20 octobre de 20 h à 21 h HAE pour la prochaine séance de clavardage mettant en vedette Sarah Paquet, Sous-ministre adjointe, Équipe d’intégration des activités de modernisation de l’approvisionnement, Services publics et Approvisionnement Canada , pour une discussion sur la fierté dans la fonction publique.   

Suivez la conversation en ligne et participez‑y en utilisant le mot-clic #LeadersGC et apprenez-en sur la façon de dire oui à votre avenir et de devenir le leader dont la fonction publique a besoin.

Si vous n’avez pas de compte Twitter et souhaitez en créer un pour l’événement, ne vous laissez pas intimider puisque les étapes sont faciles : allez sur Twitter et inscrivez-vous. Si vous souhaitez en apprendre davantage sur Twitter et sur la façon de l’utiliser, le Guide Twitter disponible sur GCpédia est le meilleur point de départ.

Transmettez ces renseignements aux membres de votre réseau et de votre ministère et n’hésitez pas à faire la promotion en ligne de cet événement. Pour de plus amples renseignements, ou si vous avez des questions, envoyez un courriel à

Au plaisir de vous voir en ligne!