Derek Alton

Team Lead - International Projects, Communications and Engagement

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Hi, my name is Derek Alton. I am a passionate advocate for open sourcing government, that is, take the process of governance and move it from the backrooms and into the open. This is both a technical challenge (building a digital public square through weaving together open source platforms) and cultural shift (getting public servants to co-create in the open, and getting citizens to see themselves as an active part of government). To do this work I sit at the intersection of the open government (policy) and digital government (tech) movements.

I have spent the last 13 years studying and exploring how to build better governments that can build better societies. Academically, this has meant studying how change happens in both individuals (behavioural economics and nudge theory) and systems (social innovation, social movements and systems thinking).

Professionally, I started out in grassroots organizing and community engagement (being part of two nation public consultation projects) before moving into digital transformation. I have been fortunate to have spent the last five years on the front lines of digital transformation for the Government of Canada. Through these experiences I have been able to test different theories of change from the maverick team working on shadow systems to central government strategies. I have been most interested in cross jurisdictional collaboration which has been one of my primary roles in the last couple years. I have spent the last year helping develop and implement an ecosystem building strategy for Digital Trust (digital identity, credentials and wallets) in Canada and am now looking to connect teams doing this work around the world.

Outside of work, I am a serial entrepreneur for social change, helping found Civic Tech Ottawa and the Canadian Open Data Society. More generally, I focus on helping grow social movements, by convening and developing networks domestically and globally including an international network for practitioners in digital government.


FWD50 Extras: Designing a digital future

21/10/2021 06.00 - 07.00

Pre-conference WorkshopOnlinePresentation

Between a pandemic that has changed our world forever, and with the emergence of Web 3.0, our relationship to technology is going through a seismic shift as it becomes ubiquitous to our lives. How is this changing the way we are envisioning our relationship with their governments? Join us as we sit down with the people who are designing this new future to understand where they think we are going... read more