We Are All Innovators – Interns Attend CGA Conference

Being an OLIP intern means you get invited to lots of sweet events that you don’t really belong at. The good news is, if you walk around with enough confidence, people assume you are actually supposed to be there and want to talk to you! We have also discovered that people like interns, so we can walk up to famous people and ask them to take a photo with us without feeling like political groupies. One such recent event was the annual professional development CGA conference on Thursday, November 8, morning.  Amanda Lang, from CBC’s The Lang & O’Leary Exchange, was the keynote speaker and she was one of our many photo victims in this internship.

In her address, Amanda Lang talked about how each of us is an innovator, but most of us don’t think of ourselves in that way. We all make little alterations to our daily routine and activities to find a better way of doing things. For example, she claims to have perfected the art of making a grilled cheese sandwich in record time. Similarly, I think I’ve perfected my granola bar recipe. But it’s not just about adding chocolate chips and coconut. It’s about questioning a process and finding a new and better way to do something. And if you try something and it doesn’t work, that’s OK. You’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette, so instead of being a bad thing, failure is a normal and healthy step in the innovative process. You may have some pretty crazy ideas, but out of all your crazy ideas, there is bound to be a few good ones. And we can take this innovative spirit into our work places in order to engage with our work and really contribute to our team.

She also talked about how government needs to innovate, but it seems especially difficult in the public sector. Perhaps politicians are afraid of failure because the public isn’t very forgiving about mistakes being made with public resources. I’m not sure how to change an organizational culture towards fostering innovation, but Amanda Lang says this is something we can all do on an individual level. It has to come from the top, but it also has to come from within. After hearing her speak, I was inspired to ask more questions and to listen to my own ideas, even when they seem pretty whack. Thanks so much to our sponsors, the CGAs of Ontario, and a special thank you to Puneet Luthra again for greeting us so early and showing us around the conference! It was delightful!

On Friday afternoon, we met with Mathieu Blandford from the British Consulate General to start planning our trip to London in June. We’re all really psyched about it! Unfortunately we won’t be able to meet with any members of the royal family, but Mathieu is going to help us set up some really interesting meetings.

I’ve also had such a good week in MPP Lisa Thompson’s office! I joined Lisa and Ashley at the APPrO conference on Tuesday where Tim Hudak was speaking about energy policy. I’ve also been busy helping to organize events and helping Ashley with communications stuff. I’ve also recently made my first trip to Huron-Bruce, which was really exciting! I had the opportunity to visit Lisa’s farm in Teeswater, attend a Remembrance Day event at the Lucknow Legion, and finally a Remembrance Day Ceremony on Sunday morning in Exeter. The riding is terrific and the visit was so good, I can’t wait to go back!

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