Pandemic Response Keynote – Smart Communities Virtual Series 2020

by | May 2, 2020

The Public Sector Network (PSN) invited me back this year to provide a keynote on our COVID-19 pandemic response for the Smart Communities Roadshow 2020 in Vancouver.  I was fortunate to get to present the keynote in person at the 2019 roadshow last year.  You can see my presentation from 2019 here: https://leodesousa.ca/smart-communities-roadshow-2019-presentation/

As you can imagine, this year things are quite different, thanks the global COVID-19 pandemic.   PSN switched the event from an face to face Roadshow to a online Virtual Series.  I originally was going to speak about our projects and learnings from 2019.  Instead, I adapted my talk to focus on the set of pandemic response actions we have undertaken since February 2020.   The City of Vancouver has made our COVID-19 pandemic response our number one priority.  I am really proud of how our City technology services team stepped up in response!  Our investments over the past number of years really paid off and allowed us to enable effective remote work for a large number of city staff. 

Adapting and Changing

As our response progressed, we made changes to our infrastructure, policies and practices.  I built a SharePoint list to track all the changes so that we had a record of what we did.  I wanted to ensure that we could review the changes with a critical eye when things shifted from response mode to stabilization.   

We made over 80 technical changes in under 5 weeks to support the virtualization of our workforce and the virtualization of our government.  No one would have imagined that we could successfully run virtual council meetings in the few weeks we had to ramp up.  In the spirit of not wasting a good crisis, we will keep over 40 of the changes implemented because they will enhance our technical capabilities and resiliency for the future.  The other half of the changes we will revert to previous settings and practices as they were really temporary measures. 

My Keynote

My talk focused on the following topics and how they supported our pandemic response:

  • Mobilizing our workforce
  • Securely adopting cloud services
  • Investing in enterprise connectivity
  • Establishing an enterprise data and analytics program

The Public Sector Network recorded my keynote talk and you can watch it here.  Heads up, the talk is about 24 minutes long: 

https://publicsectornetwork.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Leo-DeSousa-City-of-Vancouver-Smart-Communities-2020.mp4

I hope you find some value in the talk and share your comments and feedback with me.  Stay well and stay safe!

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