When it comes to e-government, Greg Lusk knows that it’s a person’s desire that drives initiatives – not their education.
“The approach I take to hiring senior staff is to hire based on their capability as opposed to their specific technical expertise,” says Lusk, the executive director of government services for Nova Scotia’s Department of Transportation and Public Works. “For example, when I was looking for a director of corporate information technology, I asked, ‘What is really required to do this job well?’
“I decided that the right candidate would need good business acumen, understand the need to provide service, and have good interpersonal skills, as opposed to being a technical expert. In most cases you need someone to deal with business issues or management issues.”
Lusk says the biggest challenge he faces is in ensuring that he is solving real business issues as opposed to creating solutions simply because he can. And once he goes after a problem, he wants to be sure he is getting the root causes.
“Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at the big picture,” he said. “People will often respond to a symptom, but the problem will just manifest itself again because the underlying problem just re-emerges.”
But after working in the public sector for 24 years Lusk knows how to solve problems. One of the solutions he is most proud of is the province’s online competition bidding system which allows companies to bid on government contracts. However, even as he praises the system, Lusk wonders aloud if it is solving a business issue.
“Does bidding online serve a need or a want for those sectors that are responding?” he asks. “While we’ve run many competitions online, we have to figure out which industries fit that way of doing business.”