CSPS Digital Academy/CSPS Digital Accelerator

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Overview Build your team Choose your problem Intake Accelerator History Partners Meet our team

CSPS Digital Accelerator


The CSPS Digital Accelerator is a transformative learning experience that helps teams transition to new digital ways of working. The Accelerator provides an opportunity for established teams and their leaders to experiment with collaborative, open, human-centred and iterative ways of defining problems and prototyping solutions. Through a combination of hands-on workshops, peer learning, coaching and mentoring, participants will apply their new-found skills in design thinking, user research, prototyping, product management, and agile to address a real business problem facing their organization.


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Learning by doing

Teams get hands-on opportunities to apply new skills by designing, prototyping, and testing solutions to a real business problem relevant to their department.

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Breaking boundaries
We aim to break down boundaries - in the way we work, collaborate, learn, and innovate. The Accelerator is constantly exploring, producing, and trying out different tools, resources, workshops, and activities in order to help create more digitally capable teams in the public service.

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Changing with confidence
Modernizing requires change, and we recognize the importance of changing with confidence. If folks are first instilled with confidence, they may be more willing to embrace change and be more actively a part of creating change.

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Collaborating to succeed
Collaboration is key to successfully finding and prototyping solutions during the Accelerator. We are always exploring and testing different tools, activities, and workshops that to help facilitate collaboration.

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Designing an empowering experience

Great products and services are human-centred and designed for and with users. This applies to the Accelerator too. We design experiences with our participants in mind and support them every step of the way with coaching and mentoring, so they can have an enriching, empowering experience. We give teams the skills and tools they need to help them shift in the way they work, create, and share.

Overview of the program

Accelerator timeline for winter 2022: from January to March, there is onboarding and team building for 1 week, design discovery for 4 weeks, and prototyping for 5 weeks. The program ends with Demo Day. For 3 to 6 months after, there is aftercare.

Onboarding and team building (1 week)

  • Team building
  • Skill sessions
  • Introduction to new tools

Design Discovery (4 weeks)

  • Problem framing
  • Ideation
  • Design thinking and user research

Prototyping (5 weeks)

  • Developing and testing working prototypes with users

Aftercare (3-6 months)

  • Products progress towards beta or production
  • Access to coaches and mentors
  • Access to continuous learning

How to build your accelerator team

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Product Team

  • 5-10 people
  • Diverse & multidisciplinary
  • Product teams work on their problems full time during the Accelerator and ideally stay together once it is over
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Steering Team

  • 1 executive champion who participates part time in accelerator activities and fully supports the work of the product team
  • 2-4 other executive supporters who form a governance body and help support the work of the team through: approvals, guidance, unblocking, feedback, upward briefing, and funding.
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Corporate Partners

  • Enablers and partners who can support the product team in delivering their solution
  • Could include: corporate services, security, legal, policy, communications or other forms of expertise

The right problems for the Accelerator

An actual problem – process, service, issue, or challenge – to be improved
Doesn’t have an obvious, simple solution
Has room for exploration, space to pivot, and flexible timelines
Has a team that will continue to work on a solution once the accelerator ends
Is related to the core work of your organization – internal or external
Has a business owner open to solution ideas that go beyond the usual
Has usable and accessible data to inform exploration and solutions
Has the potential to change how people think about and do work
Has organizational support and buy-in
Has access to users to co-design, explore, and gather insights from
Can be explored and shared publicly, with a team who can work in the open
Has a manageable scope

What's not the right problem?

A pre-determined solution
A large-scale complex problem with many dependent pieces
A pre-existing project with fixed timelines and requirements
A team that will not continue working on their solution post-Accelerator
No access to users to collaborate with or be informed by
Is classified and/or cannot be shared openly with other teams or the broader public service

Intake Process

Information sessions about the Accelerator

Info session deck (English)

Info session deck (French)

September – October: Sign up to participate in the next AcceleratorAccelerator gcwiki graphic - sign up.png

Our next Accelerator begins on January 10th, 2022. Are you interested in joining us? To get started reach out to our team by email at accelerator-accelerateur@csps-efpc.gc.ca to start the conversation.

During our intake process, we’ll:

  • Arrange information sessions with your team and other stakeholders in your organization to share details about the Accelerator, what to expect, and the process
  • Support your organization as you:
    • Identify if the Accelerator is right for your organization
    • Clarify or scope the mission or problem that you’ll bring to the Accelerator with you
    • Assemble the team(s) who will participate

We’ll be confirming the list of participating teams by November 1, 2021.

November – December: Program preparationAccelerator gcwiki graphics - checklist.png

Once your team is confirmed to participate, you’ll work with us to:

  • Register your team members as Accelerator participants
  • Create a one-page summary of your Accelerator problem (what are you hoping to solve), why (is it important) and who (will be working on it)
  • Complete a participation agreement
  • Ensure your team has access to the tools and resources they’ll need to be successful

Accelerator History

In Spring 2021, CSPS welcomed its first cohort of Accelerator teams for a 13-week, completely virtual hands-on learning experience. Five teams participated, from four departments:  

  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • Department of National Defence
  • Canada School of Public Service

In this cohort, teams focused on internal-facing challenges and solutions, including new employee onboarding, simplifying procurement processes, improving internal access to data, supporting employee training and learning, and making operational decisions using data and insights.

As a team, they worked together to pinpoint their users’ needs, improve their digital skills, explore their problems from multiple angles, identify different solution options, develop prototypes and test with users. At the end of the program, the teams pitched their solutions to more than 400 public servants from across the country who participated in Demo Day.  

Interested in learning more about the teams’ solutions and experiences? Click on the links below.  

Team DND-Army – Canadian Army Digital Transformation

Team CRA – CRA Learning Zone

Team CSPS – Procurement Portal

Team DFO – Improving the Onboarding Experience  

We recently put together a testimonial video for our first cohort. Watch it here!


Thanks to our current partners for their support. If your team is interested in joining the Accelerator, please reach out to us to discuss. Participation in the Accelerator begins with a partnership. We look forward to working with you!

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Canada Revenue Agency logo

Transport Canada logo

Fisheries and Oceans Canada logo

Meet the CSPS Digital Accelerator Team

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For general inquires contact the CSPS Digital Accelerator mailbox.

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