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Innovation Q&A

The Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN) is committed to providing a space for innovative ideas to flourish.  The network is informed by the police services across Canada, the National Advisory Committee (NAC), and the subcommittees to ensure the innovation accurately reflects the needs of Canadian policing.

We sat down with Chantelle Ivanski, Director of Innovation, CPKN, to discuss the role of innovation in professional development for policing in Canada.

What is an innovation department?

Innovation moves an organization forward. It requires us to stay on top of upcoming trends in the field. At CPKN we focus on four things in our innovation department: project management, problem-solving, relationship building, and research and development.

How do relationships inform the direction of your department?

Our department is largely informed by our network which consists of the National Advisory Committee (NAC), the Board of Directors, the police community, and public safety partners. The staff at CPKN are not police officers which is why it’s crucial to have quality relationships with police training experts across the country. Ultimately, we want to ensure what we’re doing is reflecting the needs of the network.

Where do the ideas for these initiatives come from?

The NAC plays a huge role in that. Every subcommittee and NAC meeting provides insight into what the policing industry in Canada needs.

You never know when a topic will be brought up that could help inform the next project we work on, so just having this designated space for our staff to connect with the police and public safety members is so invaluable.

The Innovation and Best Practices subcommittee, co-chaired by Betty Froese, Manager, Learning and Devlopment Unit, Vancouver Police Department, and Sean O’Brien, Sergeant, Toronto Police Service, provides such a critical space for discussion, brainstorming, and idea-sharing. The suggestions they’ve brought are invaluable and have helped inform the Innovation Department’s plans for the upcoming year.

Without the collaboration from these volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do the work we do.

How does an idea become a project?

Once someone brings us a suggestion – this could be from a conversation with a training unit member, brought up in a National Advisory Committee meeting, or many other ways – we launch into problem-solving mode.

We ask ourselves two important questions:

  • How does this align with our organizational priorities set forth by the Board and the NAC?
  • If this is important to the network, how can we implement it successfully?

Research and development has a large role here. It allows us to explore all angles and present a path forward.

Once we have that, it’s into project management, where we connect all the key players, create a process, and ensure the project comes to its end goal.

How does research and development inform innovation?

A big initiative for us is the development of our Research and Evaluation Framework. Two large aspects of the framework involve staying on top of research that’s being done and making sure we test the efficacy of the courses that we offer. We want to make sure that the courses we’re offering are of the best quality and meet the needs of our clients.

Why do you feel it’s important that CPKN be pursuing this innovation kind of work?

Things move so fast in today’s world. It’s important for us to remain relevant by keeping up with the latest trends and technologies. Although the department is new to CPKN, the projects we’ve been able to spearhead are not only exciting but applicable.

These projects have included looking into accessibility, improving user experience on the website and LMS, and our catalogue maintenance project.  Having a team dedicated to innovation means we are better equipped to serve the needs of the policing industry across Canada.

Where do you see the innovation department in five years?

If the past five years are any indication for what CPKN’s priorities are for the next five years, I see it thriving.

As the police and public safety landscape changes and we see new developments in technology, like advancements in Artificial Intelligence for example, I see our Innovation Department playing an important role in connecting services and organizations to work together to find a common path through it.  I see us doing this by continuing to build strong relationships that, ultimately, will uplift the organization and the policing industry as a whole.