IBM and Nova Scotia Partner to Open Public Sector Innovation Garage

Nova Scotia has partnered with one of the largest IT companies in the world to help enhance programs and services for citizens of the province.

The Government of Nova Scotia has announced the opening of the first innovation garage focused on the public sector in Canada, all in collaboration with IBM. The Garage, as it will be known, is based in Halifax and will help the provincial government accelerate ideas, test out new initiatives, develop IT solutions and more, all to further build the public sector for Nova Scotians.

The Garage will act as a hub and a dedicated creative space enabling a new approach to the delivery of public programs and services. IBM will offer its expertise, methodologies, tools, software and processes. Other tech partners including SAP, Microsoft and Apple will also participate.

“We are committed to developing new and better ways to meet the diverse, changing needs of the public sector and Nova Scotians,” said Patricia Arab, Minister of Internal Services. “This is not a traditional approach to innovation. The garage is a place where we can safely generate and test ideas, and explore and experiment with possible solutions.”

The new facility will be created through an extension of an existing agreement between Nova Scotia and IBM which originally proposed the creation of 500 jobs in the province through payroll rebates. IBM is reportedly ahead of schedule on the creation of those new jobs, and the extended agreement will see $5 million worth of projects flow through The Garage over the next three years.

“Our goal is to work with the Government of Nova Scotia to build innovative solutions that will deliver improved services to the people of this province,” said Claude Guay, general manager of Global Business Services at IBM Canada. “With the innovation garage, we can quickly prove new solutions leveraging artificial intelligence, analytics, blockchain, internet of things, and IBM Cloud.”

Other public sector partners are being invited to see how they can use the garage as well. The Nova Scotia Community College is already in talks to see how they can benefit from IBM’s expertise and the use of their resources.

IBM has used the “garage” method before in Canada, though not specifically targeted towards the public sector like this one in Halifax is. The company’s Cloud Garage that opened at the DMZ in Toronto in 2015 was created to accelerate the development of cloud applications by using IBM Cloud technologies with design thinking methodology and agile development capabilities.

The computing giant has been all over Canada as of late, opening an incubator in Ottawa as part of a $47 million initiative, launching an innovation space in Calgary, using their Watson technology to help a Canadian mining company and more.