Blue Heron Bio
“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”  Frank Lloyd Wright
Jim Evans: the Blue Heron lead 

Jim was a public servant in Nova Scotia and Ontario for some 36 years.  During that time he was engaged in program design and service delivery implementation. This typically involved project teams developing new concepts and approaches for delivering government policy. Jim's work typically took place at the business and information technology interface.

From a business perspective he was often seen as a ‘techi’. From an information technology perspective he was looked to for ‘business requirements’. Jim thought he was an architect!

But the underlying trend through all of this was a shift in organizational focus away from each level of government undertaking program delivery in their separate ‘silos’ or ‘stovepipes’ to increasingly engaging with others in partnerships and collaborations to delivery services.

Jim developed a body of practice to advance the partnership and collaboration agenda, to address issues and opportunities beyond the capacity of traditional or “vertical” organizations, and to explore the changing role of design and architecture in the governance and evolution of “horizontal” communities. He published a number of papers on Collaboration Architecture, the platform that enables the culture of complex relationships.

Jim participated with others from public services in Canada through federal-provincial committees and internationally through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The above shifts in thinking about program and service delivery take place in the context of larger and continuing shifts in the whole policy, legislation, program design and delivery spectrum. In general, there has been a program management migration towards the policy end of the spectrum and away from the design and operation of service delivery. This has created an ‘opportunity’ for Information Technology to expand its influence away from traditional ‘business requirements’ to implementations based on more meta-level requirements. At the same time, governments have been faced with the renewal of large legacy program delivery systems. The potential vacuum between policy and technology has not helped their success.

For Jim, this has translated into a behavioural dynamic where our technologists attempt to interpret policy using traditional reference models at a time when those models are changing. Emerging (and more comprehensive) reference models then lead to systems analyst push-back because they are not familiar – as in ‘we can’t implement this’, when in fact they can – they just need new skill sets. This space needs to be occupied by architects exposed to the broader scope of community-based implementations!

Current Interests

Jim has always had an empirical and experimental bias.  But the challenge of designing viable community-based implementations is increasingly built on an evolving theoretical knowledge foundation; see Jim's reading list, there is as much social psychology as system theory in partnerships and collaborations!

Current interests include how we design scalable and extendible collaborations to address ever changing issues and opportunities; the processes for capturing and translating ever evolving end-user culture and expectations so that community governance and infrastructures can remain relevant; and how we deploy the increasingly rich set of community platforms, models, standards, services and tools that can respond to user needs faster and more cost effectively.

Jim Evans can be reached at or at 905.723.3060

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Page updated: 2023 06 07
'Blue Herons' from the D'Arcy Maynard Collection