Managing Complexity

The deficit showdown reflects a challenge of modern times: how can government – and society – deal with increased complexity? A new book may point the way.
 

New Report Explores the Use of Social Tools to Improve Interagency Collaboration

This week, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released a new report with support from the IBM Center for The Business of Government. The report, “New Tools for Collaboration: The Experience of the U.S. Intelligence Community,” is authored by Gregory Treverton, who conducted the study as an independent research effort prior to his returning to government service as Director of the National Intelligence Council. Treverton draws upon but reshapes the results of a RAND project done for the Center for the Study of Intelligence.

Starlings, Transparency, and Thad Allen

Complexity theory and complex adaptive systems are relatively new ventures in the field of public administration, but they are old hat in other academic disciplines such as physics and biology.

So what did I learn?

Managing the Social-Media Paradigm Shift: Ride the current, or be swept aside

Everyone who’s ears have been assaulted with talk of “paradigm shifts” can thank Thomas Kuhn, author of “The She Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”  I’ve often wondered why that phrase beguiles so many consultants and technology cheerleaders, and it’s a shame that it has, because in the glare of that overexposure, we may have blinded ourselves to some true paradigm shifts.

Chief Officer Central

Agencies facing increasingly challenging fiscal environments are looking for ways to make each dollar go further. The interagency councils for “chief officers” are no exception!  In fact, they found that a move toward cost efficiencies is also leading to greater collaboration.

The interagency councils were created by Congress over the past 20 years to foster cross-agency coordination, collaboration and idea sharing. The councils formed under the aegis of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)  include:

Gumby Goes to the White House

Over the years, presidents have directed agencies to streamline their administrative requirements and work together on behalf of citizens.  The last major effort was in the Clinton Administration, which met with mixed success.  President Obama has declared he will try again:  “I believe that working together, State, local, and tribal governments and Federal agencies can distinguish between rules and requirements that su

Improving Business Operations of the U.S. Department of Defense

The imperative to improve the business operations of the U.S. Department of Defense has never been greater. Secretary of Defense Gates and Deputy Secretary Lynn have clearly articulated the pressing need for reform, driving action across all business areas such as acquisition and logistics, finance, and personnel. Transforming these business processes and systems is motivated by the need to make better use of resources, improve stewardship, and provide the best support possible to the warfighters.

Obama's FY 2012 Management Initiatives

For the most part, the management section of the budget reflects a continued commitment to initiatives initially detailed in last year’s budget:

“Building a government that works smarter, better, and more efficiently to deliver results for the American people is a cornerstone of the President’s Accountable Government Initiative and a key focus of this Administration.”

Leaders Speak on Leadership and Public Service: Amb. Patrick Kennedy, Adm. Thad Allen, and Dave Wennergren

For a decade, The Business of Government Hour has brought you leading government executives who are changing the way government does business. Each week, our guests join us for an informative, insightful, and in-depth conversation about their careers, their agencies, agency accomplishments, as well as their vision of government in the 21st century.  Over last five years, we have interviewed more than 250 government executives. It is from this rich library that we have culled together their insights on important public management issues.

Using Prizes as Innovation Engines

As promised in an earlier blog post on this topic, the IBM Center now has a report, “Managing Innovation Prizes in Government,” by Luciano Kay, with the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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