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A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Want Innovation? 10 Tips for Senior Leaders

  1. You rely on your staff to do the work for you. Let them. Don't micromanage their work. Don't act like you know their job better than they do. Make a decision. Make a phone call on their behalf. Make things work in their favor, make the system work for them. Give them ground cover with the higher-ups. Make it possible for staff to wildly succeed, just because of you.
  2. Do not take credit for staff work. Ever. When someone says to you, "That XYZ initiative sure took off like a shot," respond back to them, "It was Jane Doe's idea, isn't she marvelous?"
  3. Speaking of ideas: When someone comes to you and says, "I have an idea," immediately say, "Go for it!" Even if you have to do it as a modified pilot with no funds, undertaken on 10 percent training time. 
  4. Here is what you should not say when someone has an idea: "That's a great idea, but it will never work. Thanks so very much for trying." Please do not ever use the word "impossible."
  5. If you asked for advanced education and experience in the job announcement, draw on it. Why are you...

Achieving Joined-Up Government

  • By Peter Williams, Jan Gravesen and Trinette Brownhill
  • November 24, 2015
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This article is the second in a series that examines case studies and model architecture for GaaP (government-as-a-platform).

Technology, connectivity and applications that are noninvasive to existing systems, yet are able to share data and build citizen engagement, offer new ways of delivering government services. The concept, called joined-up government, originated with the Tony Blair administration in the U.K. in the 1990s and has remained an important part of public sector reform.

Joined-up government is based on the view that public policy goals cannot be met through the separate activities of existing organizations, nor can they be delivered by grouping several departments under a common agency. The idea is to align agency activities with particular goals, coordinating activities across organizational boundaries without removing the boundaries themselves. These boundaries may cross between departments, sectors, or government and citizens. To join up, initiatives must align organizations with different cultures, incentives, management systems and aims, and they must align governments to citizens and their needs. The keys are sharing and coordination of information across boundaries to integrate policies and activities.

All governments attempt to join up to some extent or another. Just as the functional separation of agencies is necessary to manage...

Most of the U.S. Job Hunting Takes Place Online Now. That's a Problem For Many.

In the US, the internet has become a job seeker’s most important resource.

People are researching, finding, and applying to jobs online with relative ease. A Pew Research Center report released Thursday (Nov. 19) shows most American adults who have looked for a job in the last two years turned to online resources more than they used personal and professional connections, employment agencies, ads, or job fairs—the traditional avenues of a career hunt. A third of respondents used social media to either research or look for a job.

Relocating job hunting to the internet is an obvious outcome, as it expands access and opportunity. But it’s fairly troubling for a significant portion of the American population. That group—while a minority—includes older adults who are less familiar with online platforms than their younger counterparts, as well as people with lower levels of education; it also includes a disproportionately high number of black and Hispanic adults, who tend to use the internet less than whites or Asians.

According to the Pew report, 17% of US job seekers would not find it easy to create a digital resume if they needed to do so. Another 21% say they...

Should Computers Decide Who Gets Hired?

Anyone who has ever looked for a job knows that sometimes connections can trump qualifications. That’s why networking—despite its awkwardness— has become such a highly touted skill. Knowing someone who knows someone could mean finding out about a job before it’s publicly posted, or better yet, finding someone who can put in a good word or review an application himself. Many people hate this, because it is perceived to be unfair. But do these personal and subjective assessments ultimately result in better hiring? 

new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research says quite the opposite: Relying on a “feel” for a candidate—as opposed to objective qualifications—makes managers’ hiring decisions worse.

The paper’s authors, Mitchell Hoffman of the University of Toronto, Lisa B. Kahn of Yale, and Danielle Li of Harvard, say that, at least in theory, there are two ways that managerial discretion could go. It could be better: These decision-makers are privy to better, more comprehensive information about job candidates than tests and resumes can provide, thus they wind up hiring people who stick around longer and perform at a higher level. Or, it could be worse, with managers instead injecting...

Going Beyond Jack of All Trades

The White House-driven category management initiative offers important new opportunities for procurement professionals.

For the first time, for example, they have a chance to specialize in and master specific categories of spending, in addition to being jack-of-all-trade buyers. Category management of more than $270 billion in annual spending on commonly purchased goods and services requires skills not yet gathered in any existing federal position description, nor taught in federal procurement training institutions.

More than ever, the procurement corps has an opportunity to deepen its relationship with the programs accomplishing the true business of government — its missions. More than ever, government buyers are expected to deeply understand their markets and suppliers.

The category team structure — the central organizing principle for the 10 types of common governmentwide purchases — opens an array of potential new positions for team members in:

  • Professional services
  • Information technology
  • Facilities and construction
  • Security and protection
  • Industrial products and services
  • Office management
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Travel and lodging
  • Human capital
  • Medical services

Within those fields there are 49 subcategories governed by Level 2 category team leaders. Commodity teams will carry out the strategic plan of each Level 2 team through demand management, strategic sourcing, supplier relationship management and total...