Brookings Launches Center to Improve Public Management

Leading the new center is Brookings senior fellow Elaine Kamarck. Leading the new center is Brookings senior fellow Elaine Kamarck. Flickr user thirdwaythinktank

Conjuring a sort of think tank within a think tank, the Brookings Institution on Tuesday announced the launch of its Center for Effective Public Management, “a research organization that will focus on identifying and solving political and governance challenges in 21st-century America.”

Located within the 86-year-old organization’s Governance Studies program, the center “will strive to reinvigorate the U.S. government -- along with public and private sector leadership -- to be more effective and capable,” according to the announcement.

“Working with a wide array of domestic policy experts and actors, the Center for Effective Public Management will explore current problems in the American political system and ways to improve the democratic process,” said Brookings President Strobe Talbott. “The center’s work will address the challenges the public sector faces as it tries to ensure sound performance, good governance and strong leadership in the U.S. government.”

Leading the new center is Brookings senior fellow Elaine Kamarck, a key figure in the Clinton-Gore admininstration’s reinventing government initiative who returned to Washington in January from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“Elaine is a leading expert in reimagining government and fostering actionable, smart policy ideas and reforms at the federal level,” said Darrell West, vice president and director of Governance Studies at Brookings. “Under her leadership, this new center will routinely deliver fresh thinking and policy prescriptions for what currently ails our governmental and political institutions.”

The main research areas for the center will include political party reinvention, changes to electoral and primary systems, governance and institutional reforms, federalism questions, expanding civics education and reinvigorating the media, Brookings said.

Its “Democracy Hub” will link academics and policy influencers in a new peer-to-peer network for the sharing of ideas and data. And a “FixGov” online blog will offer recommendations from Brookings scholars and outside contributors while incorporating “crowd-sourced information from the federal workforce on best practices and areas for government improvement.”

In addition, the center will showcase a “Management and Leadership Initiative” aimed at changing the behavior of the nation’s current leaders, and a “Corporate Purpose Initiative” that will use capital, research and meetings to help strengthen private-sector leadership and governance.

“With this aggressive set of activities and goals, we intend to be a vital force in transforming the United States’ most important institutions,” Kamarck said. “The Center for Effective Public Management aims to provide cutting-edge, useful research and programming to help shape domestic policy and inform U.S. policymakers in their efforts to improve our national government.”

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