AUTHOR ARCHIVES

John Kamensky

Senior Fellow, IBM Center for the Business of Government John M. Kamensky is a Senior Research Fellow for the IBM Center for the Business of Government. He previously served as deputy director of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government, a special assistant at the Office of Management and Budget, and as an assistant director at the Government Accountability Office. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and received a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
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Have Candid Conversations Before Bad Things Happen

July 27, 2016 A 2015 survey of federal employees found that 39 percent fear reprisals if they report violations of rules or laws. This has serious implications for their willingness to identify and report serious programmatic risks in their day-to-day jobs, and the tendency is to avoid or ignore risks. New guidance from...

When Solid Data Isn’t Enough

July 14, 2016 I’ll never forget an incident early in my career, working in the Texas legislature, when a pair of academics testified about their statistical analysis for improving the funding distribution for school bus grants to school districts across the state. They used regression analyses to demonstrate a more efficient and fairer...

Predicting the Future May Be Easier Than You Think

June 27, 2016 Getting predictions wrong can be costly. It’s not just weather or loan defaults that get predicted. The intelligence community in 2002 officially concluded that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that was part of the rationale for why we went to war. They were wrong. How can similar misjudgments...

What Does It Take for People to Do the Right Thing?

June 20, 2016 A recent report for the IBM Center by a team of Northeastern University researchers, Gilbert Nyaga, Gary Young, and Russ Moran, offers a case study of what it takes to help people do the right thing. In this case, they examine efforts to effectively manage medical supplies on the front...

If You Want Government Programs to Work, Think Like a Designer

June 8, 2016 While it’s relatively new in the digital world, design thinking was actually pioneered years ago in government. For example, the Clinton-Gore Reinventing Government initiative sponsored a pilot called “Oregon Option,” where nine federal programs for child health services were combined in Oregon to increase the number of children immunized against...

After Two Decades, Agencies Finally Are Starting to Make Performance-Based Decisions

June 1, 2016 It’s taken over 20 years, but finally the pieces seem to be falling into place for the use of performance information to inform decision making. Back in 1993, reformers thought that if agencies developed strategic plans, operating plans, and measures of progress, decision makers would use the resulting information to...

The Secret to Staying Off the High-Risk List

May 18, 2016 Some say getting placed on the Government Accountability Office’s high-risk list is like the 1977 Eagles’ hit, “Hotel California,” where “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” But in fact, over a third of agency programs once placed on the list have been removed....

You May Be Doing Customer Service All Wrong

April 15, 2016 In the current issue of Harvard Business Review, two researchers who have worked with global commercial clients over the past 25 years offer some counter-intuitive advice for improving customer service. Jochen Wirtz and Ron Kaufman said it is important to focus on deep cultural change in the workforce, not just...

How to Design Contracts that Deliver Results

April 5, 2016 The “pay for success” movement in the non-profit world is starting to take hold at the federal, state, and local levels. But a prerequisite is having some way of measuring success—and ensuring that funding models encourage it. The Urban Institute has launched a new web resource to explain various forms...

Does Performance Matter in Government?

March 29, 2016 I’m a fervent advocate of the use of performance information as an important management and decision making tool. So it’s not a natural act for me to raise this kind of question. However, several articles in a recent issue of Public Administration Review have caught my attention and challenge some...

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