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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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How Agility Is Driving Government Transformation

November 24, 2017 Government has a notoriously difficult time adapting to rapid advances in technology and the shifting expectations of citizens. But agency leaders can tap an approach from the field of software development—agile method—to improve program management and achieve better mission outcomes. Agility refers to the ability to act quickly and easily....

How Data-Driven Insight Is Transforming Government

November 15, 2017 The IBM Center recently released Seven Drivers Transforming Government, a series of essays exploring key drivers of change in government. It is based on our research and insights shared by current and former government officials. What follows is an excerpt from that report. The language around performance-related data in government...

Proponents of Evidence-Based Policy Face a Critical Challenge

November 1, 2017 The recommendations by the recent Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission are a significant step towards creating a better supply of data for researchers and policymakers. But the next step is huge—getting people to use the data. The “use of data” step is complicated by two elements: Who will use it and for...

A Ray of Hope in Government Management

October 4, 2017 The Government Accountability Office recently released its latest assessment of agencies’ progress in becoming more results oriented in their work. The assessment was less than stellar, with the understated title noting “additional actions needed to address pressing governance challenges.” But there was a ray of hope embedded in the GAO...

Wanted: Competent Management

September 13, 2017 Federal agencies are finalizing their grand reform plans and four-year strategic plans to submit to the White House Office of Management and Budget this week, but it’s worthwhile to stand back and look at whether they’re doing the basics right. A team of researchers led by Raffaella Sadun, Nicholas Bloom...

The Federal Managers Who Aren’t Afraid to Take Risks

August 24, 2017 The common perception is that, as a group, federal managers tend to be risk averse. However, new research based on data from the Office of Personnel Management’s annual federal employee viewpoint survey suggests that’s not exactly the case: Managers in both high-performing and low-performing organizations tend to be risk takers....

Funding What Works

July 18, 2017 Results for America is a leading proponent of distributing $600 billion in federal grants to recipients based on whether the grant programs work or not. It recently released a nine-point agenda recommending actions that Congress can take to make funding decisions on this basis. One of those actions is to...

10 Factors for Successfully Implementing Large Initiatives

July 6, 2017 Failed initiatives hog the headlines, but successes in government rarely see daylight. However, the federal government recently managed to quietly and successfully implement a key element of the DATA Act: It took a website of financial data from across the government live and nothing bad happened! What lessons were learned...

What the U.S. Can Learn From India’s Government Reform Efforts

June 16, 2017 I was in India recently, along with IBM Center Executive Director Dan Chenok, to participate in a forum entitled “The Business of Government: Learnings from Global Experiences,” which was co-sponsored by the IBM Center for The Business of Government along with the National Institution for Transforming India, the Federation of...

The Uncertain Future of Federal Sustainability Programs

June 1, 2017 Long-time federal employees can remember a time when they were encouraged to wear short sleeve shirts in the summer. It was the 1970s, and the energy crisis was in full swing. To conserve resources, federal buildings ran warm in the summer and cool in the winter. Space heaters were banned...