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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What Does It Really Take to Get Things Done?

March 13, 2015 A recent survey of 400 global company CEOs found that executing their firm’s strategy heads their list of challenges. Related studies show two-thirds to three-quarters of large organizations struggle to implement their strategies. What these studies found sounds very familiar to what seems to occur in government, as well. I’ve...

Buried in the Budget: Ways to Rev Up Performance

March 5, 2015 The administration’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal shows that it is committed to creating capacity and sustainability for performance-and-results based government. Beyond the dollars in the president’s budget, there are some details buried in congressional justifications that are worth examining. There are three sets of initiatives—which for the most part do...

Developing Managers Versus Leaders

February 18, 2015 The distinction between management and leadership is important because they serve different roles in an organization—and they require different approaches in how they are developed. The Government Accountability Office has released its updated list of high risk areas across the federal government. It flags for attention the mission-critical skills gap...

Is Strategic Foresight an Ethical Imperative?

February 3, 2015 The late leadership guru Robert Greenleaf said it is an ethical issue if leaders fail to “make the effort at an earlier time to foresee today’s events and take the right actions when there was freedom for initiative to act.” Greenleaf’s statement is pretty strong. And most people would think...

Lessons About Government Performance From Latin America

January 23, 2015 Harvard’s Bob Behn has written about the spread of the “PerformanceStat” movement across the U.S during the past two decades. Now the creation of “Delivery Units,” which is another name for this phenomenon, has spread across the world ­– even to Latin America. Behn’s recent book on PerformanceStat says this...

Managing in the Era of ‘New Power’

January 14, 2015 In the 1990s, a new model of governance emerged: Reinventing government. This model was rooted in private sector entrepreneurial approaches and market-like incentives. A new trend, dubbed “new power,” has emerged in the 2010s. Reinventing government was organized around 10 values, such as government being catalytic, community-owned, competitive, etc. Today,...

Who Will Be the Next 'Mayor of the Pentagon'?

December 8, 2014 The selection of the next secretary of Defense is in the headlines. But there’s a new senior-level Defense Department position that will be important in the coming years, and who is appointed will matter. Years ago, career executive David O. “Doc” Cooke was informally called the “mayor of the Pentagon.”...

Who Will Be the Next 'Mayor of the Pentagon'?

December 8, 2014 The selection of the next secretary of Defense is in the headlines. But there’s a new senior-level Defense Department position that will be important in the coming years, and who is appointed will matter. Years ago, career executive David O. “Doc” Cooke was informally called the “mayor of the Pentagon.”...

Performance Data: The Next Steps in Moneyball Government

December 1, 2014 Hope springs eternal. Two recent reports, a new book and a newly introduced bill in Congress all contribute to a steady momentum toward evidence-based decision-making. The legislation, which is bipartisan and bicameral, could have some momentum in the waning days of a lame duck Congress. It would create a commission...

How Future Thinkers Can Revolutionize Strategic Planning

November 12, 2014 Can leaders in a democracy think beyond the next election? This is a key question posed by New Zealand academic Jonathan Boston, who is studying how different countries attempt to address long-term risks to society, the environment and fiscal sustainability. Visiting the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship, Boston summed...

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