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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Fixing the Useless Federal Program Inventory

November 4, 2014 Sen. Tom Coburn is retiring in a few weeks, but leaves behind a legislative legacy of attempting to create more coherency and transparency about what the federal government does. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has long campaigned against the seeming incomprehensibility of the federal government’s many programs. He sponsored two pieces...

Is the Recovery Act a Model for the Ebola Response?

October 21, 2014 Does it take a crisis for government to work right? Earlier this week, I attended a forum sponsored by the American Society for Public Administration that looked at the successes in implementing the Recovery Act and potential lessons for public administration in the future. Little did I realize that the...

Why Isn’t Performance Information Being Used?

October 14, 2014 Champions of performance management in government are confounded. After decades of trying to integrate the use of performance information into agency decision-making, it still isn’t happening on as broad a scale as once hoped. The initial premise 20 years ago was that if performance information was made readily available, it...

Federal Student Aid: Pioneers Managing Risk

October 7, 2014 The Office of Federal Student Aid put in place the first formalized risk management framework in the federal government, starting its efforts in 2004. What does it look like? How did they do it? One former federal leader, Todd Grams, says agencies that ignore risk are actually creating risk. Not...

What Do We Really Know About Building Cross-Agency Networks?

September 29, 2014 As millennials join the workforce, they are bringing their propensity for social networking with them. As a result, network-centered approaches to doing work will likely become more prevalent. Government and nonprofits have already been pioneering the use of collaborative networks during the past two decades to solve complex societal challenges,...

So Many Risks, So Little Time

September 19, 2014 “By some estimates, taking out just nine critical electrical substations could plunge the whole nation into darkness,” says Jason Black, a researcher at Battelle Institute. This scenario, of course, keeps the leaders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission awake at night. What is their risk management strategy? Other federal agencies...

How Can Local Governments Embrace Participatory Budgeting?

September 9, 2014 The White House’s Open Government initiative encourages citizens to become more actively engaged in budget decisions in their communities. How does this work in practice? Do busy citizens actually get involved? Inspired by successful efforts in Brazil and other countries around the world, several U.S. communities have undertaken pilot efforts...

Why Government Takes Calculated Risks

September 9, 2014 Flood insurance? Bank deposit insurance? Pension guarantees? Home loan guarantees? No private sector business would take on some risks that the federal government agrees to bear on behalf of the broader society—at least not at an affordable price. So government, by nature, oftentimes puts itself at financial or reputational risk...

Risk Management: Creating Organizational Self-Defense

September 2, 2014 Why don’t agency top leaders know about significant management problems in their organizations before it is too late? Scandals seem to be more prevalent these days, ranging from seemingly dishonest reporting of telework hours at the Patent Office or veterans hospital access wait times, to the safety of CDC labs,...

Unlocking the PerformanceStat Potential

August 19, 2014 Harvard University’s Bob Behn has been working on his latest book about the “Stat” movement for more than a decade. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of The PerformanceStat Potential and told him I would read it and share my impressions with others. In his inimitable response, he just asked...

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