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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12 Tips for Designing an Open-Ended Project

August 6, 2014 How do you tackle a large-scale, complex challenge that evolves over time, involves thousands of stakeholders, and where there is no clear solution? For example, is there a road map for how the Internet evolved? Could we do it again? IBM Center author David Witzel examines the evolution of the...

You Don’t Have to Be a Whiz Kid to Use Performance Metrics

August 6, 2014 The Urban Institute’s Harry Hatry is one of the pioneers of the late 20th century performance measurement movement. He has just released a new guide on transforming performance measurement that sums up his best practical advice in one place. Harry Hatry is legendary. His indefatigable commitment to measuring government performance...

Priority Goal Leaders: Is the Concept Working?

August 1, 2014 I’ve been getting calls from reporters asking whether President Obama is interested in government management. The answer is yes. A management innovation he introduced in the early days of his administration is finally taking off. Sometimes it takes a few years to find out if a management innovation works. Early...

Assessing Trust in Cross-Agency Networks

July 18, 2014 “Trust but verify” was President Reagan’s mantra during the Cold War. Today, trust is a key element to creating effective cross-agency networks to get things done. But what, exactly, is trust, and how do you know what to look for? Addressing public management challenges increasingly requires collaborative networks across a...

Check Out the First Progress Reports on Agency Priority Goals

July 7, 2014 In 2009, the Obama administration directed agencies to identify a handful of priorities that they would commit to achieving in a two-year timeframe. This initiative was embedded into the 2010 GPRA Modernization Act. Agencies are required to identify priority goals and report on their progress quarterly. In late June, agency...

Innovation Is a Team Sport

June 20, 2014 Successful inventions often spring from the minds of individual inventors—we often think of Thomas Edison as the classic example. But innovation is a team sport, according to a new Harvard Business Review article by a team of researchers—Linda Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Kent Lineback. The researchers set out...

Can We Create a High Quality Government?

June 16, 2014 Good government observers, such Don Kettl at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, have written succinctly about some of the management challenges of the Obama administration. Kettl asks: “Why has the Obama administration struggled so much with performance management? A big part of the answer is the gulf...

Spotting Top Executive Talent

June 3, 2014 A veteran corporate executive search recruiter says experience and competencies aren’t as important as potential when hiring or promoting people to the top job. How would this approach play when picking leaders to head government agencies? Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a veteran corporate executive search recruiter, shares his approach for talent spotting...

What Happens When the Senior Scientists and Engineers Retire?

May 28, 2014 More than two-thirds of NASA employees are scientists and engineers, many of whom are nearing retirement. In fact, NASA has one of the oldest workforces in the federal government. So what’s the plan for recruiting new scientific, engineering and medical leadership talent? Gina Scott Ligon, along with her University of...

4 Ways to Embed Quality Into Your Agency's Culture

May 20, 2014 Total quality management was all the rage in the federal government in the late 1980s and early 1990s before it faded. The emphasis on quality has never really died out in private industry, however, largely because companies quantify its benefits for business. A recent study concludes: “A company with a...

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