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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Only Long-Term Planning Can Counter Short-Term Thinking

December 2, 2016 In 1996, Congress required the Defense Department to begin conducting quadrennial defense reviews centered on plausible future national security scenarios and to assess the effectiveness of different approaches for addressing those scenarios. These reviews, which project 15 to 20 years into the future, are conducted every four years to inform...

Your Election Day Primer for the Presidential Transition

November 8, 2016 Last March, when President Obama signed the Edward ‘Ted’ Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act into law, he set in motion a governmentwide effort to transfer power to a new administration long before today’s election. The transition teams empowered by the law are to help both the outgoing...

It Shouldn’t Take Feds 6 Years to Approve Major Infrastructure Projects

October 31, 2016 Both presidential candidates have pledged to boost spending for crumbling roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. But if permitting and review processes takes an estimated six years for major projects, what hope is there than the next administration will preside over any ribbon-cutting ceremonies for completed projects? The Obama Administration first...

How Can Government Buying Match the Best in Business?

October 18, 2016 The category management initiative, started under the leadership of former Office of Management and Budget executive Anne Rung, is expanding to help the federal government buy goods and services in a similar way leading companies operate. Category management is used by businesses and governments around the world to better manage...

Why Big Data is a Big Deal for Government Leaders

October 13, 2016 Professor Alfred Ho, at the University of Kansas, recently surveyed 65 mid-size and large cities to learn what is going on, on the frontline, with the use of big data. He found that it has made it possible to “change the time span of a decision-making cycle by allowing real-time...

How May I Help You?

September 28, 2016 This summer I mailed a bicycle to a vacation hotel. Instead of the bike, I received a note from the postman saying it was too big for the delivery truck and I would need to pick it up at the local post office. But which one? There were three in...

Is Performance Budgeting an Unnatural Act?

August 18, 2016 Performance budgeting has been a mantra of government reformers at least since the Hoover Commission in 1949. But implementation has been sporadic. Why is something that seems sensible so hard to do? A couple of recent research studies could provide some insight—and caution—in attempts to implement performance budgeting. The first...

Can Self-Managed Teams Work in Government?

August 9, 2016 Federal leaders are in a quandary about how to improve employees’ engagement on the job. But there are answers out there. Author Daniel Pink, in a 2009 best seller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, says that focusing on three job elements is the secret to improving engagement:...

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...

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