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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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...

Predicting the Future May Be Easier Than You Think

June 27, 2016 Getting predictions wrong can be costly. It’s not just weather or loan defaults that get predicted. The intelligence community in 2002 officially concluded that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that was part of the rationale for why we went to war. They were wrong. How can similar misjudgments...

What Does It Take for People to Do the Right Thing?

June 20, 2016 A recent report for the IBM Center by a team of Northeastern University researchers, Gilbert Nyaga, Gary Young, and Russ Moran, offers a case study of what it takes to help people do the right thing. In this case, they examine efforts to effectively manage medical supplies on the front...

If You Want Government Programs to Work, Think Like a Designer

June 8, 2016 While it’s relatively new in the digital world, design thinking was actually pioneered years ago in government. For example, the Clinton-Gore Reinventing Government initiative sponsored a pilot called “Oregon Option,” where nine federal programs for child health services were combined in Oregon to increase the number of children immunized against...

After Two Decades, Agencies Finally Are Starting to Make Performance-Based Decisions

June 1, 2016 It’s taken over 20 years, but finally the pieces seem to be falling into place for the use of performance information to inform decision making. Back in 1993, reformers thought that if agencies developed strategic plans, operating plans, and measures of progress, decision makers would use the resulting information to...

The Secret to Staying Off the High-Risk List

May 18, 2016 Some say getting placed on the Government Accountability Office’s high-risk list is like the 1977 Eagles’ hit, “Hotel California,” where “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” But in fact, over a third of agency programs once placed on the list have been removed....

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