Brookings Institution Press

Brookings / Ash Center Series, "Innovative Governance in the 21st Century"

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Brookings / Ash Center Series, "Innovative Governance in the 21st Century"

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Dealing with Dysfunction

Innovative Problem Solving in the Public Sector

Jorrit de Jong

Congressional impasse, financially untenable social programs, and fiscal crises are hallmarks of bureaucratic dysfunction today. Jorrit de Jong explains that bureaucratic dysfunction reflects a breach of contract between the government—not only as a provider of services, but also as a catalyst for improved social outcomes—and a public comprised of clients, professionals, managers, and policymakers. Dealing with Dysfunction embarks on a conceptual, theoretical, and empirical investigation to understand why bureaucratic dysfunction is a public problem and what can be done to solve it. Jorrit employs real-world data from the Kafka Brigade, a research team he founded. Building on this research, he presents fourteen case studies that provide typical examples of larger problems applicable to a broad base of clients to illustrate how stakeholders can enact an inclusive process for identifying, defining, diagnosing, and remedying incidences of red tape. Dealing with Dysfunction highlights the failings of standard approaches to solving institutional dilemmas and offers conceptual frameworks, theoretical insights, and practical lessons for dealing with bureaucratic dysfunction in practice. It challenges conventional approaches of “fighting bureaucracy” and “reducing red tape” and emphasizes rigorous public problemsolving for making government more effective, efficient, and equitable.

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The PerformanceStat Potential

A Leadership Strategy for Producing Results

Robert D. Behn

It started two decades ago with CompStat in the New York City Police Department, and quickly jumped to police agencies across the U.S. and other nations. It was adapted by Baltimore, which created CitiStat—the first application of this leadership strategy to an entire jurisdiction. Today, governments at all levels employ PerformanceStat: a focused effort by public executives to exploit the power of purpose and motivation, responsibility and discretion, data and meetings, analysis and learning, feedback and follow-up—all to improve government's performance.

Here, Harvard leadership and management guru Robert Behn analyzes the leadership behaviors at the core of PerformanceStat to identify how they work to produce results. He examines how the leaders of a variety of public organizations employ the strategy—the way the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services uses its DPSSTATS to promote economic independence, how the City of New Orleans uses its BlightStat to eradicate blight in city neighborhoods, and what the Federal Emergency Management Agency does with its FEMAStat to ensure that the lessons from each crisis response, recovery, and mitigation are applied in the future. How best to harness the strategy's full capacity? The PerformanceStat Potential explains all.

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The Persistence of Innovation in Government

Sandford F. Borins

Sandford Borins addresses the enduring significance of innovation in government as practiced by public servants, analyzed by scholars, discussed by media, documented by awards, and experienced by the public. In The Persistence of Innovation in Government, he maps the changing landscape of American public sector innovation in the twenty-first century, largely by addressing three key questions:

• Who innovates?

• When, why, and how do they do it?

• What are the persistent obstacles and the proven methods for overcoming them?

Probing both the process and the content of innovation in the public sector, Borins identifies major shifts and important continuities. His examination of public innovation combines several elements: his analysis of the Harvard Kennedy School's Innovations in American Government Awards program; significant new research on government performance; and a fresh look at the findings of his earlier, highly praised book Innovating with Integrity: How Local Heroes Are Transforming American Government. He also offers a thematic survey of the field's burgeoning literature, with a particular focus on international comparison.

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