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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Democracy Reinvented

Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America

Hollie Russon Gilman

Participatory Budgeting—the experiment in democracy that could redefine how public budgets are decided in the United States.

Democracy Reinvented is the first comprehensive academic treatment of participatory budgeting in the United States, situating it within a broader trend of civic technology and innovation. This global phenomenon, which has been called "revolutionary civics in action" by the New York Times, started in Brazil in 1989 but came to America only in 2009. Participatory budgeting empowers citizens to identify community needs, work with elected officials to craft budget proposals, and vote on how to spend public funds.

Democracy Reinvented places participatory budgeting within the larger discussion of the health of U.S. democracy and focuses on the enabling political and institutional conditions. Author and former White House policy adviser Hollie Russon Gilman presents theoretical insights, indepth case studies, and interviews to offer a compelling alternative to the current citizen disaffection and mistrust of government. She offers policy recommendations on how to tap online tools and other technological and civic innovations to promote more inclusive governance.

While most literature tends to focus on institutional changes without solutions, this book suggests practical ways to empower citizens to become change agents. Democracy Reinvented also includes a discussion on the challenges and opportunities that come with using digital tools to re-engage citizens in governance.

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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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Ports in a Storm

Public Management in a Turbulent World

edited by John D. Donahue and Mark H. Moore

In Ports in a Storm a team of Harvard Kennedy School scholars focus diverse conceptual lenses on a single high-stakes management task —enhancing port security across the United States. Their aims are two: to understand how a public manager might confront that complex undertaking, and to explore the similarities, differences, and complementarities of their alternative approaches to public management.

The book takes as its pivot point the singular case of U.S. Coast Guard Captain Suzanne Englebert and her leadership of efforts to secure America's ports after the September 11 attacks. The Coast Guard had always been responsible for securing America's ports and coastline. But now it was tasked with safeguarding these critical, complex, and vulnerable assets during a time of war, a job it clearly could not handle alone.

Ports in a Storm considers the monumental challenge of driving rapid change in a complex system involving hundreds of private organizations and scores of government agencies with their operations intricately intertwined. The book examines Englebert's actions from varied conceptual vantage points, sometimes critiquing questionable calls but more often celebrating her initiative, creativity, persistence, and skill.

The authors use the Coast Guard episode as a testing ground for the eclectic intellectual constructs they have been developing to guide public managers. Instead of starting with theory and searching for examples that fit, they begin with the concrete and then harness scholarship to the service of better practice. And rather than mimic management principles from the business world, they tailor their approach to the very different challenges of managing in a public sector context. The volume allows readers in both the scholarly and practical worlds to see how the theories measure up.

Contributors, including the two volume editors, are Robert D. Behn, John D. Donahue, Archon Fung, Stephen Goldsmith, Elaine Kamarck, Herman B. Leonard, Mark H. Moore, Malcolm K. Sparrow, Pamela Varley, and Richard Zeckhauser.

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