Journal Articles & Occasional Papers  
Improving the Local Landscape for Innovation (Part 3): Assessment and Implementation  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1066 , AshArticle,
Gigi Georges, Tim Glynn-Burke, and Andrea McGrath, November 2013 In this third paper in the Improving the Local Landscape miniseries, the authors focus on implementation and assessment. They introduce an assessment tool that includes objectives, key questions, and sample indicators in support of the nine components of the framework. The authors conduct a conceptual test of the framework and assessment tool using the 2012 Innovations in American Government Award winner the Center for Economic Opportunity in New York City. The Improving the Local Landscape series explores emerging strategies to strengthen the civic, institutional, and political building blocks that are critical to developing novel solutions to public problems. More»

Gigi Georges, Tim Glynn-Burke, and Andrea McGrath, November 2013

In this third paper in the Improving the Local Landscape miniseries, the authors focus on implementation and assessment. They introduce an assessment tool that includes objectives, key questions, and sample indicators in support of the nine components of the framework. The authors conduct a conceptual test of the framework and assessment tool using the 2012 Innovations in American Government Award winner the Center for Economic Opportunity in New York City. The Improving the Local Landscape series explores emerging strategies to strengthen the civic, institutional, and political building blocks that are critical to developing novel solutions to public problems. More»

Improving the Local Landscape (Part 2): Framework for an Innovative Jurisdiction  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1090 , AshArticle,
Gigi Georges, Tim Glynn-Burke, and Andrea McGrath, June 2013In this second paper in the Improving the Local Landscape miniseries, the authors introduce a framework for driving local innovation, which includes a set of strategies and practices developed from the Ash Center’s recent work on social innovation, new first-person accounts, in-depth interviews, practitioner surveys, and relevant literature. The authors explore the roots and composition of the core strategies within their framework and provide evidence of its relevance and utility. The Improving the Local Landscape series explores emerging strategies to strengthen the civic, institutional, and political building blocks that are critical to developing novel solutions to public problems. More»

Gigi Georges, Tim Glynn-Burke, and Andrea McGrath, June 2013

In this second paper in the Improving the Local Landscape miniseries, the authors introduce a framework for driving local innovation, which includes a set of strategies and practices developed from the Ash Center’s recent work on social innovation, new first-person accounts, in-depth interviews, practitioner surveys, and relevant literature. The authors explore the roots and composition of the core strategies within their framework and provide evidence of its relevance and utility. The Improving the Local Landscape series explores emerging strategies to strengthen the civic, institutional, and political building blocks that are critical to developing novel solutions to public problems. More»

Improving the Local Landscape for Innovation (Part 1): Mechanics, Partners, and Clusters  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1257 , AshArticle,
Gigi Georges, Tim Glynn-Burke, and Andrea McGrath, June 2013This paper is the first in a miniseries that explores emerging strategies to strengthen the civic, institutional, and political building blocks that are critical to developing novel solutions to public problems — what the authors call the “innovation landscape.” The miniseries builds on past research addressing social innovation and on The Power of Social Innovation (2010) by HKS Professor Stephen Goldsmith. In this first paper, the authors introduce readers to the nature of the work by highlighting current efforts to drive innovation in Boston, Denver, and New York City. They also orient the miniseries within the robust discourse on government innovation. More»

Gigi Georges, Tim Glynn-Burke, and Andrea McGrath, June 2013

This paper is the first in a miniseries that explores emerging strategies to strengthen the civic, institutional, and political building blocks that are critical to developing novel solutions to public problems — what the authors call the “innovation landscape.” The miniseries builds on past research addressing social innovation and on The Power of Social Innovation (2010) by HKS Professor Stephen Goldsmith. In this first paper, the authors introduce readers to the nature of the work by highlighting current efforts to drive innovation in Boston, Denver, and New York City. They also orient the miniseries within the robust discourse on government innovation. More»

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen: Modeling the Selection Process for the Innovations in American Government Awards  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 844 , AshArticle,
Standford Borins and Richard Walker, December 2012The adoption of new services and practices is widespread in public organizations as they respond to demands in the external environment and internal aspirations. In order to recognize these activities and disseminate good practices, awards programs have proliferated around the globe. Given the limited empirical analysis of the characteristics of innovation award winners, this article examines the 2010 Innovations in American Government Awards (IAGA) program. More»

Standford Borins and Richard Walker, December 2012

The adoption of new services and practices is widespread in public organizations as they respond to demands in the external environment and internal aspirations. In order to recognize these activities and disseminate good practices, awards programs have proliferated around the globe. Given the limited empirical analysis of the characteristics of innovation award winners, this article examines the 2010 Innovations in American Government Awards (IAGA) program. More»

Leading in Crises: Observations on the Political and Decision-Making Dimensions of Response  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1150 , AshArticle,
Herman B. “Dutch” Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt - August 2012Emergency response organizations must deal with both “routine emergencies” (dangerous events, perhaps extremely severe, that are routine because they can be anticipated and prepared for) and “true crises” (which, because of significant novelty, cannot be dealt with exclusively by pre-determined emergency plans and capabilities). These types of emergencies therefore require emergency response organizations to adopt very different leadership strategies, if they are effectively to cope with the differential demands of these events. This paper develops ideas about leadership under crisis conditions, concentrating on the political leadership and decision making functions that are thrust to the center of concern during such crisis events. More»

Herman B. “Dutch” Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt - August 2012

Emergency response organizations must deal with both “routine emergencies” (dangerous events, perhaps extremely severe, that are routine because they can be anticipated and prepared for) and “true crises” (which, because of significant novelty, cannot be dealt with exclusively by pre-determined emergency plans and capabilities). These types of emergencies therefore require emergency response organizations to adopt very different leadership strategies, if they are effectively to cope with the differential demands of these events. This paper develops ideas about leadership under crisis conditions, concentrating on the political leadership and decision making functions that are thrust to the center of concern during such crisis events. More»

Working Together In Crises  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 801 , AshArticle,
Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt, January 2012Severe natural disasters, large-scale industrial accidents or epidemics often expose emergency response organisations and society to previously unseen threats, response demands that exceed available resources, or familiar emergencies in unprecedented combinations or complex layers. Two kinds of leaders are likely to come to the fore: professional emergency response chiefs and political leaders. More»

Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt, January 2012

Severe natural disasters, large-scale industrial accidents or epidemics often expose emergency response organisations and society to previously unseen threats, response demands that exceed available resources, or familiar emergencies in unprecedented combinations or complex layers. Two kinds of leaders are likely to come to the fore: professional emergency response chiefs and political leaders. More»

Adapting to Novelty: Recognizing the Need for Innovation and Leadership  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1102 , AshArticle,
Joseph W. Pfeifer, January 2012 Repairs to sanitation plows and salt-spreaders usually go unnoticed, but when a truck smashes through a wall and is dangling four stories above the ground, it draws intense media attention. On August 17, 2011, at 0928 hours, a 15.5-ton truck lost control inside the Department of Sanitation’s Central Repair Facility in Maspeth, Queens, and plowed through an upper floor wall. When FDNY units arrived, the driver, Robert Legall, 56, was tightly grasping the steering wheel, as three-quarters of his truck hung precariously out a window at a 45-degree angle, some 40 feet above the street. The impact of the truck showered the sidewalk and road with bricks, shattering windshields and crushing roofs of parked cars. More»

Joseph W. Pfeifer, January 2012

Repairs to sanitation plows and salt-spreaders usually go unnoticed, but when a truck smashes through a wall and is dangling four stories above the ground, it draws intense media attention. On August 17, 2011, at 0928 hours, a 15.5-ton truck lost control inside the Department of Sanitation’s Central Repair Facility in Maspeth, Queens, and plowed through an upper floor wall. When FDNY units arrived, the driver, Robert Legall, 56, was tightly grasping the steering wheel, as three-quarters of his truck hung precariously out a window at a 45-degree angle, some 40 feet above the street. The impact of the truck showered the sidewalk and road with bricks, shattering windshields and crushing roofs of parked cars. More»

Disruptive Logic: A New Paradigm For Social Change  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1354 , AshArticle,
Tim Burke and Gigi Georges, December 2011As the US grapples with fiscal crisis—facing spiraling deficits, dangerous levels of debt, and the worst economic recession in some 70 years—Americans understand that all levels of their government must take action. Calls are growing louder from across the political spectrum for the same spirit of cost-cutting and financial restraint within government that so many families have had to embrace. According to a Pew Research Center poll in early 2011, however, even while Americans increasingly recognize the need to halt increases in spending, many remain reluctant to embrace specific cuts. There is still not one area of domestic federal spending —whether education, veterans’ benefits, health care or public safety—that more Americans, when pressed, want to decrease more than they want to increase. More»

Tim Burke and Gigi Georges, December 2011

As the US grapples with fiscal crisis—facing spiraling deficits, dangerous levels of debt, and the worst economic recession in some 70 years—Americans understand that all levels of their government must take action. Calls are growing louder from across the political spectrum for the same spirit of cost-cutting and financial restraint within government that so many families have had to embrace. According to a Pew Research Center poll in early 2011, however, even while Americans increasingly recognize the need to halt increases in spending, many remain reluctant to embrace specific cuts. There is still not one area of domestic federal spending —whether education, veterans’ benefits, health care or public safety—that more Americans, when pressed, want to decrease more than they want to increase. More»

From Government 2.0 to Society 2.0: Pathways to Engagement, Collaboration, and Transformation  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 687 , AshArticle,
Archon Fung and Zachary Tumin, October 2011In June 2010, 25 leaders of government and industry convened to Harvard University to assess the move to “Government 2.0” to date; to share insight to its limits and possibilities, as well as its enablers and obstacles; and to assess the road ahead. This is a report of that meeting, made possible by a grant from Microsoft. More»

Archon Fung and Zachary Tumin, October 2011

In June 2010, 25 leaders of government and industry convened to Harvard University to assess the move to “Government 2.0” to date; to share insight to its limits and possibilities, as well as its enablers and obstacles; and to assess the road ahead. This is a report of that meeting, made possible by a grant from Microsoft. More»

Systems Failure  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1233 , AshArticle,
Arnold M. Howitt and Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard, June 2011March 11 earthquake and tsunami were horrific: tens of thousands of people killed or missing and presumed dead, immense property damage, and an evacuation zone around the crippled TEPCO nuclear reactors. As severe as these immediate effects of the disaster were, they were compounded by other effects – one thing after another, each affecting the others negatively. Within a wide area of Japan, particularly where the tsunami struck, the tightly interconnected systems of modern life virtually collapsed. Utilities (power, water, transport, communications), economic activity (manufacturing, power generation, food distribution, local businesses), social and community networks, and government services (sanitation, policing, emergency response, healthcare) were drastically disrupted or destroyed. More»

Arnold M. Howitt and Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard, June 2011

March 11 earthquake and tsunami were horrific: tens of thousands of people killed or missing and presumed dead, immense property damage, and an evacuation zone around the crippled TEPCO nuclear reactors. As severe as these immediate effects of the disaster were, they were compounded by other effects – one thing after another, each affecting the others negatively. Within a wide area of Japan, particularly where the tsunami struck, the tightly interconnected systems of modern life virtually collapsed. Utilities (power, water, transport, communications), economic activity (manufacturing, power generation, food distribution, local businesses), social and community networks, and government services (sanitation, policing, emergency response, healthcare) were drastically disrupted or destroyed. More»

Preparing in Advance for Disaster Recovery  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 993 , AshArticle,
Douglas Ahlers, Arnold M. Howitt, and Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard, October 2011In the past decade, the world has looked in horror at many heart-wrenching scenes of human suffering and physical devastation in Asia – including the tsunami of 2004, China’s earthquake of 2008, Pakistan’s floods of 2010, and Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident this year. Unfortunately, these will not be the last of such tragic events, given Asia’s significant exposure to natural disasters, increasingly complex and interdependent social and economic systems, intensifying urbanisation in risk-exposed locations, and its vulnerability to the impact of climate change. More»

Douglas Ahlers, Arnold M. Howitt, and Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard, October 2011

In the past decade, the world has looked in horror at many heart-wrenching scenes of human suffering and physical devastation in Asia – including the tsunami of 2004, China’s earthquake of 2008, Pakistan’s floods of 2010, and Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident this year. Unfortunately, these will not be the last of such tragic events, given Asia’s significant exposure to natural disasters, increasingly complex and interdependent social and economic systems, intensifying urbanisation in risk-exposed locations, and its vulnerability to the impact of climate change. More»

Innovation as Narrative  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1062 , AshArticle,
Sandford Borins, February 2010This paper begins by outlining a number of key narratological concepts, such as the distinction between narrative—the events represented—and one or more narrators' presentations of the events, implied author and implied reader, and structural analysis of narrative genres. It then applies these concepts to the three narrations of the 31 finalists of the 2008 and 2009 Innovations in American Government Awards. The paper concludes with suggestions for how public management scholars could incorporate narratological insights into their analysis, how innovation awards could ask applicants to develop more explicit narratives, and how innovators could make more effective use of narrative in communicating their achievements. More»

Sandford Borins, February 2010

This paper begins by outlining a number of key narratological concepts, such as the distinction between narrative—the events represented—and one or more narrators' presentations of the events, implied author and implied reader, and structural analysis of narrative genres. It then applies these concepts to the three narrations of the 31 finalists of the 2008 and 2009 Innovations in American Government Awards. The paper concludes with suggestions for how public management scholars could incorporate narratological insights into their analysis, how innovation awards could ask applicants to develop more explicit narratives, and how innovators could make more effective use of narrative in communicating their achievements. More»

Organising Response to Extreme Emergencies: The Victorian Bushfires of 2009  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1216 , AshArticle,
Herman B. Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt, September 2010The horrific events of Black Saturday (February 7, 2009) in Victoria, Australia, constitute an extreme event. In January and February of 2009, Victoria experienced unprecedented climatic conditions of drought and heat that brought the state to a literally explosive fire condition, with tinder-dry fuels across the state needing only a combination of wind and an ignition source to touch off potentially devastating fires. Over the course of January and early February, firefighters responded to literally hundreds of fires. In the first week of February, historically high temperatures prevailed across the state, with new records set in many locations. Melbourne experienced temperatures for three consecutive days above 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit), further exacerbating already historically-threatening fire conditions. More»

Herman B. Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt, September 2010

The horrific events of Black Saturday (February 7, 2009) in Victoria, Australia, constitute an extreme event. In January and February of 2009, Victoria experienced unprecedented climatic conditions of drought and heat that brought the state to a literally explosive fire condition, with tinder-dry fuels across the state needing only a combination of wind and an ignition source to touch off potentially devastating fires. Over the course of January and early February, firefighters responded to literally hundreds of fires. In the first week of February, historically high temperatures prevailed across the state, with new records set in many locations. Melbourne experienced temperatures for three consecutive days above 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit), further exacerbating already historically-threatening fire conditions. More»

Innovations in Post-Conflict Transitions: The United Nations Development Program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1136 , AshArticle,
Sarah Dix, Diego Miranda, and Charles H. Norchi, February 2010Between January and September of 2007, a team composed of Dr. Sarah Dix, Mr. Diego Miranda, and Dr. Charles H. Norchi appraised the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) country office programs, procedures, and management as implemented from 2003 to 2007. During the 2003 to 2007 period, the country program cycle focused on promoting good governance, conflict prevention, community recovery, and fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Overall, the office managed more than $500 million for all programs, becoming among the three largest UNDP country operations in the world. This report examines the organizational dimensions of the UNDP office in the DRC, and analyzes its most important program innovations. More»

Sarah Dix, Diego Miranda, and Charles H. Norchi, February 2010

Between January and September of 2007, a team composed of Dr. Sarah Dix, Mr. Diego Miranda, and Dr. Charles H. Norchi appraised the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) country office programs, procedures, and management as implemented from 2003 to 2007. During the 2003 to 2007 period, the country program cycle focused on promoting good governance, conflict prevention, community recovery, and fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Overall, the office managed more than $500 million for all programs, becoming among the three largest UNDP country operations in the world. This report examines the organizational dimensions of the UNDP office in the DRC, and analyzes its most important program innovations. More»

Dynamics of Diffusion: Conceptions of American Federalism and Public-Sector Innovation  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1118 , AshArticle,
John D. Donahue, February 2006 In a phrase coined by Lord Bryce and popularized by Justice Louis Brandeis, America's separate states are seen as "laboratories of democracy," giving the United States 50 channels for generating fresh new approaches to public problems. The potential advantages are apparent. But how fully this potential is realized depends on how rapidly and reliably innovations developed in each "laboratory" diffuse to other states. As the literature on the diffusion of innovations is limited, the archives of the Innovations in American Government Awards offer a promising but mostly untapped data set for exploring the replication of valuable innovations. In this publication, Donahue identifies state-level award winners and traces the pace and pattern of their diffusion. More»

John D. Donahue, February 2006

In a phrase coined by Lord Bryce and popularized by Justice Louis Brandeis, America's separate states are seen as "laboratories of democracy," giving the United States 50 channels for generating fresh new approaches to public problems. The potential advantages are apparent. But how fully this potential is realized depends on how rapidly and reliably innovations developed in each "laboratory" diffuse to other states. As the literature on the diffusion of innovations is limited, the archives of the Innovations in American Government Awards offer a promising but mostly untapped data set for exploring the replication of valuable innovations. In this publication, Donahue identifies state-level award winners and traces the pace and pattern of their diffusion. More»

Central Government and Frontline Performance Improvement  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1184 , AshArticle,
Steven J. Kelman, October 2006 During the past several years the most aggressive effort in the history of government has been made in the United Kingdom to use an innovative public management tool—the use of performance metrics and performance goals in the management of public sector organizations—both to improve the performance of public-sector organizations and also to recast some of the terms of democratic deliberation in the UK. As a pioneer in this innovation, the UK example may provide lessons for other governments as they seek to further implement this innovation. Professor Kelman's research, largely focusing on interviews with managers within UK government, seeks to discover how United Kingdom central government institutions have gone about trying to influence the performance of frontline organizations that must actually meet these targets. More»

Steven J. Kelman, October 2006

During the past several years the most aggressive effort in the history of government has been made in the United Kingdom to use an innovative public management tool—the use of performance metrics and performance goals in the management of public sector organizations—both to improve the performance of public-sector organizations and also to recast some of the terms of democratic deliberation in the UK. As a pioneer in this innovation, the UK example may provide lessons for other governments as they seek to further implement this innovation. Professor Kelman's research, largely focusing on interviews with managers within UK government, seeks to discover how United Kingdom central government institutions have gone about trying to influence the performance of frontline organizations that must actually meet these targets. More»

Emergence and Sustainability of the Innovation Process of Mexico's Local Governments  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1260 , AshArticle,
Gilberto Garcia, July 2005After analyzing 271 government programs qualified as innovative through having won a national government and local management award in Mexico, and submitting a questionnaire to the 79 persons responsible for some of the best practices in the municipal government in the years 2001, 2002, and 2003, this paper identifies and analyzes variables that have a bearing on the emergence and sustainability of the innovation process in Mexico's local governments. The results show paradoxes in the process of innovation of organizations needing to accomplish increasingly complex objectives through a lack of mechanisms to accrue intermediate and long-term technical expertise, as well as organizational learning. This paper also describes the differences in the process of innovation according to three contextual variables: organization capability, institutional development, and political and electoral competition. More»

Gilberto Garcia, July 2005

After analyzing 271 government programs qualified as innovative through having won a national government and local management award in Mexico, and submitting a questionnaire to the 79 persons responsible for some of the best practices in the municipal government in the years 2001, 2002, and 2003, this paper identifies and analyzes variables that have a bearing on the emergence and sustainability of the innovation process in Mexico's local governments. The results show paradoxes in the process of innovation of organizations needing to accomplish increasingly complex objectives through a lack of mechanisms to accrue intermediate and long-term technical expertise, as well as organizational learning. This paper also describes the differences in the process of innovation according to three contextual variables: organization capability, institutional development, and political and electoral competition. More»

Changing Big Government Organizations: Easier than Meets the Eye?  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1157 , AshArticle,
Steven Kelman, May 2004The need for government organizations to change how they work is a major theme among practitioners and observers of government, discussed informally and repeated constantly at conferences for practitioners. The need for organizational change is also a preoccupying theme in the business world. But the impetus for change in government is somewhat different. In the private sector, the assumption is that the organization's current performance is good, but that shifts in the organization's environment demands changes in what the organization produces or how it produces it. In government, by contrast, the impetus for organizational change is typically that current performance isn't what it should be. Government isn't working as well as it should, and organizational change is needed to improve performance. More»

Steven Kelman, May 2004

The need for government organizations to change how they work is a major theme among practitioners and observers of government, discussed informally and repeated constantly at conferences for practitioners. The need for organizational change is also a preoccupying theme in the business world. But the impetus for change in government is somewhat different. In the private sector, the assumption is that the organization's current performance is good, but that shifts in the organization's environment demands changes in what the organization produces or how it produces it. In government, by contrast, the impetus for organizational change is typically that current performance isn't what it should be. Government isn't working as well as it should, and organizational change is needed to improve performance. More»

Overcoming Obstacles to Technology-Enabled Transformation  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 774 , AshArticle,
William Eggers, May 2003Through the example of the General Service Administration, Eggers presents an analysis of how technology-enabled transformation entails breaking old habits, learning to do business in new ways, and adopting a radically different approach to serving your customers. Since nearly all the incentives in government work against all of these things, strong leadership is indispensable to achieving fundamental change in government. More»

William Eggers, May 2003

Through the example of the General Service Administration, Eggers presents an analysis of how technology-enabled transformation entails breaking old habits, learning to do business in new ways, and adopting a radically different approach to serving your customers. Since nearly all the incentives in government work against all of these things, strong leadership is indispensable to achieving fundamental change in government. More»

Learning from Green Grassroots Innovators: How Does a Tail Wag the Dog?  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1191 , AshArticle,
Anil Gupta, October 2003This paper presents an analysis of small grassroots innovations in India including the Honey Bee Network, underlying how small innovations can make a big difference. When the Honey Bee Network was started about 14 years ago, most innovators in three fields of technology, primary education, and common property institutions were poorly networked among themselves, though they were networked reasonably well within their communities. High degrees of fortitude, stubbornness, and to an extent, tendency to go alone were quite common and pronounced traits among the innovators. They were difficult to influence and even more difficult to convince of the need to network with others of their kind. It is against this context that the evolution of the Honey Bee Network and its influence on public policy, institutions, and structures is evaluated. More»

Anil Gupta, October 2003

This paper presents an analysis of small grassroots innovations in India including the Honey Bee Network, underlying how small innovations can make a big difference. When the Honey Bee Network was started about 14 years ago, most innovators in three fields of technology, primary education, and common property institutions were poorly networked among themselves, though they were networked reasonably well within their communities. High degrees of fortitude, stubbornness, and to an extent, tendency to go alone were quite common and pronounced traits among the innovators. They were difficult to influence and even more difficult to convince of the need to network with others of their kind. It is against this context that the evolution of the Honey Bee Network and its influence on public policy, institutions, and structures is evaluated. More»

Government Innovation around the World  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 972 , AshArticle,
Elaine Kamarck, November 2003For some countries government reform and innovation involves the reform of an old bureaucracy in the context of a newly democratic state. For other countries, this entails an all out fight against corruption. For still other countries, the challenge is to modernize large, outmoded bureaucracies and bring them into the information age. While countries have come to government reform for very different reasons, government reform and innovation is a global phenomenon. This paper provides a review of government innovations undertaken in the last 20 years in many countries around the world including the United States. More»

Elaine Kamarck, November 2003

For some countries government reform and innovation involves the reform of an old bureaucracy in the context of a newly democratic state. For other countries, this entails an all out fight against corruption. For still other countries, the challenge is to modernize large, outmoded bureaucracies and bring them into the information age. While countries have come to government reform for very different reasons, government reform and innovation is a global phenomenon. This paper provides a review of government innovations undertaken in the last 20 years in many countries around the world including the United States. More»

Service Contracting with Nonprofit and For-Profit Providers: On Preserving a Mixed Organizational Ecology  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1053 , AshArticle,
Peter Frumkin, April 2002This paper explores the differences in operational and cultural characteristics of for-profit and nonprofit organizations, highlighting why many believe business firms have certain important advantages over nonprofits when it comes to competing for large human service contracts. The second section analyzes why public managers may need to structure service contracts in a way that not only maximizes short-term results, but that also affirms the importance of preserving a mixed organizational ecology. In a third and concluding section, some thoughts are offered on policy remedies that might supplement a more nuanced managerial approach to service contracting with nonprofit and for-profit providers. More»

Peter Frumkin, April 2002

This paper explores the differences in operational and cultural characteristics of for-profit and nonprofit organizations, highlighting why many believe business firms have certain important advantages over nonprofits when it comes to competing for large human service contracts. The second section analyzes why public managers may need to structure service contracts in a way that not only maximizes short-term results, but that also affirms the importance of preserving a mixed organizational ecology. In a third and concluding section, some thoughts are offered on policy remedies that might supplement a more nuanced managerial approach to service contracting with nonprofit and for-profit providers. More»

The Effect of Government Funding on Nonprofit Administrative Efficiency: An Empirical Test  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1036 , AshArticle,
Peter Frumkin and Mark T. Kim, October 2002This article draws on a large longitudinal data set of nonprofit organizations in order to shed light on the consequences of government funding on nonprofit administrative efficiency and gain a more grounded understanding of the link between public funding and nonprofit efficiency. The piece first surveys literature on the nature of public funding and its impact on the administrative efficiency of nonprofits. It then presents the data and analyzes the impact of public funding on a group of nonprofit organizations over an 11-year period. The piece concludes with an exploration of the implications of the findings for future research on public-nonprofit relations. More»

Peter Frumkin and Mark T. Kim, October 2002

This article draws on a large longitudinal data set of nonprofit organizations in order to shed light on the consequences of government funding on nonprofit administrative efficiency and gain a more grounded understanding of the link between public funding and nonprofit efficiency. The piece first surveys literature on the nature of public funding and its impact on the administrative efficiency of nonprofits. It then presents the data and analyzes the impact of public funding on a group of nonprofit organizations over an 11-year period. The piece concludes with an exploration of the implications of the findings for future research on public-nonprofit relations. More»

Conservation Innovation in America: Past, Present, and Future  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1183 , AshArticle,
James N. Levitt, December 2002Observers throughout the course of U.S. history, including such prominent commentators as Alexis de Tocqueville in his classic volume Democracy in America, have dismissed Americans' willingness to appreciate or conserve nature. In fact, Americans have a long and distinguished record of realizing landmark conservation innovations that are novel on a worldwide basis; politically significant; measurably effective; transferable to separate organizations, jurisdictions, and nations; and, particularly significant in the field of conservation, enduring. This paper reviews conservation innovations in the U.S., starting with the observation that among the many important conservation innovations that Americans have achieved, only a distinct subset of them has had an enduring impact and so can be considered landmark innovations. More»

James N. Levitt, December 2002

Observers throughout the course of U.S. history, including such prominent commentators as Alexis de Tocqueville in his classic volume Democracy in America, have dismissed Americans' willingness to appreciate or conserve nature. In fact, Americans have a long and distinguished record of realizing landmark conservation innovations that are novel on a worldwide basis; politically significant; measurably effective; transferable to separate organizations, jurisdictions, and nations; and, particularly significant in the field of conservation, enduring. This paper reviews conservation innovations in the U.S., starting with the observation that among the many important conservation innovations that Americans have achieved, only a distinct subset of them has had an enduring impact and so can be considered landmark innovations. More»

Understanding Innovation: What Inspires It? What Makes It Successful?  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 1199 , AshArticle,
Jonathan Walters, December 2001Public sector innovation may be considered an oxymoron, but for 15 years the Ford Foundation and Harvard Kennedy School have been identifying innovative public sector programs at the state, local, federal, and tribal government levels through the Innovations in American Government Awards Program, funded by Ford and administered by the Kennedy School. What the initiatives identified through the program tell us is that despite government's well-deserved reputation for being unfriendly to new ideas and change, government has actually proved to be remarkably—even resiliently—innovative. But where does innovation come from? What drives people to innovate? And in a political world where program survival is often a matter of having the right political patrons, what characteristics make for sustainable, replicable, results-based innovation? More»

Jonathan Walters, December 2001

Public sector innovation may be considered an oxymoron, but for 15 years the Ford Foundation and Harvard Kennedy School have been identifying innovative public sector programs at the state, local, federal, and tribal government levels through the Innovations in American Government Awards Program, funded by Ford and administered by the Kennedy School. What the initiatives identified through the program tell us is that despite government's well-deserved reputation for being unfriendly to new ideas and change, government has actually proved to be remarkably—even resiliently—innovative. But where does innovation come from? What drives people to innovate? And in a political world where program survival is often a matter of having the right political patrons, what characteristics make for sustainable, replicable, results-based innovation? More»

Strategies for Scale: Learning from Two Educational Innovations  
MenuTextCount, class_name, data_text = 805 , AshArticle,
Bryan C. Hassel and Lucy Steiner, June 2000The authors of the paper examine two intriguing programs: Success for All and the Accelerated Schools Program, each of which has been adopted by more than 1,000 schools nationwide. They argue that given the relative success of these programs at scaling up, focusing some attention on the strategies that their promoters have used in taking them to scale might prove informative and useful for subsequent efforts to scale up good practice. More»

Bryan C. Hassel and Lucy Steiner, June 2000

The authors of the paper examine two intriguing programs: Success for All and the Accelerated Schools Program, each of which has been adopted by more than 1,000 schools nationwide. They argue that given the relative success of these programs at scaling up, focusing some attention on the strategies that their promoters have used in taking them to scale might prove informative and useful for subsequent efforts to scale up good practice. More»