Publications

    BenePhilly, City of Philadelphia: Innovations in American Government Award Case Study

    Betsy Gardner, January 2022 

    The American social safety net exists to meet needs for: unemployment assistance, supplemental money for food, help with health care costs and medical expenses, and more. However, the process of signing up for these services is often time-consuming, confusing, repetitive, and frustrating.

    To address these challenges, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Benefits Data Trust (BDT) developed BenePhilly, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Departments of Aging and Human Services, to inform people of their eligibility for benefits and assist them in quickly and efficiently enrolling. This paper is a case study of the BenePhilly program and will serve as a guide to replicate its success. By using proven, data-driven methods, the program connects high-need, eligible individuals with up to 19 different benefits, all while reducing overall poverty, providing a better application experience, and increasing trust in local government.

    BenePhilly is a network of government agencies, nonprofits, and community-based organizations connecting Philadelphians to benefits through targeted, data-driven outreach, referrals from a network of organizations, and in-person and telephone application assistance. The trained staff at both BDT and the nonprofit organizations embedded in the communities they serve help individuals easily find and enroll in benefits. According to BDT’s Chief Strategy Officer Pauline Abernathy, BenePhilly has helped more than 125,000 Philadelphia residents secure over $1.6 billion in benefits as of January 2021.

    Husock, Howard, Inessa Lurye, Gaylen Moore, Archon Fung, and Jorrit de Jong. 2020. “Leading Civic Engagement: Three Cases”. Read the full case study Abstract

    Howard Husock, Inessa Lurye, Gaylen Moore, Archon Fung, and Jorrit de Jong; July 2020 

    These three short cases are stories of city officials leading civic engagement and public participation in pursuit of public goals. From a variety of different positions in city government, the protagonists in each case departed from typical bureaucratic processes to reach out directly to the public, using unexpected methods to solicit input, raise awareness, and effect behavioral change in their communities. In the first case, the new director of the Seattle Solid Waste Utility, Diana Gale, implemented sweeping changes to the City’s solid waste collection practices. To secure compliance with new rules and regulations and tolerance for inevitable stumbles along the way, she developed a public relations capacity, became the public face of her agency, and embraced an ethos of humility and accountability. In the second case, Antanas Mockus, the eccentric mayor of Bogotá, sought to improve public safety—focusing particularly on the unregulated and lethal use of fireworks around the Christmas holiday. He tried at first to effect change through persuasion, offering citizens alternatives to fireworks and engaging vendors in the effort to reduce fireworks-related injuries and deaths. When a child suffered severe burns, however, Mockus followed through on a threat to ban firework sales and use in the City. In the third case, David Boesch, city manager of Menlo Park, California, decided to engage residents in setting priorities around cost reduction as a major budget shortfall loomed for the coming fiscal year. He hired a local firm to plan and execute a comprehensive participatory budgeting process. In a city with a sharp divide between haves and have-nots, Boesch and his partners had to take special care to ensure that everyone’s interests were heard and represented in budgetary decision-making.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case(s).

    Sanderijn Cels, Jorrit de Jong, Marijn Groenleer, and Erica Weinberger; July 2020 

    In June 2015, a task force convened in the Netherlands to consider cross-sectoral approaches to fighting organized crime in the south of the country, particularly in the homegrown marijuana industry. From that larger group, five professional managers and officials were tasked with devising an approach to target and break up criminal drug gangs that paid or coerced residents in beleaguered neighborhoods to grow pot in back rooms or attics; activities which put a huge strain on the power supply and greatly increased the risk of fire.

    The five men did not know each other and came from different organizations or professional backgrounds with their own training and ideas: the police, the regional utility company, the national tax bureau, the mayor’s office in nearby Breda, and the public prosecutor’s office. A policeman would not see the problem, or the solution, in the same way as a utility company manager. How would the five manage to work together—not just devise an approach, but return to their organizations and convince their bosses and colleagues this could work? Not all of the team were based in the City of Breda, but Breda, under the auspices of Mayor Paul Depla, would serve as the first trial ground to identify a neighborhood and carry out an operation to see if the new cross-sectoral approach could work.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Rivkin, Jan, Susie Ma, and Michael Norris. 2020. “Design Decisions for Cross-Sector Collaboration: Mini-Case Modules”. Abstract

    Jan Rivkin, Susie Ma, and Michael Norris; June 2020

    These five short cases aim to help city leaders explore whether working with sectors outside their own government organizations is the right path forward, and how to be effective if/when they choose to engage in cross-sector collaboration. The cases especially highlight key design decisions that every cross-sector collaboration must make, to help students reflect on design decisions of their own collaborative efforts.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Norgaard, Stefan, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “In the Green: Negotiating Rail Expansion in Somerville, MA”. Read full the case study Abstract

    Stegan Norgaard, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020

    Successful litigation against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts made an original, legal, and moral case for building alternative transportation in Somerville: the Green Line Extension (GLX). Having campaigned on extending the Green Line—first as alderman, then as mayor—Joe Curtatone took office as mayor in 2005. His first victory was creating a MBTA “T” stop for the Orange Line at Assembly Station. Working with the same coalition of nonprofits, he pursued a participatory visioning process (“SomerVision”) that brought together over sixty organizations from different sectors in Somerville, that had a common vision for the GLX. Curtatone overcame hiccups surrounding industrial parcels and successfully kept the project eligible for a federal NewStarts grant; using an economic-development narrative, he acquired the problematic parcels through eminent domain. By 2014-2015, though, the project was running over budget and it was uncertain whether the Commonwealth would support the GLX.

    Curtatone negotiated with the State of Massachusetts and agreed on simplifications to the original GLX, including a shorter route that would no longer directly benefit neighboring regional communities. He also negotiated project funding by the Cities of Cambridge and Somerville and the Boston Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization board (BRMPO). But then, the Commonwealth announced a shortfall of roughly $200 million, that Curtatone resolved through an agreement: Somerville paid $50M, Cambridge $25M, and the BRMPO diverted funding for the rest. The narrower GLX project was approved and construction began in May 2018. This case is designed as the capstone case in a series of negotiation cases developed by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. 

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Knoop, Carin-Isabel, Carlos Paiva, Jorrit de Jong, and Rawi Abdelal. 2020. “Fortaleza: Keeping An Electoral Promise”. Read the full case study Abstract

    Carin-Isabel Knoop, Carlos Paiva, Jorrit de Jong, and Rawi Abdelal; May 2020 

    During his re-election campaign in 2016, Mayor Roberto Cláudio faced recurring complaints from voters concerning the availability of essential medicines at their health clinics. Limited access to medicine frustrated patients and health care providers, raised the cost of treating chronic conditions, and increased the risk of infectious diseases. It also placed the City in violation of Brazil’s constitution that guaranteed access to essential medicines to patients of the public health system, most of whom were low income. In Cláudio’s first term, Fortaleza’s public health network went through significant advances, renovating the majority of its health clinics and improving access to medical personnel. The team’s considerable progress nonetheless fell short of a comprehensive solution for the lack of access to medicine. This became one of Cláudio’s main campaign promises, and a priority for his second term. The case chronicles how he approached a persistent problem, changed tactics and teams, and pushed for the necessary improvements and innovations to fulfill his promise.

    The case raises questions around how to deliver on a campaign promise when your organization seems to have hit a ceiling in performance improvement: When do you push harder for better execution and advancement of current systems? When do you invest in something new to achieve optimal performance? What is the role of mayoral leadership in ensuring that goals are achieved?

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Roberts, Brady, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “The Queen City’s Collective and Compassionate Approach: Fighting Opioids and Homelessness in the Granite State”. Read full the case study Abstract

    Brady Roberts, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020 

    Elected at the height of the opioid epidemic, Mayor Joyce Craig came to represent the City of Manchester, New Hampshire as it grappled with the dual tragedies of substance abuse and chronic homelessness. An idealist in a state that valued personal responsibility and financial restraint, Craig had successfully expanded her City’s services to those seeking treatment for opioid use disorder and shelter. But these were hard-fought victories at every stage, and there was still work to be done. With just a few months remaining in her first two-year term, the mayor found herself on the eve of another difficult negotiation. She had recently established a diverse Task Force on Homelessness and set her sights on permanently solving Manchester’s homelessness and opioid crises. Next, Craig had to convince her counterparts at the state and local level to dedicate equitable funding to solving these intractable, moral challenges. (See Teaching Case Appendix 1 for a timeline of events in the case.)

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Vo, Hung, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “Beyond the Table: Infrastructure Development in Kampala, Uganda”. Read the full case study Abstract

    Hung Vo, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020 

    Uganda’s development relied heavily on the economic growth and management of its capital city, Kampala. The World Bank had been active in Uganda’s urban sector since the 1980s and, in 2007, awarded Kampala a $33 million loan for institutional reforms and infrastructure development. Yet by the project’s 2010 deadline, only 30 percent of the project had been completed. Given the delays and its skepticism of a new, inexperienced administration, the World Bank threatened to withdraw funding. Nonetheless, Judith Tumusiime—first as a technical consultant and then as deputy executive director of the newly established Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA)—managed to turn the project around within two years, an almost miraculous transformation. Beyond revitalizing and completing the project’s first phase, could Tumusiime convince the World Bank to invest even more in the second phase?

    The case explores Tumusiime’s work to regain trust with the World Bank and persuade it to not only fund a second phase of the project, but to also significantly increase its funding commitment to the City. It examines how Tumusiime navigated her team, the World Bank, other local officials, and national level government actors. Moreover, it unpacks the misguided notion that a negotiation is a solely interpersonal activity that occurs at the table; a broader understanding of process—specifically scope and sequence—can impact the outcome (1). Drawing from David Lax and James Sebenius’ 3-D negotiation framework, the case demonstrates how Tumusiime built a strategy to effectively sequence actions in her negotiation with the World Bank. Her strategic vision and interpersonal strengths enabled her to make dynamic setup moves, improving her ability to negotiate at the table and craft a better deal with the World Bank.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Vo, Hung, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “Many Ways to Get There: Securing Public Investments in Richmond, VA”. Read the full case study Abstract

    Hung Vo, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020 

    The City of Richmond elected Levar Stoney as its youngest mayor in 2016. Mayor Stoney campaigned for better-funded public schools, government accountability, and crime prevention. One of the mayor’s main responsibilities was to propose biannual budgets to a nine-member city council, which could approve the budget as proposed or pass it with amendments. This case illustrates Stoney’s efforts to increase Richmond’s real estate tax from $1.20 to $1.29 per $100 of assessed value. This tax increase was quickly rejected by a majority of city council members. Disagreements climaxed when the mayor’s administration walked out of a city council budget hearing, prompting council members to respond by voting to pursue legal action against Stoney.

    This case focuses on how positional bargaining prevents creative deal-making when negotiators fail to understand the interests of other parties. By exploring Stoney’s relationship with city council, the case emphasizes the downsides of positional bargaining and the opportunities for better outcomes with an interest-based approach to negotiation. This case also introduces the four negotiation concepts of interests, options, criteria, and alternatives, and examines their relevance to city-level negotiations.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Norgaard, Stefan, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “In the Weeds: Securing a Grass-Mowing Contract in Stockton, CA”. Read the full case study Abstract

    Stegan Norgaard, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020

    Kurt Wilson, the City Manager of Stockton, CA, joined the city government ten months after the City declared bankruptcy. After successfully steering Stockton out of bankruptcy, Wilson committed to implementing a set of permanent financial control measures to ensure that the City remained fiscally solvent well into the future. He had an extensive background in both the private and nonprofit sectors and had served as city manager in four other California cities.

    Stockton’s Long-Range Financial Plan (L-RFP) indicated that the City could spend, at most, approximately $1.3M in 2019 fiscal year (FY19) on a contract to mow grass on city medians. The City had spent $1.2M the previous year. Wilson believed shortages of tradespeople in the Bay Area—caused in part by demand for construction after California wildfires—would affect price points. At worst, he thought he could justify spending $1.6M on the contract. Wilson cared about the fiscal health of Stockton, but he also wanted to ensure high-quality public services.

    When the City issued its RFP, bids started at $2.26M, well above what Stockton could afford. After considering his options, Wilson issued a new RFP that included a lower “base” scope of services with modular components that the City could accept or decline depending on cost. Stockton ended up spending $1.91M for a year of service, but even as costs increased, tall grasses remained on city medians. Wilson wondered whether there might have been a better way for the City to have anticipated the higher prices.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Norgaard, Stefan, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “You Get What You Pay for: Reforming Procurement in Naperville, Illinois”. Read the full case study Abstract

    Stegan Norgaard, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020

    Naperville, Illinois is a suburb of approximately 150,000 people in the Chicago metropolitan area. Traditionally, the City focused on price for all procurement negotiations, but it often had few vendors applying for key contracts and struggled to negotiate on both price and quality.

    Naperville’s original procurement process was called Quality-Adjusted Cost (QAC). This process sought to simplify a myriad of concerns and variables (including price, quality, timeline, and scope, among others) into a single metric, so that the City could easily and objectively evaluate bids. Although QAC attempted to incorporate quality into the evaluation, there were instances when it seemed the best vendor was not selected.

    In an effort to improve the quality of City services, Naperville adopted a new procurement approach called “Cost as a Component.” This revamped process allowed the City to negotiate with vendors on more than just price for technology upgrades and aimed to ensure long-term partnerships with relevant firms, creating value for both vendors and the City. This case illustrates the trade-offs between QAC and “Cost as a Component” for Naperville and prompts participants to apply negotiation concepts to the broader process of city procurement.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, January 2019

    This Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative teaching case covers City of Louisville's effort to increase students’ college and career readiness. On the morning of June 4, 2018, members of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s Louisville Promise Cabinet assembled around a U-shaped table in a downtown office building. 

    On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sandy’s massive size, coupled with an unusual combination of meteorological conditions, fueled an especially powerful and destructive storm surge, which caused unprecedented damage in and around New York City, the country’s most populous metropolitan area, as well as on Long Island and along the Jersey Shore. This two-part case study focuses on how New York City prepared for the storm’s arrival and then responded to the cascading series of emergencies – from fires, to flooding, to power failures – that played out as it bore down on the city. Profiling actions taken at the local level by emergency response agencies like the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), the case also explores how the city coordinated with state and federal partners – including both the state National Guard and federal military components – and illustrates both the advantages and complications of using military assets for domestic emergency response operations.

    Part B of the case highlights, among other things, the experience of Staten Island, which experienced the worst of Sandy’s wrath. In the storm’s wake, frustration over the speed of the response triggered withering public criticism from borough officials, leading to concerns that a political crisis was about to overwhelm the still unfolding relief effort.

    On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sandy’s massive size, coupled with an unusual combination of meteorological conditions, fueled an especially powerful and destructive storm surge, which caused unprecedented damage in and around New York City, the country’s most populous metropolitan area, as well as on Long Island and along the Jersey Shore. This two-part case study focuses on how New York City prepared for the storm’s arrival and then responded to the cascading series of emergencies – from fires, to flooding, to power failures – that played out as it bore down on the city. Profiling actions taken at the local level by emergency response agencies like the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), the case also explores how the city coordinated with state and federal partners – including both the state National Guard and federal military components – and illustrates both the advantages and complications of using military assets for domestic emergency response operations.

    Part B of the case highlights, among other things, the experience of Staten Island, which experienced the worst of Sandy’s wrath. In the storm’s wake, frustration over the speed of the response triggered withering public criticism from borough officials, leading to concerns that a political crisis was about to overwhelm the still unfolding relief effort.

    On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sandy’s massive size, coupled with an unusual combination of meteorological conditions, fueled an especially powerful and destructive storm surge, which caused unprecedented damage in and around New York City, the country’s most populous metropolitan area, as well as on Long Island and along the Jersey Shore. This two-part case study focuses on how New York City prepared for the storm’s arrival and then responded to the cascading series of emergencies – from fires, to flooding, to power failures – that played out as it bore down on the city. Profiling actions taken at the local level by emergency response agencies like the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), the case also explores how the city coordinated with state and federal partners – including both the state National Guard and federal military components – and illustrates both the advantages and complications of using military assets for domestic emergency response operations.

    On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray, a young African American male, died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police. In response to his death, which occurred less than a year after a similar incident in Ferguson, Missouri, protestors mobilized daily in Baltimore to vocalize their frustrations, including what they saw as law enforcement’s long-standing mistreatment of the African American community. Then, on April 27, following Gray’s funeral, riots and acts of vandalism broke out across the city. Overwhelmed by the unrest, the Baltimore police requested assistance from other police forces. Later that evening, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the Maryland National Guard. At the local level, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a nightly curfew beginning Tuesday evening.

    “Into Local Streets” focuses on the role of the National Guard in the response to the protests and violence following Gray’s death, vividly depicting the actions and decision-making processes of the Guard’s senior-most leaders. In particular, it highlights the experience of the state’s Adjutant General, Linda Singh, who soon found herself navigating a complicated web of officials and agencies from both state and local government – and their different perspectives on how to bring an end to the crisis.

    On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray, a young African American male, died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police. In response to his death, which occurred less than a year after a similar incident in Ferguson, Missouri, protestors mobilized daily in Baltimore to vocalize their frustrations, including what they saw as law enforcement’s long-standing mistreatment of the African American community. Then, on April 27, following Gray’s funeral, riots and acts of vandalism broke out across the city. Overwhelmed by the unrest, the Baltimore police requested assistance from other police forces. Later that evening, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the Maryland National Guard. At the local level, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a nightly curfew beginning Tuesday evening.

    “Into Local Streets” focuses on the role of the National Guard in the response to the protests and violence following Gray’s death, vividly depicting the actions and decision-making processes of the Guard’s senior-most leaders. In particular, it highlights the experience of the state’s Adjutant General, Linda Singh, who soon found herself navigating a complicated web of officials and agencies from both state and local government – and their different perspectives on how to bring an end to the crisis.

    In summer and fall of 2014, thousands of individuals in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea contracted the Ebola virus. This outbreak of the deadly disease, which until then had been highly uncommon in West Africa, prompted a major (albeit delayed) public health response on the part of the international community, including an unprecedented commitment made by the United States, which sent almost 3,000 active military soldiers to Liberia. “Mission in Flux” focuses on the US military’s role in the Ebola response, emphasizing the Michigan National Guard’s eventual involvement. In particular, it provides readers with a first-hand account of the challenges the Michigan Guard faced as it prepared for and then deployed to Liberia, just as the crisis had begun to abate and federal officials in Washington began considering how to redefine the mission and footprint of Ebola-relief in West Africa.
    In summer and fall of 2014, thousands of individuals in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea contracted the Ebola virus. This outbreak of the deadly disease, which until then had been highly uncommon in West Africa, prompted a major (albeit delayed) public health response on the part of the international community, including an unprecedented commitment made by the United States, which sent almost 3,000 active military soldiers to Liberia. “Mission in Flux” focuses on the US military’s role in the Ebola response, emphasizing the Michigan National Guard’s eventual involvement. In particular, it provides readers with a first-hand account of the challenges the Michigan Guard faced as it prepared for and then deployed to Liberia, just as the crisis had begun to abate and federal officials in Washington began considering how to redefine the mission and footprint of Ebola-relief in West Africa.  

    Jane Wiseman, August 2017

    This Operational Excellence in Government Project case study describes how the state of Washington implemented two key operational efficiency strategies for government — performance management and employee-driven process improvement. The effort, called Results Washington, sets priorities and then focuses on delivery to achieve results that make a difference in the lives of Washingtonians. Results Washington was launched in 2013 by Governor Jay Inslee. He established five top-priority statewide goals and challenged state government leaders to track their progress against these goals and to apply Lean thinking and tools to improve their processes.

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