Publications

    Deploying the Once-Only Policy: A Privacy-Enhancing Guide for Policymakers and Civil Society Actors

    Naeha Rashid, November 2020 

    The once-only policy (OOP) is increasingly seen by some digital government experts as central to establishing a national digital government strategy and as a gateway to next-generation government services. Once-only is so called because users (citizens, residents, and businesses) have to provide diverse data only one time when in contact with public administrations; after the initial data transfer, different parts of government can internally share and reuse this data to create public value and better service for users. 

    Members of the digital government community are excited by the potential of OOPs to create public value and reduce the cost of government, and I want to help governments harness this potential. I am also deeply concerned by the potential for OOPs to concentrate and increase state power and the negative impact this could have on individuals’ privacy, freedoms, and capacity to dissent. 

    The goal is to harness the benefits of OOP while minimizing the risks, to create a world in which the power of the state is counterbalanced by the power of its citizenry. This document outlines the key policy questions and concerns that must be addressed by governments intending to implement an OOP. It is designed to help stakeholders—including policymakers in government and interested parties in civil society—ask key questions during the development of OOP-facilitating infrastructure, specifically identity- and data-sharing mechanisms, and the development of OOP strategy. 

    This document is not to intended to encourage or prescribe a specific pathway of development, but to consolidate and present a compendium of the key considerations at each stage. This work is based on an extensive literature review across the areas of privacy, identification, data sharing, and OOP; interviews with experts in the field; and mini case studies highlighting different lessons of implementation from five countries—the Netherlands, Estonia, the UK, Canada, and Australia—with diverse approaches and at very different stages of OOP maturity. 

    Read the full report

    Read the Deploying the Once-Only Policy Supplement

    Getting Value from Workforce Stimulus Investments: What Works in Youth Workforce Programs and How to Grow the Evidence Base

    Jane Wiseman, November 2020 

    The current economic crisis will likely inspire federal investment in training for unemployed and underemployed Americans. When funds are made available for youth workforce development, transparent reporting and publication of results data should be required. User-friendly reports should be created that enable unemployed and underemployed Americans to see which training providers achieve the best results, much as the current College Scorecard helps youth and their families evaluate colleges. This will benefit program recipients, the taxpayer, and society at large. Evidence about what works for youth workforce development is still in an early stage of maturity, so upcoming investments present an opportunity to advance the state of knowledge. With this data and insight, future investments can continue to fund effective programs and ineffective ones can be discontinued.

    The 2020 Election Season and Aftermath: Preparation in Higher Education Communities
    Leonard, Herman B. "Dutch", Arnold M. Howitt, and Judith B. McLaughlin. 2020. “The 2020 Election Season and Aftermath: Preparation in Higher Education Communities”. Read the full report Abstract

    Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard, Arnold M. Howitt, and Judith B. McLaughlin; October 2020 

    There is widespread uncertainty and heightened anxiety on higher education campuses and elsewhere about what might happen during the 2020 election season in the United States. At every turn, we see elevated emotions and anxieties generated by the election process and related events, together with the potential for disruption of various kinds in the election process itself – before, during, and/or after the end of voting on November 3. This is compounded by the possibility of uncertainty, perhaps over many days or even weeks, about who has won various contests and about who will take office.

    A wide range of scenarios related to the election process and possible election outcomes have been described in mainstream media, in social media, and in other forums. Given the considerable (and, generally speaking, desirable) involvement and energy invested in these events within higher education communities among faculty, staff, students, and alumni, a number of these scenarios might well result in situations on campuses, in higher education communities, or in the surrounding communities where they reside that would call for institutional response. Many campus leaders and management groups are now thinking through what might be necessary or desirable and figuring out what they might usefully do in advance to prepare to provide the best response possible. Obviously, the difficulties of planning for the many possible circumstances that might confront us are compounded by the fact that all of this is taking place during an ongoing (and, indeed, now intensifying) pandemic accompanied by calls for racial justice and police reform. In this brief note, we suggest some ideas that might be helpful for higher education communities organizing themselves in the face of these uncertainties.

    The Analytics Playbook for Cities: A Navigational Tool for Understanding Data Analytics in Local Government, Confronting Trade-Offs, and Implementing Effectively

    Amen Ra Mashariki and Nicolas Diaz, August 2020 

    Properly used data can help city government improve the efficiency of its operations, save money, and provide better services. Used haphazardly, however, the use of analytics in cities may increase risks to citizens’ privacy, heighten cybersecurity threats, and even perpetuate inequities.

    Given these complexities and potentials, many cities have begun to install analytics and data units, often head by a chief data officer, a new title for data-driven leaders in government. This report is aimed at practitioners who are thinking about making the choice to name their first CDO, start their first analytics team, or empower an existing group of individuals.

    Henson, Eric, Miriam R. Jorgensen, Joseph Kalt, and Megan Hill. 2020. “Federal COVID‐19 Response Funding for Tribal Governments: Lessons from the CARES Act”. Read the full report Abstract

    Eric C. Henson, Megan M. Hill, Miriam R. Jorgensen & Joseph P. Kalt; July 2020 

    The federal response to the COVID‐19 pandemic has played out in varied ways over the past several months.  For Native nations, the CARES Act (i.e., the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) has been the most prominent component of this response to date. Title V of the Act earmarked $8 billion for tribes and was allocated in two rounds, with many disbursements taking place in May and June of this year.

    This federal response has been critical for many tribes because of the lower socio‐economic starting points for their community members as compared to non‐Indians. Even before the pandemic, the average income of a reservation‐resident Native American household was barely half that of the average U.S. household. Low average incomes, chronically high unemployment rates, and dilapidated or non‐existent infrastructure are persistent challenges for tribal communities and tribal leaders. Layering extremely high coronavirus incidence rates (and the effective closure of many tribal nations’ entire economies) on top of these already challenging circumstances presented tribal governments with a host of new concerns. In other words, at the same time tribal governments’ primary resources were decimated (i.e., the earnings of tribal governmental gaming and non‐gaming enterprises dried up), the demands on tribes increased. They needed these resources to fight the pandemic and to continue to meet the needs of tribal citizens.

    Eric C. Henson, Megan M. Hill, Miriam R. Jorgensen & Joseph P. Kalt; July 2020 

    In this policy brief, we offer guidelines for federal policy reform that can fulfill the United States’ trust responsibility to tribes, adhere to the deepest principles of self‐governance upon which the country is founded, respect and build the governing capacities of tribes, and in the process, enable tribal nations to emerge from this pandemic stronger than they were before. We believe that the most‐needed federal actions are an expansion of tribal control over tribal affairs and territories and increased funding for key investments in tribal communities. 

    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.

    Fernando Monge, Jorrit de Jong, and Linda Bilmes; June 2020  

    In 2018, Bilbao was presented with the Best European City award, adding the prize to a long list the Spanish city had collected since the mid-2000s. The success was often attributed to the Guggenheim museum, giving name to the "Guggenheim effect." This was based on a fairly shallow assessment of the City's transformation. In fact, the building blocks of Bilbao's transformation are to be found in the collaborative efforts established by government entities during the 1990s, in the context of a deep economic, political, and social crisis.

    In the first session of the Leading Social and Economic Recovery series convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided a briefing of critical public health information on COVID-19 within the United States. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, discussed racism and protests in the context of COVID-19, offering mayors recommendations on measures to consider when protesting to reduce exposure of COVID-19. Professor Danielle Allen, the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, addressed the mayors on how the global pandemic, economic recession, and renewed focus on racial justice provide city leaders with an opportunity to reinvent public governance. The session was moderated by Harvard Kennedy School Professor Jorrit de Jong, and Harvard Business School Professor Rawi Abdelal, the faculty co-chairs of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.
    In the eleventh session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Juliette Kayyem, the Belfer Senior Lecturer in International Security at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Dutch Leonard, the George F. Baker Jr. Professor of Public Management at the Kennedy School and Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration and Cochair of the Social Enterprise Initiative at Harvard Business School, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at the Kennedy School, review the crisis leadership tools to help mayors and city leaders navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided a briefing of critical public health information on COVID-19 within the United States.
    In the tenth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Rebecca Henderson, the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, discussed scenario planning in a pandemic and offered tools for imagining and working through the implications of various plausible futures. Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided a briefing of critical public health information on COVID-19 within the United States. Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director, offered guidance and answered mayors’ questions on responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
    In the ninth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Amy Edmondson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, discussed leading diverse and dispersed teams in times of crisis. Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Dr. Caitlin Rivers, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provide critical public health updates and general guidance for what organizations, businesses, and other settings need to do when they reopen, with information on how mayors can both help as well as support these efforts.

    Vice President Joe Biden highlighted the ongoing role mayors have in leading the response to the crisis.
    In the eighth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Linda Bilmes, the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and a leading expert on budgetary and public financial issues, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, discuss budgeting during a COVID-19. Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provide critical public health updates and examine metrics mayors need to have in order to reopen their communities. Chef Jose Andres offered words of inspiration in his welcoming remarks to the mayors.
    In the seventh session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Mitchell Weiss, Professor of Management Practice in the Entrepreneurial Management unit and the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, lead a discussion on public entrepreneurship and how mayors can generate, try out and scale up new ideas while managing risk. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Dr. Lisa Cooper, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provide critical public health updates, examine racial disparities we are seeing during COVID-19, and offer actions mayors can take to address these disparities in their cities. Governor Hogan offered advice on convening a coronavirus response team to address the crisis in his welcoming remarks to the mayors.
    In the sixth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Nancy Koehn, James E. Robison chair of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, explored principles of leadership to effectively guide teams and communities during an unprecedented, multi-stage crisis. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provided critical public health updates and guidance on preventing the spread of the virus in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi advised the mayors to rely on science in her welcoming remarks.

    In the fifth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Howard Koh, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Kennedy School; Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School; Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Tom Frieden, former director of CDC, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, explored collaboration—across sectors, departments, and levels of government—and the challenges, conflicts, and opportunities for effective leadership and a resilient recovery that come with this work. Bill Gates stressed the importance of relying on science to guide reopening the economy in his welcoming remarks to mayors.

    In the fourth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, moderated a discussion with Kimberlyn Leary, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, on stress and mental health during the COVID-19 crisis. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided critical public health information, and Tom Frieden, former director of CDC, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, presented the latest thinking on the conditions necessary to lift restrictions, reopen the economy, and resume city life. President Barack Obama offered advice to mayors on speaking truthfully in his opening remarks.

    In the third session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided critical public health information. Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, moderated the discussion on learning as fast as you can and creating a basis for hope with Dutch Leonard, the George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Management, at HKS and Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration at HBS and Juliette Kayyem, the Belfer Senior Lecturer in International Security at HKS. President George W. Bush offered support for mayors and frontline health care workers in his opening remarks.
    Gustetic, Jenn, Carlos Teixeira, Becca Carroll, Joanne Cheung, Susan O’Malley, and Megan Brewster. 2020. “Policy Prototyping for the Future of Work”. Read the full report Abstract

    Jenn Gustetic, Carlos Teixeira, Becca Carroll, Joanne Cheung, Susan O'Malley, and Megan Brewster; June 2020

    The future of work will require massive re-skilling of the American workforce for which current policy “toolboxes” for economics, labor, technology, workforce development and education are often siloed and antiquated. To meet the needs of tomorrow’s workers, today’s policy makers must grapple with these interdisciplinary policy issues.

    This report describes a novel design-driven approach we developed to create policy “prototype” solutions that are inherently interdisciplinary, human-centered, and inclusive for the future of work. Using our design-driven approach, we collaborated with more than 40 interdisciplinary and cross-sector thinkers and doers to generate 8 distinct policy prototypes to support the future of work.

    Fiscal Strategies to Help Cities Recover—And Prosper
    Goldsmith, Stephen, and Charles “Skip” Stitt. 2020. “Fiscal Strategies to Help Cities Recover—And Prosper.” Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. Read the full report Abstract

    Stephen Goldsmith, May 2020 

    Despite robust economies, many local officials entered 2020 already worried about budget balances that looked fragile in the short term and problematic in the long term due to enormous pension and health-care issues. Today, in the wake of COVID-19, clearly federal support is necessary, but it is also apparent that it cannot alleviate all the pressures on communities as responsibilities related to the pandemic skyrocket while revenues plummet.

    While many public managers will rightly deploy a host of tactical cost-cutting measures, the most creative among them will explore deeper and more strategic changes, such as those presented herein, which will help address the current crisis while preparing their cities for the future. This paper suggests a transition to a culture deeply focused on data, incentives for city workers to produce internal reforms, public-private partnerships that monetize operational excellence, and rapid adoption of both new technologies and good ideas borrowed from other jurisdictions. These more deliberate and strategic approaches may be harder to implement but those offered here need not harm incumbent public employees nor negatively impact cities’ efforts to ensure access and equity. Rather, the strategies we outline should strengthen the efficiency and mandates of existing government offices while helping make cities more resilient and better prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.

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