Publications

    Steve Kelman, Spring 1998

    The effort to reinvent the federal procurement system is widely regarded by outside observers as having undergone significant reform. The paper presents an account of successful innovation in government procurement (the way the federal government buys goods and services from the private sector for government use) initiated and pursued by the White House during the Clinton Administration. Steven Kelman is a Professor of Public Management at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. From 1993 to 1997, he was administrator at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. One of the more promising trends in government reform, which we have seen in applications to the Innovations in American Government program, and which is occurring across all levels of government, has to do with new practices in procurement. In his position, Professor Kelman played key roles in federal reforms that have occurred in the past five years.

    CompStat: New York, NY – 1996 Innovations Winner

    The dramatic reduction in crime in New York City during the 1990s grabbed the attention of the U.S. and the world, seeming to provide evidence that new policy and management approaches could make an enormous difference for the better. This case tells the story of key management decisions that the New York Police Department itself credits with the successful attack on the city's crime rate. Specifically, it describes the approach of Police Chief William Bratton in assembling a core, reform-oriented management team and the development of a computerized crime tracking system used as the foundation for the targeting of police manpower. The epilogue raises the dramatic question of whether the goal of minimizing the misuse of force by police officers is also amenable to the measurement techniques successfully employed to the activity of criminals. This case, in addition to the questions it raises, provides a powerful telling of one of the most successful public sector management initiatives of recent times.

    Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government

    Mark H. Moore, Harvard University Press, 1997

    A seminal figure in the field of public management, Mark Moore presents his summation of 15 years of research, observation, and teaching about what public sector executives should do to improve the performance of public enterprises. Useful for both practicing public executives and those who teach them, this book explicates some of the richest of several hundred cases used at Harvard Kennedy School and illuminates their broader lessons for government managers. Moore addresses four questions that have long bedeviled public administration: What should citizens and their representatives expect and demand from public executives? What sources can public managers consult to learn what is valuable for them to produce? How should public managers cope with inconsistent and fickle political mandates? How can public managers find room to innovate? Moore's answers respond to the well-understood difficulties of managing public enterprises in modern society by recommending specific, concrete changes in the practices of individual public managers: how they envision what is valuable to produce, how they engage their political overseers, and how they deliver services and fulfill obligations to clients.

    CompStat: New York, NY – 1996 Innovations Winner

    This abridgment is based on the case ”Assertive Policing, Plummeting Crime: The NYPD Takes on Crime in New York City” (1530.0). The abridgment of the case divides the story of the change in the New York Police Department into three, roughly chronological parts – the diagnosis of the crime and organizational problems, the development of a new system of practices and incentives and a description of the variety of impacts which the new ”assertive policing” regime appeared to have. The three parts (1557.3, 1558.3, 1559.3) and Epilogue (1557.1) can be used individually or together. They should not be used along with the full case and sequel (1530.0, 1530.1) but should, instead, be considered a substitute approach.

    Alan A. Altshuler, Fall 1997 

    This is the first paper in a series dedicated to understanding innovation in public problem solving. American policy elites and the general public are deeply ambivalent about the desirability of bureaucratic innovation in the public sector. Yet there is broad agreement on the need to improve government performance. It is hard to imagine how that can be achieved without both encouraging public servants at all levels to take responsibility for performance and giving them some leeway to pursue it. In turn, it is difficult to imagine how incentives can be altered to encourage such innovation unless elected officials first become convinced that it is compatible with their own political interests.

    Maine Top 200 Experimental Targeting Program: U.S. Department of Labor – 1995 Innovations Winner

    The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, created by Congress in 1970 to curtail what was viewed as a still-alarming level of industrial accidents, had, 20 years later, become a lightning rod for controversy. Its advocates viewed it as a bulwark of the defense of sale working conditions but opponents portrayed it as abusively intrusive, creating bureaucratic nightmares for employers. With that backdrop – and with dwindling manpower and other resources – OSHA officials in Maine, in 1991, try a radically different approach to their task, targeting 200 businesses which data has told them are the state’s most important to bring into compliance. OSHA hopes both to avoid diluting the inspection capacity it has – and to find ways to persuade, rather than to coerce through the law, business to make improvements. The apparent success of the Maine 200 program comes at a time when the new Clinton Administration is eager to find such government ”reinvention” programs it can widely replicate. This case allows, first, for analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Maine 200 effort as an example of gaining compliance through a new form of enforcement, and, second, for discussion of the complications, and advisability, of taking a small program ”to scale.”

    CityWork: Louisville, KY – 1995 Innovations Winner

    The belief of Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Jerry Abramson in improved service to citizen ”customers” leads to the 1989 establishment of a centralized complaint/information system – a single phone number to which complaints or inquiries about any of the city’s 25 departments can be made. But despite apparent success and a high public profile, managers of the ”CityCALL” system become frustrated with what they view as inefficiencies in their relationships with other city agencies. Some are linked to CityCALL by computer; others show little apparent inclination to cooperate. The case calls for consideration of how CityCALL could be improved through the vehicle of Louisville's ”CityWork” system, in which public employees, in a retreat-style setting, are called upon to offer specific suggestions for change. The case explores the evolution of an innovative program – its unexpected side effects and the sorts of resistance it encounters. It highlights, as well, Mayor Abramson's contention that a system of cooperative program evaluation – CityWork – can lead to efficiencies which rival public/private competitive bidding and other ”privatization”-style strategies.

    CityWork: Louisville, KY – 1995 Innovations Winner

    The belief of Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Jerry Abramson in improved service to citizen ”customers” leads to the 1989 establishment of a centralized complaint/information system – a single phone number to which complaints or inquiries about any of the city’s 25 departments can be made. But despite apparent success and a high public profile, managers of the ”CityCALL” system become frustrated with what they view as inefficiencies in their relationships with other city agencies. Some are linked to CityCALL by computer; others show little apparent inclination to cooperate. The case calls for consideration of how CityCALL could be improved through the vehicle of Louisville's ”CityWork” system, in which public employees, in a retreat-style setting, are called upon to offer specific suggestions for change. The case explores the evolution of an innovative program – its unexpected side effects and the sorts of resistance it encounters. It highlights, as well, Mayor Abramson’s contention that a system of cooperative program evaluation – CityWork – can lead to efficiencies which rival public/private competitive bidding and other ”privatization”-style strategies.

    Competition and Costing: Indianapolis, IN – 1995 Innovations Winner

    When the city of Indianapolis adopts a policy leading to head-to-head competition for contracts between public and private sector bidders, public departments such as the city’s motor vehicle maintenance facility find themselves in a brave new world. This case examines the point-by-point construction of the Indiana policy Fleet Services bid for the right to perform both routine and non-routine maintenance on the city’s motor vehicles and equipment, ranging from police cars to garbage trucks. It is designed to familiarize students with the process of understanding a public sector Request for Proposals (RFP) and developing a bid in response. It calls on students to understand the city's budget, its contractual relationship with organized labor, the potential use of employee merit pay and the variety of incentives, both for good or ill, that can arise by virtue of the way a contract is drafted. Thus the case is useful both for those interested in the public-private bidding process and for those interested in the drafting of public contracts.

    Competition and Costing: Indianapolis, IN – 1995 Innovations Winner

    During his successful 1991 bid for the Indianapolis mayoralty, Stephen Goldsmith is clear about his preference for privatizing city services. Once in office, however, Goldsmith decides on a different, more complex approach. The inefficiency of publicly-provided services, he reflects, may not be the result of their being public but rather a reflection of the lack of competition over who will provide them. In that light, Goldsmith undertakes a bold experiment: to force city departments to bid against private providers. This case focuses on the first stages of the Goldsmith experiment, a time in which city public works crews must, for the first time, compete against private firms for a pothole repair contract. The case raises core questions as to how to structure public-private competitions to ensure that valid comparison will be possible, as well as how to determine the exact nature of public costs. In addition, it allows for discussion of more theoretical questions as to whether some functions must always be public, while others should be private and still others privately-provided but publicly-financed.

    CityWork: Louisville KY – 1995 Innovations Winner

    This is a public sector total quality management (TQM) case. Louisville, Kentucky Mayor Jerry Abramson, early in his second term, finds himself dissatisfied with what is ostensibly a significant string of accomplishments – among them economic development, housing and urban beautification projects. He finds himself wanting to do more than cut ribbons on new initiatives, though, and seeks, in addition, to change the way the ongoing, core departments of city government serve the public. In an effort to bring a customer orientation to such agencies as Louisville’s public works department, Abramson recruits a major local private employer – General Electric – to design a training program to bring its ”total quality” approach to the public sector. The case tells the story of the origins and effects of the GE/Louisville partnership.

    Wraparound Milwaukee: Milwaukee County, WI – 2009 Innovations Winner

    This video is a companion piece to the “Bringing Kids Home: The Wraparound Milwaukee Model“ case study (case number 1927.0). The Wraparound Milwaukee program was created in 1995 by Milwaukee County, Wisconsin and provides services and treatment to severely emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children and youth. The program utilizes the “wraparound philosophy” to provide the children and youth it serves with a highly individualized, community, and strength-based approach to care. The delivery of services is facilitated by a Care Coordinator who works with the family to choose the right services from Wraparound Milwaukee’s network of individual providers and community based organizations. The program’s funding is pooled from several state and county agencies. Wraparound Milwaukee’s innovative approach to care has brought considerable savings to the county: $3,878 per month per child for Wraparound Milwaukee, versus $8,000-$10,000 per month per child that the county paid for residential placement. Wraparound Milwaukee has seen positive outcomes in the youth it serves after disenrollment in terms of clinical health indicators, as well as other indicators.

    Info/California: California – 1993 Innovations Winner

    New, computer-based technologies offer the prospect of new ways for government to provide services for citizens. That was the hope of the director of the data center of California’s Health and Welfare Agency when, in 1991, he developed a new interactive ”kiosk” that would allow citizens to transact business with the state government without going to a government office. Licenses, permits and answers to questions could be obtained through a service which director Russell Bohart believed should ”go where the people are, as opposed to making everybody come to government.” In introducing the new system, however, Bohart found himself under pressure from state agencies which wanted to interactive technology to be located not at shopping malls and strip centers but in their own offices, as a means of replacing or supplementing employees. Bohart would have to decide which vision of his interactive kiosk was the right one and, if he stuck to his original concept, how to cope with the demands in conflict with it.

    Low-Income Assisted Mortgage Program: West Virginia – 1993 Innovations Winner

    When a local chapter of the Habitat for Humanity organization learns that a state-chartered development fund might be able to provide it with financial help, the non-profit organization faces a decision. Should it accept funds from a public agency? Would doing so jeopardize its independence and push the organization in directions it might not want to go? So, too, does the Development Fund face decisions as it contemplates aiding the non-profit, which builds small homes for the near-poor, in part through the use of volunteer labor. Should Habitat’s religious affiliation bar the Fund from helping it? Should Habitat be allowed to retain control over who gets to purchase the homes it builds? This case focuses on the intersection of the public and non-profit sectors and raises questions about when they should or shouldn't overlap.

    Info/California: California – 1993 Innovations Winner

    The growth of the kind of new interactive technologies promise to make it more convenient and less expensive for government, like private providers of consumer goods and services, to serve its customers – whether they seek a driver’s license or unemployment compensation. Incorporating such technologies implies change, however, and, as this case makes clear, requires decisions about when and how automated transactions should be the norm. The story of the Info/California decision focuses on competing visions of a new, interactive system which promises to allow Californians to obtain records, licenses and program information of all sorts. For its champion within state government, it makes most sense for a scarce number of interactive terminals to be placed in public areas – supermarkets, malls and the like. He must, however, face a demand by a state agency that a terminal be used to make up for laid-off employees in a place where the public has been accustomed to going for records and licenses. Developed for the Kennedy School’s Program on Strategic Computing, this case allows for discussion of the relationship between mission and technology.

    Washington State Workers’ Compensation: Washington – 1992 Innovations Winner

    Like many such systems, the Washington State Workers’ Compensation Administration was, in the mid-1980s, in deep financial distress. Worse still, its fiscal problems were matched by deep problems of efficiency and morale, particularly in its crucial Claims Administration Unit, which called into question the agency’s ability to put its house in order. Under intense public and political pressure, a new team of administrators buys time through stopgap financial steps, before turning to the daunting task of internal structural reform, focused on the claims unit. The case provides rich detail of both the political and production operation issues which administrators confronted, including its strategy of breaking a claims log-jam by terminating a long-established ”assembly-line” claims process. Adopted in its place is a new structure which encouraged employees to take holistic responsibility for compensation claims and worker rehabilitation. The case raises the complications of worker morale, union relations and political and business pressures with which administrators coped, knowing that the possibility of privatization was a real alternative. They struggled both to put the department on its feet and to demonstrate a raison d’etre for a public system. Ultimately, their efforts were recognized by an Innovations in American Government program award.

    Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network: Philadelphia, PA – 1991 Innovations Winner

    When Wilson Goode becomes the first African-American mayor of Philadelphia, he must find ways to fulfill a particularly visible campaign pledge: elimination of the graffiti which mar public buildings throughout poorer sections of the city and particularly in the North Philadelphia black wards crucial to Goode’s victory. This tells the story of a series of quite different compliance strategies pursued by a new city agency specifically created to curtail graffiti and housed within the mayor’s office. The anti-graffiti effort first conceives the problem in social terms and initiates a series of efforts to deal with the ”roots” of the graffiti problem, specifically the alienation and joblessness which may affect graffiti writers. Public pressure builds, however, for the city to adopt a more aggressive enforcement posture, viewing graffiti as a criminal act which must be swiftly punished. The case allows for discussion of the nature of public compliance and how it is achieved.

    The Blackstone Project: Preventing Pollution Before it Happens – 1991 Innovations Winner

    This case examines the origins and follows the implementation of a radical restructuring of the way the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection conducts inspections of industrial facilities. Specifically, it tells the story of a pilot program designed both to change the way in which inspections were carried out and the purpose of inspections. The Blackstone Project moved to replace inspections conducted by technical specialists in specific areas – air, water, hazardous waste – with ”cross-media” inspections, in which one inspector would consider an industrial operation as a whole. The project represented a radical departure for a department in which technical specialists had their own culture and history. At the same time, it represented an attempt to replace traditional law enforcement with pollution prevention – single inspectors acting as much as advisors for firms as law enforcers. This meaty case allows for analysis of the ways in which an organization's internal structure relates to its overall mission.

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