Harvard’s Ash Center Announces New Platform for Government Efficiency

March 13, 2017

Cambridge, MA – The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government launched today a new platform for government efficiency highlighting operational efficiency in government, which will play a central role in the Center’s highly regarded Innovations in American Government program.

The Operational Excellence Project, supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and conducted in partnership with United States Common Sense, focuses on the very best state and local approaches to operational effectiveness. The project surveyed thousands of recommendations from over 200 reports and identified the 30 best studies, and then highlighted and analyzed trends and challenges across jurisdictions. By pinpointing opportunities for cost savings, recommending proven efficiencies, and providing implementation guidance, the Operational Excellence project positions itself as a central resource for public-sector excellence. The project will help transform how state and local governments collaborate and implement best practices to achieve efficiency improvements.

 “We have reviewed the very best comprehensive efforts by cities, counties, and states to improve the quality of government services while also reducing costs,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center. “This unique collection, with its easy-to-use navigation and our related analyses, will bring enormous value to governments across the country, regardless of their size.”

An unprecedented endeavor in government operational excellence research, the Ash Center’s project curates opportunities for cost savings and efficacies from previously commissioned efficiency studies and emboldens other government entities to adopt best practices and process improvements.

Through compiling common themes, impactful examples, and replicable implementation guidelines across an array of government reports, the Operational Excellence project presents an unparalleled resource not only in its content but also in its free availability. The project, powered by the Government Innovators Network, will become a central resource for easily gaining insight into proven methods and practices from a wide range of efficiency studies. 

By collecting reports, analyzing best practices, and disseminating information in an accessible open-data platform, the Operational Excellence project builds capacity and momentum for fostering efficiency across all levels of governments.  

The Operational Excellence project represents the first component of the Ash Center’s Laura and John Arnold Foundation grant related to government excellence. As the project progresses, key components of the Operational Excellence project include:

  • Report documents. Reports featured on the Operational Excellence website are searchable by location and topic. The comprehensive nature of the reports provides many tangible examples for other jurisdictions to adopt efficiency efforts across a large number of themes.
  • A platform for best practices. The accumulated operational excellence themes and best practices are located in a central resource, providing an open-access platform for public-sector leaders to reflect on government efficiency within their own and within other jurisdictions.
  • Additional resources. The Operational Excellence project includes summaries, case studies, and short blog articles featuring report content and efficiency themes. The project’s website will continually update with additional reports, articles, and guidelines related to operational excellence and idea implementation. Project findings will be disseminated through social media and conference presentations.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu.

Contact Information:

Daniel Harsha
Associate Director for Communications
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
Harvard Kennedy School