Management Insights

Participatory Democracy’s Emerging Tools

As we explore the role of new technologies in changing how government makes policies and delivers services, one form of technology is emerging that has the potential to foster decision-making that's not only more effective but also more legitimate: platforms for organizing communication by groups across a distance.

Long known as groupware in the business world, such tools now are either being adapted or purpose-built to facilitate conversation and collaboration between government and citizens with the goal of enabling democracy that is more participatory and inclusive of diverse voices. READ MORE

Government’s Management Failures to Come

As new governors build their administrations, their minds are understandably focused primarily on their policy legacies. After all, most of them ran to make a difference in the lives of their citizens. Now is the time they are asked to deliver on their promises and policy prescriptions. But while these are exciting times for governors, they should remember the words of one of their predecessors, the late governor Mario Cuomo of New York: "You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose."

What does this mean for new chief executives? Regardless of their high-minded and passionate promises, governors, like presidents, will be held accountable for all manner of policy-delivery and management failures that were never even thought about in their campaigns. READ MORE

The Government Workforce in an Era of Wage Stagnation

There's been a lot of talk lately about wage stagnation among middle-class workers, but there is growing evidence that this may be an even larger issue for state and local government employees -- one likely to make it harder for these governments to attract and retain the workforces they need.

Unlike the private sector, state and local government employment remains smaller than it was before the Great Recession. At its peak in 2008, these governments had 19,748,000 employees. In the six years after that, states and localities shed an estimated 565,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). READ MORE

Government 2020: Imagining the Future

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. But how could the world of government be different if we could not only envision the future -- how things might be in, say, the year 2020 -- but also prepare for it?

Most senior public officials are so busy putting out fires and running their operations from day to day that it's hard for them to get a chance to think about technological and other trend lines and how they might impact the way governments operate and citizens are served. So let's step back and take a quick tour through government's possible not-so-distant future: READ MORE

A Mayor’s Test for Good Decisions

Decisions are what government executives, elected officials and civic leaders do. They may make them in groups or alone, in public or private, but they spend a great deal of time preparing for, making and carrying out decisions. Which begs the question: How do we know if we're making good decisions?

We certainly know what good decisions are supposed to do: Solve problems or fulfill opportunities without creating equal or greater problems. These unintended consequences often take time to develop, so it's hard to judge decisions right away. As time passes, though, we can usually see the good and the bad more clearly. That's why support for past decisions either grows or melts away. READ MORE