Management Insights

The Role of the Customer Experience in the Value of Government

We pay an inordinate amount of attention to the price or cost of government. It's time to transition the discussion to the value of government. Governments that provide the consumers of their services--their citizens, businesses and residents--with a satisfying consumer experience also go a long way toward creating a sense of place, that all-important feeling of connection and belonging so central to a community's well-being.

As democratic institutions, governments are responsible for delivering services and programs in an equitable manner and for creating social goods--public safety, infrastructure, education--that individuals otherwise would be unable to achieve on their own. But progressive leaders also recognize that ours is increasingly an experience-based economy. READ MORE

Public Employees and the Path to Resilience

Resilience -- the ability to bounce back from a significant challenge -- is on many professionals' minds these days. Schoolteachers, middle managers, psychologists, leaders in homeland security and others are trying to learn where resilience comes from and how to help people develop it. Given the enormous demands on government employees today, it's no surprise that resilience is on their minds as well.

How does resilience develop? Why is it that a child who demonstrates great resilience has a sibling who shows little or none? Can resilience be learned? Recent research on resilient children offers some clues to these important questions. READ MORE

Why We Need to Take the ‘Fire’ Out of ‘Fire Department’

It's arguably the best known, least acknowledged and most inconvenient truth in local government: "Fire departments" -- in the precise meaning of that label -- no longer exist anywhere in America.

Thousands of official entities bear this or a similar moniker. But given what they and their employees actually do, "Emergency Medical, Incident Response and Every-Once-in-a-While-an-Actual-Fire Department" would be far more accurate. READ MORE

Can Comprehensive Collaboration Improve Outcomes for Students?

Three years ago I wrote about the shared law-enforcement arrangements in King County, Wash., where the county sheriff's department provides services to 12 municipalities while allowing sufficient distinction within its ranks to give all of the customer jurisdictions a sense of having "their own" police force.

As that initiative has grown, so has a highly regarded collaboration across multiple local school districts in south Seattle and southern King County. The Road Map Project is a stunning array of foundations, educators, community organizations, parents and researchers aimed at doubling the number of students who are on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential by 2020. READ MORE

Public Services and the Wonders of the Third Week in August

Residents of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area have a number of viable public transportation options, including a subway system, buses and train service to other parts of the region. Yet, the region has some of the worst highway traffic congestion in the United States.

But every year, with the arrival of the third week in August, the pressure on the region's transportation infrastructure eases. Tourist season winds down, so the number of out-of-town visitors dwindles to a trickle. Congress is usually out of session at that time, which frees lawmakers' staffs to take time off and even take leave of the area. And many of the region's commuters are away on vacation. READ MORE