Smart Management

An Intriguing New Approach to Funding Social Programs

I've always been fascinated by the challenge of finding funding for front-end investment for programs that promise downstream, long-term savings. Early childhood education, geriatric fall prevention, prisoner recidivism, permanent supportive housing -- are examples of programs that appear to pay for themselves.

One set of challenges is programmatic: selection of an evidence-based intervention; identification of a sufficiently narrow group of high-risk individuals to avoid prohibitively high costs; execution of the intervention with sufficient fidelity to achieve expected outcomes; and rigorous evaluation to determine whether cost avoidance has been achieved. READ MORE

HR Directors Get a Personnel Downgrade

It’s always been tough to run a state’s department of human resources. And since the beginning of the Great Recession, it’s gotten even more difficult as pay freezes, reductions in workforce size, and increasing co-pays for health and pensions have demoralized workers.

With workforces under great stress, you might think that governors and other high-level state officials would be listening ever more carefully to the reports of their HR leaders. READ MORE

Twitter Tips, Aging IT Workers, Book Recommendations and More

Do you, or your government, use Twitter to get information out to the public? Researchers at Cornell University have developed an algorithm that may help you be more successful. They offer a number of easy-to-follow recommendations including use the word “please,” convey an opinion, use third person pronouns and keep the tweet as easy to read as possible.

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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

The Paradoxical Truth About Efficiency Commissions

Over time, many states and cities have established so-called “efficiency commissions” in efforts to get the most out of the dollars they spend. Very recently, New Hampshire issued a report from such a commission that included business people, agency representatives and labor unions. It was run by a former CEO of the high-tech firm Autodesk. The report includes 18 recommendations.

MORE: This appears in the free Management e-newsletter. Subscribe here. READ MORE