John D. Donahue is a GOVERNING contributor. He is the Raymond Vernon Lecturer in Public Policy, and faculty chair of the Harvard Kennedy School Case Program and the SLATE teaching initiative. His teaching, writing, and research mostly deal with public sector reform and with the distribution of public responsibilities across levels of government and sectors of the economy, including extensive work with the Harvard Kennedy School-Harvard Business School joint degree program. He has written or edited ten books, including "Disunited States" (1997), "The Privatization Decision" (1989, with four translations 1990-92) and "The Warping of Government Work" (2008). He served in the first Clinton administration as an Assistant Secretary, and then as Counselor to the Secretary of Labor.  A native of Indiana, he holds a BA from Indiana University and an MPP and Ph.D from Harvard.

June 30, 2010

Crisis and Innovation: Let the Bad Times Roll

Innovation appears to flourish in agencies under extreme pressure.

Cashless Innovation

Pressure, not money, appears to motivate innovation.
April 28, 2010

The Wrong Question About Business and Government

Don't ask how much the private sector should be involved in government, but how it should be involved.
February 3, 2010

Seeing Through Transparency

Transparency isn't all it's cracked up to be. Sometimes, it does actual damage to the public at large.
November 11, 2009

Business and Government: Collaborators or Competitors?

For years, government's greatest collaborator has been its greatest competitor. Can government and business ever realize a happy ending?
August 12, 2009

What Change Can We Believe In?

Successful campaigns to alter public behavior share common features.
May 27, 2009

Foreswearing Fashion in Public-Service Delivery

It's always tempting to seize on the latest fad. But slow, steady change is usually the right idea.
March 4, 2009

Managing Without Miracles

Reforming health care in the U.K. took clear thinking, determination and hard work.
November 5, 2008

The Upside of the Downturn

As private-sector hiring slows, government has better odds of getting the top talent it so urgently needs.
July 23, 2008

What Government Does

Hint: It mostly doesn't happen inside the Beltway.
April 16, 2008

The Right Kind of Accountability

Unlike the private sector, the public sector is accountable to multiple stakeholders with different priorities. John D. Donahue provides guidance on managing these competing demands.
September 5, 2007

The Department of Labor's Strange Stretch of Innovation

For a short time, it accounted for about 30 percent of federal Innovations winners. John D. Donahue explores this burst of inventiveness.
May 30, 2007

The End of the End of Government

As services are increasingly outsourced to non-profits, John D. Donahue writes, government's role becomes even more important.
February 28, 2007

Want to Buy a Used Road?

The risk to the public regarding privatizing public assets seems limited. It's investors who may be in for a few nasty surprises.
January 16, 2007

The Helplessness of Presidents (and Governors, and Mayors...)

Without public managers, chief executives are helpless.
November 5, 2006

Public Management's Uncertain Future

There are some worrisome signs that the near future could be even rockier than the recent past. There are also some serious causes for hope.
September 13, 2006

Government's Twisted Transformation

The transformation of America's public sector to date is limited and, worse, distorted. Second-order, silly, or questionable reforms have outpaced the fundamentals.
July 5, 2006

Outsourcing Perversity

Government outsources tasks that it shouldn't, and fails to outsource tasks that it should.
April 26, 2006

Innovating Against the Odds

Public-sector innovation is a special sort of challenge.
February 22, 2006

The Siren Song of 'The Other Thing'

The gravitation toward a third way is mostly sound. Yet a cautionary note is in order.