John M. Bernard, a senior fellow of the Governing Institute, is the president of John M. Bernard LLC and was the founder of Portland, Ore.-based Mass Ingenuity. He is the author of Government That Works: the Results Revolution in the States and Business at the Speed of Now. With a focus on teaching public-sector leaders to apply business best practices to the work of government, he has worked with leadership in Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state.

Bernard has an extensive business background, having worked globally as an executive in everything from a high-tech startup to multibillion-dollar financial-services companies and manufacturing firms. He has a degree in mass communications and journalism from the University of Portland.

July 22, 2019

Why Government Needs to Get to Know Its Customers

Identifying them and their needs is the first step to serving them better and reducing wasted effort.
November 16, 2017

Government’s Vital Role in Helping People Thrive

Spending a little on early intervention can save a lot of money over the long term and help people function in society. Systems thinking provides a framework for preventing failure.
April 19, 2017

The Scoreboards That Government’s Front-Line Workers Need

To improve processes, it's crucial for everyone to be able to see how they're doing in real time.
January 20, 2017

The Chief Operating Officer That Every State Needs

As the private sector has shown, it's a way to produce effective management and efficiency across a complex enterprise.
September 6, 2016

Can a Japanese Business Process Help Solve Our Complex Social Problems?

Governments are using the "Lean" model to bring efficiency to their operations. But it could be doing a lot more.
June 20, 2016

Failure-Proofing Government

Comprehensive performance management is the key for the long term. But for the short term, there's nothing wrong with a Band-Aid.
May 29, 2013

How Going 'Lean' Fattened a Lottery's Payoff

A team at the Washington state lottery found a way to better adapt to retailers' needs. The result was a big boost in sales.
February 21, 2013

Fixing a Process that No Longer Makes Sense

An Oregon agency found ways to cut the time it takes to do background checks by more than half. With inefficient processes and duplicative services rife in government, that's just the beginning of the journey.
November 13, 2012

Leading the Way on 'Lean'

Washington state has made one of government's strongest commitments to this approach to government efficiency, one that's likely to survive a change in administrations.
October 15, 2012

The Opening Door to Government Transformation

When the elections are over, a new crop of leaders will face the same old challenges. Let's hope they will approach those challenges with new thinking.
September 25, 2012

Delivering Services with Agility and Flexibility

Oregon has a unique approach to designing its health-care programs: a management system that aims to eliminate silos.
August 1, 2012

What’s Your Magic Number?

Organizations usually have just a few leading indicators -- sometimes a single number -- that will predict success or identify problems.
June 19, 2012

Our Efficiency-Killing Tangle of Laws

Governments produce tens of thousands of new laws every year, confusing citizens and driving business away. Instead of more laws, what we need is a focus on outcomes.
June 1, 2012

The Unintended Benefits of Measuring Performance

Just putting measurement tools in place can improve existing processes — not months or years down the road, but right away.
May 3, 2012

The Value of Data for Oregon’s Troubled Youth

A corrections agency’s effort to use data on what works to inform its professionals’ decisions promises better outcomes for those in its care.
March 19, 2012

Who Owns Government Efficiency?

Professional managers will always be key, but lawmakers who care about efficient government can have a big role to play.