Networking for Improved Governance

Article excerpt

Networking for Improved Governance

Hurricane Katrina and government's response to other natural and man-made disasters have demonstrated how interdependent the 6 billion people on this small planet have become in the modern age. To bring it home to our community of public managers--especially in a time of drastically constrained resources and the public's sensibilities--one wonders to what extent key elements of public sector networks have become sufficiently linked with one another to form a highly collaborative, strategic-planning and management system.

Are largely segmented bureaucratic silos (rice bowls) beginning to work together with others to meet common challenges? How are units and officials at different levels of government held accountable for meeting shared outcomes? How are contractors (for example, private sector vendors, public not-for-profits, and nongovernmental organizations) held accountable for meeting outcome requirements in what has become a multi-sector workforce? And, what can be done to make these network participants more effective team members, with an eye toward improving both government performance AND the public's trust?

Strategic Learning and Performance Networks

To jumpstart our look at these questions, Jerry Ice offers his thoughts on what agencies can do to ensure that the government workforce is systematically exposed to current thinking, tools, and techniques on these matters. Next up, we take a look at how technology is affecting these issues. Steve Ressler describes how GovLoop provides an open, accelerated flow of information that has already begun fostering greater collaboration and improving performance across all levels of government. Similarly, Greg Nuyens demonstrates how collaborative technologies are creating efficiencies and generating better decisions in an agency environment with 3D tools that can be used for remote training, operations management, and research and development.

Focusing on results, Kathryn Kloby and Kathe Callahan make the case for aligning government performance management with community outcome measurement--basing their views on a recent study that profiles leading government programs in Washington and Oregon. Also, Thad Juszczak weighs in with Part II of his series on budgeting and performance management, arguing that a strategic hierarchy and measures and targets of success provide critical tools to manage for results. …