Innovating the Future-A Management Agenda for the President: What Is Happening, Why, and So What? as the First Year of the Obama Presidency Draws to an End, Some Assessment Is in Order

Article excerpt

In mid-2007, the Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) at Cisco Systems began an effort to contribute to the new administration's management initiatives--initiatives designed to better implement the President's policy agenda and improve the operations, effectiveness, and efficiency of the government. IBSG developed a four-part program, consisting of small group seminars, a publications program, coalition and collaboration activities, and a website devoted to new ideas in government.

Individuals who participated in the series of monthly seminars were invited to prepare articles for two issues of The Public Manager. Those articles appeared in the Winter 2007-2008 and Spring 2008 issues of the journal, and were reprinted in a special issue of the journal in Spring 2008. In addition, insights were posted on several blog sites, as well as the New Ideas website (

Since that time, of course, Barack Obama was elected president, a very smooth transition occurred, a new Cabinet came into office, sub-Cabinet positions and senior management jobs around government are being filled, with more still to come. During this same time, the financial markets seized up, credit froze, the economy went into a nosedive, and several huge financial, economic, and auto industry rescues were enacted. As the first year of the Obama presidency draws to an end, some assessment is in order.

Without suggesting a causal link, much of what was advocated in the Spring 2008 issue has come to fruition in 2009. In the President's FY 2010 budget, the administration's new management and performance agenda is based around the following themes:

* Putting performance first: Replacing the existing performance assessment rating tool (PART) with a new performance improvement and analysis framework

* Ensuring responsible spending of Recovery Act Funds

* Transforming the federal workforce

* Managing across sectors

* Reforming federal contracting and acquisition

* Enhancing transparency, technology, and participatory democracy. …