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What Do We Know About Inter-Organizational Networks?

December 10, 2014 Comments off

What Do We Know About Inter-Organizational Networks?
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

As Millennials join the workforce, they are bringing their propensity for social networking into the workplace. As a result, network-centered approaches to doing work will likely become more prevalent.

Government and non-profits have already been pioneering the use of collaborative networks over the past two decades to solve complex societal challenges such as clean waterways, reducing child abuse, serving the mentally ill in the community, and reducing smoking. Much of this pioneering work has been done without a roadmap of what works and when using networks is more effective than relying on traditional hierarchies or the marketplace to achieve public goals. The descriptive and theoretical literature to guide practitioners is growing rapidly, but without guideposts as to what to read and what to pay attention to.

But now there is someplace for both experienced network leaders and neophytes to go to learn more.

A special report by the IBM Center for The Business of Government digests the key academic literature written over the past decade: Interorganizational Networks: A Review of the Literature to Inform Practice, by Janice Popp, Brinton Milward, Gail MacKean, Ann Casebeer, and Ronald Lindstrom. According to the authors, this report has been under development for several years, largely as a labor of love to synthesize literature from various professional disciplines into a “one stop” resource guide.

Creating Innovation Offices That Work

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Creating Innovation Offices That Work
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

Innovation offices are being established by many governments—including cities (Austin, Philadelphia, Chicago), states (Maryland, Colorado, and Pennsylvania), and federal agencies (NARA, HHS, State Department). But not all offices are organized in the same way, and not all have the same mission or metrics. A new report, “A Guide for Making Innovation Offices Work,”by Rachel Burstein and Alyssa Black detail how these various innovation groups fall into structural categories and how their success metrics map to their missions.

Participatory Budgeting: Ten Actions to Engage Citizens via Social Media

October 3, 2014 Comments off

Participatory Budgeting: Ten Actions to Engage Citizens via Social Media
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

Participatory budgeting is an innovation in direct citizen participation in government decision-making that began 25 years ago in a town in Brazil.

It has since spread to 1,000 other cities worldwide and is gaining interest in U.S. cities as well.

Dr. Gordon’s report offers an overview of the state of participatory budgeting, and the potential value of integrating the use of social media into the participatory process design. Her report details three case studies of U.S. communities that have undertaken participatory budgeting initiatives. While these cases are relatively small in scope, they provide insights into what potential users need to consider if they wanted to develop their own initiatives.

Based on her research and observations, Dr. Gordon recommends ten actions community leaders can take to create the right participatory budgeting infrastructure to increase citizen participation and assess its impact. A key element in her recommendations is to proactively incorporate social media strategies.

A Manager’s Guide to Assessing the Impact of Government Social Media Interactions

June 18, 2014 Comments off

A Manager’s Guide to Assessing the Impact of Government Social Media Interactions
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

This new report addresses the key question of how government should measure the impact of its social media use. This question is gaining increased attention within government as agencies rely more heavily on social media to interact with the public, including disseminating information to citizens.

Many believe government has been successful in using social media over the last decade. Social media has also greatly assisted the current administration in fulfilling its Open Government Initiative to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration. Government managers now face the challenge of more effectively measuring public participation and the impact of social media outreach efforts. A key additional step involves the development of a social media strategy for an agency.

Social Media Metrics for Government: A New Manager’s Handbook

June 11, 2014 Comments off

Social Media Metrics for Government: A New Manager’s Handbook
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

One of the most important questions to ask during a job interview or when preparing for an annual review is: “What constitutes success” or “what does success look like.” For private sector organizations, there are often very easily quantifiable metrics: number and size of sales, or year-to-year growth. Even in the nonprofit sector, there can be widely-understood metrics: rate of growth for membership lists, the volume of participants at events, or the number of calls made or postcards sent during an awareness campaign.

Unfortunately, in the public sector, there aren’t always hard-and-fast metrics. Unlike many private-sector companies, it’s not as simple for public-sector organizations simply to report that they sold more widgets than in the previous year, or that they kept the sales constant while bringing down the cost of operations. Agency missions change and evolve, and while some agencies have predictable, stable workloads that are roughly the same one year to the next, others–say, disaster relief organizations–may literally have their activities dictated to them by the caprices of the weather.

For people who plan or execute social media activities, this question–“what does success look like”–has a special piquancy. On the one hand, there are already many tools to measure many aspects of social media engagement, and many more coming online all the time. But the risk, as ever, is that agencies can look at the wrong metric and begin to tailor their social media practices in the wrong ways, distracting themselves from, rather than advancing, their goals.

A new report, “A Manager’s Guide to Assessing the Impact of Government Social Media Interactions” aims to help managers understand the tools that agencies are using to determine if their social media efforts are advancing their strategic goals. The report is grounded in Obama administration’s Open Government initiative and provides insights on how social media interactions can help increase collaboration, participation, and transparency by harnessing the use of new technologies. The insights are derived from qualitative in-depth interviews with social media managers in the U.S. federal government, review of existing social media strategies and policies, and academic literature study.

Best Practices for Succession Planning in Federal Government STEMM Positions

June 2, 2014 Comments off

Best Practices for Succession Planning in Federal Government STEMM Positions
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

Job growth in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical (STEMM) professions is anticipated to increase faster than the supply of students studying in these fields.

In fact, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology estimates that, given present trends, there will be one million fewer STEMM graduates over the next decade than the nation is expected to need.

The federal government has developed a strategy to close this gap for the nation as a whole, but has yet to develop a plan to close the gap for itself. The federal government today is a major employer of STEMM graduates and will need more in the years ahead. For example, more than two-thirds of NASA employees are scientists and engineers, and NASA has one of the oldest workforces in the federal government, so many NASA employees are nearing retirement.

This report outlines six steps for federal agencies dependent on STEMM employees to take now. The report also discusses how agencies’ STEMM leaders and human capital staffs can work together to ensure that their agencies have the right mix of expertise to meet mission requirements today and in the future. These steps include:

  • Formulating a strategy for succession planning
  • Identifying, selecting, developing, and tracking leadership candidates
  • Placing candidates into leadership positions
  • Evaluating results

Adapting the Incident Command Model for Knowledge-Based Crises: The Case of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

May 14, 2014 Comments off

Adapting the Incident Command Model for Knowledge-Based Crises: The Case of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

The federal government has developed increasingly sophisticated approaches to addressing emergencies and crises. One successful management model is the incident command system (ICS), which was initially developed in the 1970s as a command-and-control approach for fighting forest fires, but has since been adapted to other policy domains. The Department of Homeland Security adopted the ICS model—which it renamed the National Incident Management System (NIMS)—and required its use at all levels of government in emergency and crisis situations.

This report is a case study of one science-based agency—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services—which sought to use the standard NIMS model but ultimately developed a significantly revised approach to incident management. The report finds that the transformation happened because the CDC is required to produce authoritative knowledge during a crisis. This calls for a different response structure than might work for direct, frontline operations.

While the CDC experience is but a single case, it demonstrates that the ICS model can be applied as a governance approach outside the context in which it was originally developed—direct operational control of an emergency situation. As a result, the CDC experience in using, and successfully adapting, the ICS model may be useful in other “knowledge-based” agencies such as the National Weather Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the Environmental Protection Agency. The report concludes with a set of recommendations to consider in applying the model to other agency settings.

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