Monday, February 15, 2021
The IBM Center for The Business of Government continues to support research by recognized experts on public management issues, leading to actionable recommendations on current and future issues facing the public sector leaders.

The Center is pleased to announce our latest round of stipends for new reports on key public sector challenges, which respond to the priorities identified in the Center's research agenda. These reports will add great insight to the Center’s content, intended to stimulate and accelerate the pro­duction of practical research that benefits public sector leaders and managers. We expect the following reports to be published later this year.

“Using AI for Transforming Federal Acquisitions & Procurement” by Justin Bullock, Texas A&M University

This report addresses using AI to transform public procurement. The federal government spends more than $500 billion in the acquisition of goods and services annually. However, federal agencies face enduring challenges, including requirements definition, competition, pricing, contractor oversight, federal procurement data, acquisition workforce, and small business participation. The report will analyze opportunities and challenges of using AI to address these enduring challenges. The report will make recommendations about how to use AI to transform public procurement, thereby increasing speed, efficiency and effectiveness in acquiring goods and services and facilitating intelligent automation across the federal acquisition system.

“Management Insights on the Design and Implementation of Interorganizational Referral Networks – A Case Study of AmericaServes” by Julia Carboni, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

This report will provide public managers with insights and recommendations on designing and implementing interorganizational service referral networks that optimize system efficiency and provider accountability to achieve better outcomes for the clients of government service programs.  The report will focus on a case study of 11 AmericaServes network. AmericaServes is the country’s first coordinated system of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve veterans, transitioning service members, and their families. The report will use this analysis to address broader considerations in system design, referral technologies, and data-driven adaptive learning that promote greater system efficiency, client outcomes, and provider accountability.  The report will provide recommended action steps for public managers.

"Building a Pipeline for Executive-Level Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategies” by Kyle Farmbry, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University Newark

This project will explore strategies for increasing executive-level diversity initiatives in federal agencies. It will draw from a survey across agencies and an analysis of six of those agencies. The study will consider calls for enhancing institutional diversity in the aftermath of civic tensions around matters of race in 2020. The report will also consider recent findings by the Government Accountability Office on shortcomings in the diversity of the Senior Executive Service across federal agencies. The project will finally consider evolving strategies and recommendations for the new Administration regarding how best to achieve goals of promoting diversity and equity in leadership across key positions in federal agencies.

’Big Data’ Analytics – The Key to Modern Governmental Supply Chain Practices” by David Preston, Texas Christian University

Supply chain management (SCM) is fundamental practice of government organizations that provide products for stakeholders. These government organizations often lag in technological innovation, and as such their supply chain practices are affected accordingly. This report will examine the use of Big Data Analytics (BDA) to improve SCM in governmental organizations, as well as the impact of emerging intelligent automation technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the internet of things. Implications and recommendations for practice will be provided to government executives for actionable results in SCM across agencies.

“Managing in the ‘Next Normal:’ What the Shift to Remote Work Means for the Public Sector” by David Wyld, Southeastern Louisiana University

This report will take a “deep dive” into the changes in the way government works, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes are ushering in a “next normal,” with important implications for government leaders and stakeholders. This project aims to examine important questions and technology and process considerations for how to manage effectively in the new environment, where working remotely will increasingly become a preferred arrangement for workers and agencies. The report will inform understanding of this next evolution of work and will provide new and actionable insights for public managers.

“Guidance on Guidance: What the Biden Administration Needs to Know and Do to Engage the Public on Regulation” by Susan Yackee, La Follette School of Public Affairs

Federal agencies routinely issue guidance documents to clarify the meaning of existing statutes and regulations. Over time, guidance has become a principal regulatory tool. Traditionally, however, there has been no uniform way for agencies to issue guidance, no common process for public engagement, and no archival record of past policies. This creates a mismatch between: (1) the importance of this policy tool, and (2) the ability of the public to influence the policies that govern them. This research report will produce useful insights into current government practices for issuing guidance, how best to bring the public into the development and issuance of guidance through new innovation and process reforms, and timely recommendations for the new Administration to foster public engagement.

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