"What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"

Risk experts Doug Webster and Tom Stanton think not. Writing in a new report for the IBM Center for The Business of Government, they observe: “The front pages of national newspapers constantly report on actions by private companies, federal leaders, or agencies that do not appear to have considered the risks associated with various decisions and actions.

Transforming Government Like Disney?

Greg Godbout, the chief technology officer at the Environmental Protection Agency, suggests as much when he keynoted an AFCEA roundtable in Bethesda a couple weeks ago. According to Federal Times, he told the audience how Walt Disney World delivers a seamless experience: “Visitors to the theme park who are staying at a connected hotel can get a "Magic Band," a wrist band that unlocks the hotel room, grants admission to the park, reserves access to certain attractions and allows the guest to buy items at shops and charge them to the room.” He went on to say that it is “. . .

The Power of Progress: The Key to Employee Engagement

A recent study by two psychologists, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, concludes: “If you focus on supporting the daily progress of people working in your organization, you will not only foster the success of the organization but also enrich the everyday lives of your employees.” This simple, powerful insight isn’t obvious to managers. They surveyed managers, asking what they thought were the most important factors in influencing motivation and emotions at work. Managers ranked “recognition, incentives, interpersonal support, and clear goals” as top.

Weekly Roundup: June 1 - 5, 2015

Sequestration’s Long Tail. Federal News Radio reports that the 2013 sequester led the Defense department to suddenly cancel contracts or delay the development or fielding of new systems. This led to hundreds of millions in longer-term additional costs, to be felt in upcoming years. Standardizing Administrative Leave. Federal News Radio reports that the Office of Personnel Management has released a memo outlining steps it will take to standardize how agencies will report administrative leave costs.

Weekly Roundup: June 8 - 12, 2015

DATA Act Implementation Status. FedScoop sums up interviews with Treasury and OMB staff regarding the progress and upcoming deadlines for the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act. Federal Computer Week shares the enthusiasm of participants at a recent conference on the implementation of the DATA Act. Evolution of Federal Chief Operating Officers. Federal News Radio says a new report on the evolving role of agency chief operating officers, by the Partnership for Public Service, examines their challenges and priorities.

Can We Focus on What Works?

Last week, I attended a Senate hearing on wasteful spending in the federal government. Some of the witnesses pointed to examples such as the legislative requirement that the Defense Department ship coal to Germany to heat American bases there. Others pointed to failures of large-scale computer projects and the dozens of programs on the GAO’s High Risk List. While many of the examples given were seen as shocking, there was little conversation about focusing on what works and expanding those programs. Interestingly, there is a movement underway across the U.S. to do just that.

Weekly Roundup: June 15-19, 2015

CyberSprint Underway. Federal News Radio reports that federal CIO Tony Scott has given agencies 30 days to improve the security of their systems and data, following the data breech at the Office of Personnel Management. According to FNR: “Scott also announced the creation of a "Cybersecurity Sprint Team" to review current federal policies and procedures and recommend a new cyber strategy for civilian agencies.” Federal Personal Coaching Network Created.

Weekly Roundup: June 22-26, 2015

Chief Data Officers Want a Seat at the Table. Federal Times reports: “The Chief Data Officer is a new role for the few agencies that have one in place and many are still figuring out exactly what their purview should be. . . . Rather than report directly to the CIO, CDOs should be under the chief operating officer or agency head, CIOs Want to Focus on Mission. According to FedScoop, a panel of CIOs at a recent conference asked: "How can we get ourselves out of the IT business?". . . .

GovConnect: Connecting the Talent Dots

GovConnect is an initiative sponsored by the Office of Personnel Management that reflects broader trends in the workplace toward the use of project-based work.  It allows federal employees to share knowledge, collaborate, and apply their skills to address challenges that may be beyond their traditional job classification or organizational or geographic location.  Announced a year ago, it is currently being piloted within several agencies and is poised to be spread across the government in coming months.

Weekly Roundup: June 29 - July 2, 2015

DOD Nears Launch of Shared IT Services. According to Federal News Radio: “Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work signed a memo May 1 establishing the Joint IT Single Service Provider-Pentagon,” and that “the first phase of consolidation will affect about 63 organizations” in the next few weeks. Disaggregate Data to Make It Useful. Governing reporters, Richard Greene and Katherine Barrett, write: “An emphasis on disaggregating information has been growing in importance as states and cities tap into huge quantities of information for more sophisticated analyses.


Senior Fellow
IBM Center for The Business of Government
600 14th Street, NW Second Floor
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Mr. Kamensky is a Senior Fellow with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and an Associate Partner with IBM's Global Business Services.

During 24 years of public service, he had a significant role in helping pioneer the federal government's performance and results orientation. Mr. Kamensky is passionate about helping transform government to be more results-oriented, performance-based, customer-driven, and collaborative in nature.

Prior to joining the IBM Center, he served for eight years as deputy director of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government. Before that, he worked at the Government Accountability Office where he played a key role in the development and passage of the Government Performance and Results Act.

Since joining the IBM Center, he has co-edited six books and writes and speaks extensively on performance management and government reform.  Current areas of emphasis include transparency, collaboration, and citizen engagement.  He also blogs about management challenges in government.

Mr. Kamensky is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and received a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at: john.kamensky@us.ibm.com

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