Monday, July 9, 2012
Dan Chenok, the new Executive Director for the Center for the Business of Government, shares his thoughts on the history and direction of the organization.

For the last 14 years, the IBM Center for The Business of Government has implemented a mission of bringing external research and leadership perspectives to causes and potential solutions for hard problems facing the public sector.  With the retirement of Jonathan Breul after his very successful tenure as the Center’s Executive Director – Jonathan’s career and major information on government management are eloquently documented by Senior Fellow (and leader of many Center activities) John Kamensky’s recent blog – I now have the honor of working with the outstanding Center and IBM Public Sector leadership team to continue growing this mission.  A few thoughts on the Center follow; as the new Executive Director, I welcome a dialogue on how we can best move forward.

In 1998, PriceWaterhouseCoopers established the Center with the goal to help public sector leaders and managers address real-world public management problems. The Center built a strong set of programs, under the leadership of its first executive director, Mark Abramson, with the aim to produce research and analysis that helps government leaders more effectively respond to their mission and management challenges. During these first years and throughout integration into IBM, the Center is a key voice for how government can best manage the many challenges that it faces in serving citizens. 

The Center maintains three central content channels:

  • consistently released reports by experts, largely from academia and the non-profit sector, that analyze and recommend practical solutions for challenges facing government;
  • interviews with government leaders on their perspectives about key issues, which air on our weekly radio show, The Business of Government Hour on Federal News Radio 1500AM every Monday at 11AM and Wednesday at Noon; and
  • an integration of topics from the papers and interviews with viewpoints from the Center and other IBMers in a journal, The Business of Government (the journal and radio show are led by the Center’s outstanding radio host and editor Michael Keegan). 

These channels are strong, and will continue as cornerstones in the Center’s portfolio.  We look forward to further work with stakeholders from across and outside of government in leveraging them to help government understand problems and develop solutions.

More recently, the Center has engaged in a rich dialogue over social media about issues that government managers face daily, led by Social Media Director Gadi Ben-Yehuda.  Through blogs, tweets, and interactive discussions across a range of new media channels, we seek to bring real-time perspectives to current topics.  We will continue to evolve with the pace of innovation across this very collaborative platform, and seek to build more partnerships with other organizations who have similar perspectives – helping to identify synergies in perspective that can shed light on ongoing challenges for government stakeholders 

The Center also issues periodic original papers that address specific management issues facing government.  In the last year, we reported on major management imperatives facing the public sector today, and joined with National Academy for Public Administration and the Partnership for Public Service to develop recommendations for how Federal, State and local governments can work together and with non-profit and private sector groups to help deliver benefits more effectively.  We also are building new content to address particular management needs in the national security community, though a series of reports led by Senior Fellow Frank Strickland.  These kinds of near-term, in-depth analyses can help government to define problem areas and develop focused solution alternatives; we look forward to collaborating with government leaders and stakeholders on how best to make these kinds of reports achieve highest value.

Based on a tradition of creativity from its inception, steady and insightful leadership over the past several years, support from IBM Public Sector, and an outstanding team (including the individuals mentioned above, as well as Ruth Gordon and Shenna Humphrey who run our operations so effectively) the Center has bright road ahead.  I welcome the chance to collaborate with our government partners and stakeholders on continuing and enhancing our mission, to help to identify challenges and opportunities for leaders and managers in ways that benefit agencies -- and ultimately, the citizens who are well-served by the cause of better government.

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