IBM Center Funds Nine New Research Projects

This article was originally posted by Dan Chenok at the IBM Center for the Business of Government Blog.

Since the creation of the IBM Center for The Business of Government more than 15 years ago, we have sought to help public sector executives and managers address real-world problems by sponsoring independent, third-party research from top minds in academe and the nonprofit sector. This management research and analysis is intended to help public sector executives more effectively respond to their mission and management challenges.

Twice each year, the Center approves new projects from leading researchers. We are pleased to announce the latest round of awards, and welcome perspectives on these or related issues.

The Persistence of Innovation in Government: A Guide for Innovative Public Servants

Author: Sandford Borins, University of Toronto

Innovating effectively remains the most significant challenge facing public servants of all levels and jurisdictions. The nature of public sector innovation has changed markedly since the 1990s, yet important structural features persist in the methods of successful innovators. This report will provide a practical guide to both, based on a comprehensive study of the applications to the Harvard Kennedy School’s 2010 Innovations in American Government Awards, case studies, and interviews. Building on his previous reportThe Challenge of Innovating in Government, it will equip practitioners to address the persistent, essential challenge of twenty-first century innovation.

Crowdsourcing and the Department of Defense – Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Author: Gert-Jan de Vreede, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Crowdsourcing can address many issues the Department of Defense (DoD) is facing today. Although crowdsourcing is used currently, challenges unique to the DoD may affect the success of these efforts. These include the concern for classified or sensitive information that might be disclosed by participants, the overemphasis on cash prizes as motivators, and access to a dedicated cadre of participants. Through a series of in-depth cases, the author will gather best practices and lessons learned from crowdsourcing pioneers within the DoD, and make them actionable for others interested in implementing DoD crowdsourcing projects.

Decision Making Implications of Defining and Understanding Cyberspace

Author: Dr. Dighton Fiddner, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

The report will bring together interdisciplinary experts to define and delineate cyberspace to understand the security challenges it poses now that cyberwar is a reality (Estonia, Georgia, and Stuxnet). Experts will also consider relationships between cyberspace domain and traditional security domains and the extent strategic concepts from the latter apply in the former. Only better knowledge of cyber domain and its role in the strategic environment will allow decision makers to manage inherent uncertainty of decision making in cyberspace by identifying different strategic options which could lead to more sophisticated anticipation and better nuanced acceptable cost-benefit responses.

Mobile Apps in the Public Sector

Author: Sukumar Ganapati, Florida International University

Smart phones and other mobile devices are growing exponentially. Consequently, the use of mobile apps has also grown significantly. This report will focus on the use of mobile apps in the public sector, across federal, state, and local governments. The main purpose is to examine the range of mobile apps in public sector in terms of their functions and audience of use. The report will then identify the best practices in public sector apps and suggest practical methods to implement meaningful government apps.

Health Insurance Exchange: A Case Study in Federal, State, and Commercial Entity Collaboration

Author: Stephen Gantz, University of Maryland University College

This report will use a case study methodology to assess a key health care transformation initiative mandated by the Affordable Care Act that will establish health insurance exchanges intended to significantly reduce uninsured populations nationwide. The success of the insurance exchange program depends on an unprecedented level of cooperation among federal and state government agencies, commercial insurers and health care organizations, and the constituents the exchanges are intended to serve. This report will apply an analytical decision-support framework to the government’s health insurance exchange program to identify the cooperative approaches likely to result in successful outcomes.

Going Digital and Mobile for Innovative Public Engagement: A City Manager’s Handbook

Author: Sherri Greenberg, The University of Texas at Austin

This report will provide online and mobile technologies to improve city services via innovative public outreach. New technologies will facilitate coordination within city departments and foster better constituent input. The goal is to create two-way conversations, shortening the distance between government and its constituents. Cities will benefit from greater knowledge, collaboration, efficiencies, and consensus. The public will benefit from greater accountability and true partnerships with city government during the decision-making process. Innovation will flourish with increased city government transparency, which, in turn, will foster constituent trust in city government.

Managing Fiscal Stress: State Experiences and Impliations for Federal Agencies

Author: Philip Joyce, University of Maryland

The “Great Recession,” ushered in a new era in which budgetary challenges predominate at all levels of government. This report will focus on four states–Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, and Maryland—to review the experiences of state governments in managing fiscal stress. The proposed research will focus on the implications of budget reductions for management and will uncover promising practices that can reduce the impact of these reductions. The report will conclude with a series of recommendations, many of which are intended to guide federal program managers who face similar pressures over the next decade or more.

New Tools for Collaboration: The Experience of the U.S. Intelligence Community

Author: Gregory Treverton, RAND Corporation

This report will look across the ways the various U.S. intelligence agencies are using new tools — often labeled “social media” — to collaborate, both within agencies and, especially, across them. Throughout, it will make comparisons to private sector experiences of companies like GE, Google and MITRE, in particular to underscore some of the special constraints the Community faces. Over-all, however, despite the constraints of secrecy and organizatonal culture, U.S. intelligence has not done badly at beginning to incorporate new tools, and the report will include both interesting practices and provocative suggestions for the future.

Performance-Budget Integration: What Works and how to Achieve True Integration

Author: John Whitley, George Washington University

Informing budget decisions with performance data is essential for focusing government action on producing results. This performance-budget integration has been a major focus of recent Administrations, but meaningful integration has been elusive. One challenge has been the focus of recent efforts on improving performance information without addressing the budgeting processes. To achieve meaningful integration, both communities (performance and budgeting) must adapt their own processes and data products to the needs of the other. This report will review budgeting and performance processes and successful examples of performance-budget integration to illustrate how meaningful integration across the federal government can be achieved.

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