Wednesday, January 14, 2015
We are pleased to announce our latest round of awards for new reports on key public sector challenges, which respond to priorities identified in the Center's long-term research agenda.

The Center for The Business of Government continues to support reports by leading thinkers on key issues affecting government today. We are pleased to announce our latest round of awards for new reports on key public sector challenges, which respond to priorities identified in the Center's long-term research agenda, see We expect the following reports to be published later in 2015. Short summaries of each report are included below. Recent Awards, to be Published Starting Summer 2015 Taking Inventory of Inventory Management in the Veterans Health Administration By Gary Young, Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Research, Northeastern University and Gilbert Nyaga, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University This report will discuss improvement opportunities for inventory management in the public sector. The report will be based in large part on an investigation of inventory management practices in the Veterans Health Administration, US Department of Veterans Affairs. While the investigation focused on inventory management at VA medical centers, many of the improvement opportunities and related best practices are applicable to government agencies engaged in activities other than healthcare delivery. These improvement opportunities pertain to involvement of senior leadership, data management and analytics, staff coordination, collaboration with suppliers, and staffing/training of logistics personnel. Designing the Social Intranet: A Managers’ Guide to Managing Knowledge in Government By Ines Mergel, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University and Chris Bronk, Computer and Information Systems, University of Houston This research report will provide insights into the design elements of social networking in the public sector, focusing on a number of case studies that include the Department of State’s social networking site Corridor. Such platforms are often designed to support the search for information resources, location of expertise, idea generation and vetting, information aggregation, and data visualization. The report will focus on the following activities that can help drive positive results: organizational knowledge creation, socialization of knowledge, and technological support of knowledge management activities. The report will be based on interviews with project managers and selected users, and a leadership survey to gain broader insights that can be transferred across the federal government. Replacing the Shuttle: Leadership, Change, and Public-Private Innovation By W. Henry Lambright, The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University The project will analyze how NASA leaders have used innovative public-private partnerships to develop a replacement for the space shuttle, retired in 2011. NASA has developed new policy mechanisms to enable private companies to take over cargo and astronaut transport to the International Space Station. Cargo delivery was successfully achieved in 2013, and crew transport is being currently developed. The study will analyze how this partnership strategy got on NASA’s agenda, was formulated and adopted as policy under the Bush White House and augmented under Obama. The report will draw lessons learned for other agencies on when and how best to lead and innovate through public-private partnerships. Understanding the Root Causes of the Federal Government's Riskiest Programs By Donald F. Kettl, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland Since 1990, the Government Accountability Office has been producing a "high risk list" of programs susceptible to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. This list not only provides a valuable guide to the problems plaguing individual programs. It is an important--but largely unexplored--database to analyze and solve the root causes of government's biggest management problems. What core issues cut across these programs? And what strategies and tactics can help solve these problems? This study will develop a root-cause analysis to answer these questions, with special attention to the forthcoming 2015 high-risk report. Measuring What Matters to Improve Government Contracting: Focus On Outcomes, Not Process by Professor Steven L. Schooner, Government Procurement Law Program, George Washington University Law School, and Nathaniel E. Castellano, George Washington University Law School Despite increased awareness of performance measurement, the government acquisition community too frequently tolerates fully “compliant” purchases that provide sub-optimal value to government customers for the funds expended. This report will help the government to evolve its evidence-based decision making by: (1) learning from the evolving private sector experience with customer satisfaction feedback by studying the experiences of companies that specialize in understanding consumer feedback; and (2) shifting the assessment focus from purchase price to outcome-oriented measures such as life-cycle cost or total cost of ownership. A Systems Approach to Managing Integrity Risks By Anthony D. Molina, Public Administration Program, Kent State University This study utilizes an integrity systems model to identify risks that government agencies and public managers face, as well as strategies that can be used to mitigate those risks. To that end, a multiple case study approach is used to assess the integrity systems of several large government and commercial healthcare systems. A toolkit of best practices will provide public managers with information they can utilize in order to mitigate integrity risks and build cultures that support ethical practices. Innovation in the Public Sector: A Game Plan for Creating IT-Based Innovation in the Federal Government By Gregory S. Dawson, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University and James S. Denford, Management & Economics Department, Royal Military College of Canada Government CIOs who had previously been highly visible and successful CIOs from the private sector have often faced challenges in achieving successful innovation outcomes for agencies over time. The authors have conducted prior innovation research about role of key players in the innovation ecosystem at the state level, and will extend their work through interviews with federal CIOs to understand what works in creating innovation at the federal level. The report will offer tools that federal CIOs can use to understand their current environment, envision the future and follow federal government best practices for innovation, and guide their evolution to successful outcomes. We congratulate these Center research award recipients, and look forward to sharing their reports in the coming months.