Stefan Rajewski – Fotolia.com
The Open Government Initiative of the Obama Administration has given high priority to increasing the use of collaboration in the federal government. Yet many federal offices have not in the past encouraged the sort of collaborative mindset that is necessary for meaningful efforts in this direction.
As William Eggers and John O’Leary have noted, it’s often the failure to work inclusively that leads to disappointment or even disaster, as they discuss in the fatal tunnel collapse of Boston’s Big Dig project. If We Can Put a Man on the Moon draws lessons from many other examples of what can go wrong when government tries to solve the big problems.
What I want to look at in this post, though, is one of the major positive cases they cite: the successful effort to reform the healthcare system in Massachusetts. Their summary of key steps in that process nicely defines the elements that characterize good collaborative work to solve a critically important public problem. It’s a useful example for federal officials to keep in mind as they move ahead with the Open Government Initiative. Although this case occurs in a legislative context, the model can be effective in most public policy settings.
Here are the major steps they single out: Read more »