Dealing with Dysfunction: Innovative Problem Solving in the Public Sector

Brookings Institution Press
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How can we intervene in the systemic bureaucratic dysfunction that beleaguers the public sector? De Jong examines the roots of this dysfunction and presents a novel approach to solving it. Drawing from academic literature on bureaucracy and problem solving in the public sector, and the clinical work of the Kafka Brigade—a social enterprise based in the Netherlands dedicated to diagnosing and remedying bureaucratic dysfunction in practice, this study reveals the shortcomings of conventional approaches to bureaucratic reform. The usual methods have failed to diagnose problems, distinguish symptoms, or identify root causes in a comprehensive or satisfactory way. They have also failed to engage clients, professionals, and midlevel managers in understanding and addressing the dysfunction that plagues them. This book offers conceptual frameworks, theoretical insights, and practical lessons for dealing with the problem. It sets a course for rigorous public problem solving to create governments that can be more effective, efficient, equitable, and responsive to social concerns.

De Jong argues that successfully remedying bureaucratic dysfunction depends on employing diagnostics capable of distinguishing and dissecting various kinds of dysfunction. The “Anna Karenina principle” applies here: all well functioning bureaucracies are alike; every dysfunctional bureaucracy is dysfunctional in its own way. The author also asserts that the worst dysfunction occurs when multiple organizations share responsibility for a problem, but no single organization is primarily responsible for solving it. This points to a need for creating and reinforcing distributed problem solving capacity focused on deep (cross-)organizational learning and revised accountability structures. Our best approach to dealing with dysfunction may therefore not be top-down regulatory reform, but rather relentless bottom-up and cross-boundary leadership and innovation. Using fourteen clinical cases of bureaucratic dysfunction investigated by the Kafka Brigade, the author demonstrates how a proper process for identifying, defining, diagnosing, and remedying the problem can produce better outcomes.
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About the author

Jorrit de Jong is Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. He is also Academic Director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. His research and teaching focus on the challenges of making the public sector more responsive and more resilient through innovation.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Sep 13, 2016
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780815722076
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Human Resources & Personnel Management
Political Science / American Government / National
Political Science / Public Affairs & Administration
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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A respected, long-time Republican strategist, ad-maker, and contributor for The Daily Beast, skewers the disease that is destroying the conservative movement and burning down the GOP: Trumpism.

In Everything Trump Touches Dies, political campaign strategist and commentator Rick Wilson brings his darkly funny humor and biting analysis to the absurdity of American politics in the age of Trump. Wilson mercilessly exposes the damage Trump has done to the country, to the Republican Party he served for decades, and to the conservative movement that has abandoned its principles for the worst President in American history.

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Combining insider political analysis, blunt truths, and black humor, Everything Trump Touches Dies is perfect for those on either side of the aisle who need a dose of unvarnished reality, a good laugh, a strong cocktail, and a return to sanity in American politics.
While governments around the world struggle to maintain service levels amid fiscal crises, social innovators are improving social outcomes for citizens by changing the system from within. In Agents of Change, three cutting-edge thinkers and entrepreneurs present case studies of social innovation that have led to significant social change. Drawing on original empirical research in the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, they examine how ordinary people accomplished extraordinary results.

Sanderijn Cels, Jorrit de Jong, and Frans Nauta offer lively illustrations and insightful interpretations of how innovators, social entrepreneurs, and change agents are dealing with powerful opponents, the burdens of bureaucracy, and the challenge of securing resources and support. This book will appeal to anyone who is intrigued by imaginative, cross-boundary thinking and transformative change. It will be of particular interest to those who want to know how exactly innovators pull it off. With practitioners, scholars, and students of public policy and management in mind, the authors dissect the strategies and tactics that social innovators employ to navigate the risky waters of their institutional environments.

Contents Part 1: Introduction: Chess Masters and Acrobats 1. Strategy and Tactics

2. Crafting the Case: The Art of Making a Start

3. Prompting Progress: The Art of Making Things Happen

4. Managing Meaning: The Art of Making Sense

Part 2: Front-Line Innovations 5. Under the Radar: Medical Informatics in Japan

6. Relentless Incrementalism: Financial Literacy Training for Newcomers in Canada

7. Join the Club! Alzheimer Cafés in the Netherlands

8. Just a Tool? Implementing the Vulnerability Index in New Orleans

Part 3: Innovations in Governance 9. The Sun Kings: Solar Energy in Germany

10. Change on Steroids: Public Education in New Orleans

11. The Value of Values: Higher Education in Virginia

12. A Window of Opportunity: Institutional Reform in Denmark

Conclusion: Innovating Strategically

Get the story the Fake News media doesn't want you to hear in the #1 New York Times bestseller: a withering indictment of the Deep State plot against Trump and a firsthand account of the real presidency, based on interviews with the Trump family and top administration officials. At this point in American history, we are the victims of a liberal sabotage of the presidency unlike anything we've ever witnessed. Nevertheless President Trump continues to fight every day to keep his promise to Make America Great Again. Today that bold idea has already led to a conservative judge on the Supreme Court, tax reform, and deregulation that has unleashed an economy stronger than anyone could have imagined. But there are dark forces that seek to obstruct and undermine the president and reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election. They are part of a wide-ranging conspiracy that would seem incredible if it weren't being perpetrated openly. Driven by ambition, blinded by greed, and bound by a common goal-to unseat the 45th President of the United States-this cabal is determined to maintain its wrongful hold on national political power. Fox News host Jeanine Pirro uncovers the elements of this conspiracy, including:"Fake news" propaganda,Law enforcement corruption at the highest levels,National security leaks by the intelligence community,Bureaucratic resistance to lawful and constitutional executive orders issued by the duly elected president,Crooked deals with foreign governments by U.S. officials sworn to defend our Constitution.It's about time the American public knows the truth about the plot to bring down the Trump presidency. By the time you've finished this book, you'll agree with Judge Pirro that the only way to stop these hoodlums is to Take Them Out in Cuffs!
While governments around the world struggle to maintain service levels amid fiscal crises, social innovators are improving social outcomes for citizens by changing the system from within. In Agents of Change, three cutting-edge thinkers and entrepreneurs present case studies of social innovation that have led to significant social change. Drawing on original empirical research in the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, they examine how ordinary people accomplished extraordinary results.

Sanderijn Cels, Jorrit de Jong, and Frans Nauta offer lively illustrations and insightful interpretations of how innovators, social entrepreneurs, and change agents are dealing with powerful opponents, the burdens of bureaucracy, and the challenge of securing resources and support. This book will appeal to anyone who is intrigued by imaginative, cross-boundary thinking and transformative change. It will be of particular interest to those who want to know how exactly innovators pull it off. With practitioners, scholars, and students of public policy and management in mind, the authors dissect the strategies and tactics that social innovators employ to navigate the risky waters of their institutional environments.

Contents Part 1: Introduction: Chess Masters and Acrobats 1. Strategy and Tactics

2. Crafting the Case: The Art of Making a Start

3. Prompting Progress: The Art of Making Things Happen

4. Managing Meaning: The Art of Making Sense

Part 2: Front-Line Innovations 5. Under the Radar: Medical Informatics in Japan

6. Relentless Incrementalism: Financial Literacy Training for Newcomers in Canada

7. Join the Club! Alzheimer Cafés in the Netherlands

8. Just a Tool? Implementing the Vulnerability Index in New Orleans

Part 3: Innovations in Governance 9. The Sun Kings: Solar Energy in Germany

10. Change on Steroids: Public Education in New Orleans

11. The Value of Values: Higher Education in Virginia

12. A Window of Opportunity: Institutional Reform in Denmark

Conclusion: Innovating Strategically

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