Can Governors Inspire Presidents?


John Kamensky, Senior Fellow, IBM Center for The Business of GovernmentStates are supposed to be the “laboratories of democracy.” But can they inspire new ways of doing things in Washington? Some states have piloted new ways of managing that would certainly shake things up in Washington if they were done here. Examples?

· Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire has created an office that focuses on whether agencies get results. Her office on “Government Management Accountability and Performance” tracks key initiatives and, like Baltimore’s CitiStat, holds department heads to account for progress on a regular basis.

· Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsek used a “Purchasing Results” approach. He defined a set of results he thought the state should achieve and asked agencies to “bid” on whether they would deliver on those results. Agencies could team together on a bid, or go for it on their own.

· Virginia’s Governor Tim Kaine has a “Council on Virginia’s Future” that tracks societal indicators in different areas on how well the state is doing – in education, health care, transportation, etc. He then uses the results of that system to identify specific strategies that he includes in his budget proposals to the legislature.

· Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley has created a “StateStat” that replicates his successful CitiStat in Baltimore. Beginning in June, he’s started with a pilot covering several agencies, then plans to extend it state governmentwide. Already, a Washington-based think tank is starting to tout it as a possible model for the federal government.

Are there other examples of cutting-edge innovations at the state level that future presidents might want to consider bringing to Washington?

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