Government Reform: David Osborne

David Osborne

David Osborne

David Osborne, co-author of the popular Reinventing Government book in the early 1990s and one of my intellectual mentors in government reform, published a column in the current issue of Government Executive magazine offering his advice to the next president, titled “Weeding the Federal Garden.” 


In it he offers several recommendations:


  • Move beyond assessing programs to choosing among them.  First, define outcomes important to Americans — like healthier people or a cleaner environment — and then organize a team around each outcome to identify those existing programs that contribute to those outcomes.  Rank those programs from most to least effective.  When the money runs out, draw a line.  This ranking process has been used effectively in Iowa.  It has the added benefit of encouraging agencies to work across boundaries.  Second, create performance agreements between cabinet secretaries and the president and measure progress toward goals via a “Fed-Stat” modeled after Baltimore’s successful Citi-Stat.




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One Response to “Government Reform: David Osborne”

  1. Norman M. Macdonald Says:

    I worked with and helped establish a number of reinvention labs and most are still moving along and changing with the times and conditions. The whole reinventing effort worked.

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