In 2008, when Scott Thomson became the Chief of the Camden Police Department, he faced an extraordinarily challenging situation. To begin with, he was taking over a police department that was tasked with ensuring safety in a municipality that was consistently rated one of the most dangerous cities in the country. Complicating matters further, he was leading an organization beleaguered by corruption, a lethargic culture, and extremely tense relations with the community (especially people of color). And as if that was not enough, Thomson, the youngest chief in the department’s history, was the department’s sixth leader in the past five years.
“We Want Guardians, Not Warriors: The Transformation of the Camden Police Department” tells the story of how Thomson completely reshaped policing in Camden, New Jersey. After initially providing the backstory of how New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram turned to Thomson to lead the organization, the case traces how Thomson stood up to recalcitrant union leadership, strengthened ties and built trust with the community, and effected a culture change within the rank-and-file. It then explores another transcendent moment: how in 2011, after the department lost 46 percent of its personnel in a single day amid budget cuts, Thomson stood up an entirely new organization, the Camden County Police Department. Within this new setup, the chief made a point to recruit a more inclusive force, continued to implement cultural change and prize community engagement, and leveraged innovative technology to become more efficient.
The end result was that, in 2019, when Thomson retired as chief, the Camden County Police Department was seen as one of the most innovative and community-oriented policing organizations in the country. Under Thomson’s leadership, crime had dropped significantly, the police department’s relationship with the community had dramatically improved, and the organization had even received a visit from President Barack Obama in 2015 to highlight its successes.
In June 2014, when Kathleen O’Toole became the Chief of the Seattle Police Department, she faced challenges on multiple levels. To begin with, she was taking the reins of an organization that was desperately in need of change. SPD had recently reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that had resulted in a court-ordered consent decree. In addition, even though O’Toole was a highly accomplished police leader who had led organizational transformations on multiple continents, she was an outsider in Seattle. She would therefore have to build up trust within SPD and the community. Finally, the organization itself was languishing from lethargy. The new chief discovered this at an early meeting when she asked precinct captains how SPD was doing with crime, and they responded, “Pretty good – we think.”
“Rebuilding Trust and Value: The Transformation of The Seattle Police Department” tells the story of how O’Toole navigated these multifaceted challenges and led the successful remaking of SPD. Initially, she focused on building relationships with the community, creating a leadership team that blended internal and external perspectives, and taking a variety of steps to effect a cultural shift. Having laid that foundation, O’Toole then found ways to generate new value by introducing revamped systems, processes, and technologies, especially as it related to data analytics. Finally, she concluded her tenure by ensuring that the reforms she had implemented would be sustained, most notably by working closely with DOJ and other leaders in an attempt to move the consent decree toward resolution.
By December 2017, when O’Toole announced that she would step down at the end of the calendar year, she had made an enormous impact on SPD and the community. Under her leadership, the city had consistently received high marks for its progress in meeting the requirements of the consent decree. SPD had also made significant progress on a variety of performance indicators, including decreasing the average response time to life-threatening incidents, enhancing the organization’s capacity to identify and respond to people in crisis and hate crimes, and curtailing officer’s use-of-force.
Early in his tenure, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts established process improvement as a key strategy to “create a more effective, more efficient, and more customer-focused state government.” To achieve this, state leaders first evaluated state models from around the country to help introduce more sustainable change that would help grow Nebraska. This led to the launch of a Center of Operational Excellence (COE) within the Department of Administrative Services, which has already trained over 12,000 employees, completed over 245 projects, saved over 290,000 verifiable hours, and had a significant impact on services to Nebraska’s citizens. This case study examines these efforts, and steps COE took to establish a new operating model, hire and train new staff, generate buy-in, and navigate competing priorities. It also examines how the team aligned political actors, fostered a collaborative atmosphere working across agencies, measured progress and public value, brought innovations to scale, and put structures in place to sustain progress.
In 2011, recently elected Michigan Governor Rick Snyder took office and decided to place a major emphasis on employee engagement, training, and professional development. To that end, the State of Michigan partnered with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to launch an employee engagement survey. This, in turn, led to strategic planning processes in agencies across the state as well as the creation of leadership and management development programs, employee recognition programs, and new surveys (including the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget’s agency Customer Satisfaction Survey). This case study examines these efforts. It studies the new Office of Performance and Transformation, which emerged in part from this initiative and took up the mantle on employee engagement, performance management, LEAN Process improvement, and Regulatory Reinvention across state government.
In 2014, the State of Kansas faced a perfect storm of aging infrastructure, budget constraints and challenges with recruiting and retaining technical resources. This case study examines how Kansas responded and became the first state to host Statewide Oracle/PeopleSoft Human Capital Management and Financial applications in a private managed cloud. It reflects on their approach to upgrading these systems in a timely and cost-efficient manner by creating a cross-departmental team and partnering with a third-party vendor. In addition, it examines how Kansas maintained momentum during gubernatorial change, including the succession by the Lieutenant Governor when Governor Brownback was confirmed as the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and preparations for another election in November.
In 2016, the Minnesota Department of Administration’s Office of Continuous Improvement led an initiative to assess and improve how the state manages its internal sustainability reporting and efforts. After some initial fact-finding, the team discovered there were unconnected reporting requirements, a variety of approaches to sustainability activities, and no coordinated effort to understand outcomes or identify opportunities for improvements. This case study examines how Minnesota responded and the Department of Administration’s newly formed Office of Enterprise Sustainability, in collaboration with the Continuous Improvement team, led a statewide project to build a streamlined and effective governance structure with state agencies to use. In particular, participants will examine how the team built a case for change, developed cross-agency relationships, managed initiative fatigue, led culture change components, and established new systems, structures, and processes. The case study also examines the legacy of this program during a gubernatorial transition.
Located in the heart of West Baltimore, Center for Urban Families (CFUF) serves an area that is beset with significant poverty, crime, and racial inequity. Founded in 1999 with a mission to “disrupt poverty,” CFUF has served more than 28,000 members, placed 3,779 members in full-time jobs from 2010 through 2016, and touched nearly 62,000 children whose parents were CFUF members. The organization has received national attention for its work, hosting President Barack Obama in 2013. During the visit, the President spoke about his upbringing without a father and lauded the fathers there for working with CFUF to change their lives. “For your sons to see you taking this path,” the President said, “that’s going to make all the difference in the world.”
Yet, the organization is driven to do more and has grappled with challenging questions as it has grown and evolved: What does the organization’s mission of “disrupting poverty” mean as the community’s extraordinary needs evolve? What form of outcomes does the community and its families need to achieve? How could CFUF redesign its governance model and organizational design to increase capacity? What information does CFUF need to evaluate and refine its programs more effectively? How could the organization leverage and expand on its existing corporate and non-profit partnerships? How could the leadership team build internal capacity and create a culture that maximized impact? In a racially charged climate, how could CFUF serve as a unifying force?
In 2013 as part of an effort to improve facilities management and customer service for tenants in state buildings operated by the Tennessee Department of General Services, and to do so at less cost, the state entered into its first comprehensive managed service contract. This case examines how Tennessee navigated this change, developing a comprehensive contract governance system, establishing contracted key performance indicators, and having the vendor put in place a work order request and a continual customer survey system. During the transition, the state developed strategies to address the existing workforce, track actual cost avoidance and benefits of the new program, and address concerns about existing service levels. At the conclusion of the first three years of its new contract, the vendor had already exceeded its five-year cost avoidance goals with a validated cost avoidance of $25 million (including utilities) and customer satisfaction levels far exceeding industry standards at a three-year average of 92%. As a result of this positive experience, involving only about 10% of Tennessee’s total real estate portfolio, the state began taking the program’s best-in-class performance and lessons learned and pursuing expanding its facilities management outsourcing to the remaining 90% of state facilities, including higher education.
In a fast-paced world, what does it take for a state workforce to deliver a higher level of customer-centric services while also reducing cost? This case study examines how this challenge was met head-on by the State of Tennessee as it adopted a new workforce strategy. Tennessee’s program - Alternative Workplace Solutions (AWS) – introduced Work from Home, Mobile Work, and Free Address programs to over half of the state’s agencies. It began with pilot programs in three agencies: the Department of Children’s Services, the Department of Financial Institutions, and the Department of Economic and Community Development. The pilots were designed to (among other things) reduce turnover and introduce a more collaborative, citizen-centric culture and approach. Just a few years after its creation, AWS not only had 17 of 23 state departments implementing a smarter, less expensive workspace but also had spawned new programs focused on digitization and offering more citizen-centric services (i.e., one point of entry for services, rather than visits five different agencies). In addition, AWS helped the state manage the risk of having a workforce in which 50 percent of employees were eligible to retire over the next five years and reduced the 2.6 million Rentable Square Feet (RSF) in downtown Nashville by at least 700,000 RSF (27%), avoiding approximately $14 million annually in just the next few years, all while building new capabilities and agility for employees, aiding recruitment and retention, and enhancing customer service.
Shared services and customer-centric service delivery is a core strategy for every responsive government. But how quickly can these capabilities be developed and activated? This case study examines the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s rapid journey to transition 3,000 information technology (IT) and human resources (HR), full-time employees, into the Office of Administration to create a new delivery center model. This restructuring was designed to improve services for citizens and agencies, while also reducing costs and streamlining collective functions. Their unified model was intended to shift HR and IT from a functional perspective to strategic business service and to allow the Commonwealth to operate as one government, providing consistently effective and efficient services to all agencies. The Commonwealth had already transitioned several transactional HR functions such as payroll, open-enrollment, and off-boarding, and centralized several IT functions like emails, telecom, and data centers. As the Office of Administration works on pacing the implementation, this case examines how they were simultaneously stabilizing structures and systems, and processes (especially as they relate to governance and metrics) to sustain the transformation in the midst of an upcoming election.
To help leaders improve outcomes, impact, and value, LNW has developed an array of frameworks that provide not only a leadership guide to organizational transformation, but also a strategy map for adopting and pacing innovation.
To facilitate the transformational process Leadership for a Networked World worked with leading government practitioners, policymakers, and subject matter experts to develop the Public Sector Uptake and Edge Matrix. This organizing framework can help leaders as they negotiate transformational change. By plotting enterprise-wide change efforts, leaders can better assess how quickly or slowly to enact changes, how broadly or narrowly to implement changes, and if transformations will be more successful if they are positioned as “top down” or “bottom-up” efforts.
This matrix, which measures the sophistication and pervasiveness of new operational models, is intended as a guide to help leaders chart a course for their organization. By identifying both where their organizations fall on the matrix and where innovations under consideration fall, leaders can focus their efforts accordingly and employ the most effective strategies to accelerate continuous and multi-faceted enterprise-wide transformation
A vital new strategy for achieving a new level of innovation is the utilization of “nudges” in government operations and services. “Nudges,” per Nobel Prize-winning-economist Richard Thaler and Harvard Law School Professor Cass Sunstein, are “methods of augmenting the design of the environment in which people make decisions in order to improve individual and societal outcomes.” Nudges, per Thaler and Sunstein, “shift behaviors that maintain freedom of choice, but have the potential to make people healthier, wealthier and happier."
The convergence of behavioral economics, data and analytics, and design thinking enables leaders to create a “nudge loop” that helps inform the innovation needed to improve citizen-centric public value and outcomes. This new formula for innovation not only enables, but also accelerates, the power of nudges in public sector programs and services.
LNW provides reports and publications for policy makers, government executives, and industry leaders to not only understand, prepare, and respond to social, economic, and technological change, but also create, adopt, and leverage the business and operating models of the future.
Reports, cases, and research papers developed by LNW are generally produced from summits, symposiums and field research, and are designed to enable improvements in policy-making, strategy development and organizational design. Research is disseminated in executive programs, conferences, trade journals and other venues. Recent reports and publications include:
conferences, trade journals and other venues. Recent reports and publications include:
Leadership for a Networked World’s applied research, student innovation challenge, and on-campus summit programs are an initiative of Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie, Innovation Fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH), part of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. TECH is a hub for students, faculty, alumni, and government and industry leaders to learn together, collaborate, and innovate. LNW accelerates these efforts by connecting leaders across sectors and developing cutting-edge thought leadership on innovation and organizational transformation.