March 2016

Government leaders are developing bold strategies to increase public value. Yet with citizen trust in government waning, the public sector needs more than new visions; leaders need to drive structural change by identifying high-yield strategies, bracing stakeholders and workers to endure an evolving and unpredictable operating environment, and gauging how much structural change is necessary to sustain progress.

To help leaders address these challenges, Leadership for a Networked World and the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, in collaboration with Accenture, convened the 2015 Public Sector for the Future Summit: Leadership from Invention to Impact. The Summit focused on advancing “uptake” reforms—proven programs that require robust leadership—and “edge” innovations—untested ideas with enormous potential. The conference also highlighted four strategic areas for transforming government (the optimized enterprise, agile workforce, evidence-based organization, and citizen-centric service) and featured presentations detailing reform efforts in each domain:

  • Leaders from New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Business Services Center described efforts to gain economies of scale, scope, and learning by streamlining MTA’s finances and operations.
  • David Bray, the Chief Information Officer at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), discussed how he has overhauled the FCC’s legacy technology systems by cultivating change agents.
  • Officials from the Idaho State Tax Commission and Results Washington, the state’s performance management office, showcased their embrace of evidence-based government.
  • An analyst from the National League of Cities and two industry leaders described sharing economy platforms, leading to a discussion about strategies government could adopt and adapt.

While there is no single recipe for change, there are common ingredients: analysis, collaboration, leadership, and an organizational culture that embraces change. If leaders can ensure the right mix of these elements, they can increase their legitimacy and effect citizen-centric transformation.

March 2016

Realizing the potential of emerging ideas has always been dfficult. Even for path-breaking innovations with transformative potential, the road to implementation can be slippery and filled with potholes, twists and turns, and dead-ends. It begs the question: “How can leaders actually implement emerging ideas to realize improved capacity and outcomes?”

This question of how to achieve the potential of new ideas and business models is critically important in human services, given the powerful emergence of innovations such as Pay-for-Success and Social Impact financing, collective impact strategies, executive functioning science, evidence-based service design, two-generation interventions, and many more capacity-building and outcome-driving ideas.

Yet as leaders embrace the potential of emerging human services innovations, they come face-to-face with established institutional structures, legacy processes and systems, silo-based funding patterns, and calcified ways of measuring outcomes that raise formidable barriers to progress. To overcome these daunting barriers, human services leaders will need to excel in areas such as:

  • Setting a strategy that drives innovation forward while safeguarding current capacity.
  • Aligning new measures and outcome goals across programs, organizations, and sectors.
  • Crafting non-traditional alliances that enable sharing of data, resources, and accountability.
  • Pacing the organizational change and adaptation necessary for sustainable progress.

To help human services leaders acquire these skills and strategies, the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, Leadership for a Networked World and Accenture, in collaboration with the American Public Human Services Association, convened senior leaders for the 2015 Human Services Summit: Emergent Leadership – Turning Ideas into Outcomes.

This sixth annual Summit, held from October 23-25, 2015, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, provided an unparalleled opportunity to learn from and network with the world’s foremost human services practitioners, Harvard faculty and researchers, and select industry experts. Participants left the Summit prepared to deliver new levels of outcomes and impact for society, communities, families, and individuals.

July 2015

To move forward, human services leaders must examine and appreciate how the dynamics of convergence will play out now and in the future. Based on insights from previous summits and research, we can forecast greater alignment and new partnerships between health and human services, education, workforce, and public safety to create pathways to community well-being.

To help leaders examine convergence dynamics and build capacity for the future, the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, Leadership for a Networked World, and Accenture, in collaboration with the American Public Human Services Association, hosted The 2014 Human Services Summit: The Dynamics of Convergence. This fifth annual Summit brought together the world’s foremost human services practitioners, industry experts, and Harvard faculty and researchers to explore these topics.

August 2014

Leaders in the public sector have worked hard to respond to the major structural and social challenges of this new era. Facing technological, societal, and political disruptions, they have developed new operating models such as shared services, lean business processes, and cross-jurisdiction collaboration that have made great headway in driving government efficiency.

Yet more ideas and strategies are needed. Changes in the economy, demographics, technology, legislation, and more are forcing leaders to be more creative and collaborative, and to adapt and innovate. They must not only to do more with less, but also build public trust and value.

To address these questions and create an agenda for change, Leadership for a Networked World, the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, and Accenture convened public sector leaders for The 2014 Public Sector for the Future Summit: Creating the Agenda. This first annual Summit, held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., brought together top practitioners, industry luminaries, and Harvard faculty, fellows, and researchers to explore these topics.

December 2013

Today's turbulent economic environment is testing the relationship between the value and cost of government services like never before. In response, government financial executives hold the key to unlocking the value of administrative, budgeting, and performance systems to transform government operations and turn them into high performance enterprises.

This whitepaper, by Antonio M. Oftelie and Pari Sabety, discusses topics from contemporary budgeting requirement to the generational shifts that enterprises are going through, and how we need to rise to meet these new challenges, using ideas such as "evidence-based" decision making, and modern technology platforms.

November 2013

When disruption is the new normal, what does leadership look like? Successful leaders see opportunities to respond in innovative ways, and disruption becomes a catalyst for better business models that guide individuals, families and communities to self-sufficiency.

To harness and share these lessons, Leadership for a Networked World, Accenture, the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard and the American Public Human Services Association convened human services leaders for The 2013 Human Services Summit: Leadership in an Era of Disruption. The fourth annual Summit, held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., brought together the world’s premier human services practitioners, Harvard faculty, fellows, and researchers and select industry experts to explore these topics.

December 2012

Human services leaders are committed to delivering valuable outcomes and measurable impact to those they serve—but it’s never easy. Getting results demands organizational and systemic transformation—from adopting new business models and leadership approaches to leveraging enabling technologies and communicating effectively to stakeholders. This in-depth report, based on the 2012 Human Services Summit at Harvard, combines research, insights and case-based examples to help you move your human services organizations toward greater outcomes and impact.

July 2012

The new economic and demographic reality has sparked a wave of reform based on more efficient, effective and transparent government – and collaboration through shared services has become the central strategy in meeting this new reality. This paper, “Pathways to Transformation,” illuminates the key trends influencing shared services adoption and showcases the different strategies and tactics leaders are taking when moving forward.

December 2011

The foremost challenge for human services leaders is meeting the demand for increased services, while grappling with economic turmoil and rapidly changing demographics. Proactive leaders are meeting this challenge by innovating to increase overall capacity while moving toward a more citizen-centered, family first, efficient, and outcome-focused human services delivery system. This paper, “The Pursuit of Outcomes,” will help you improve your human services organization through insights and lessons learned from the 2011 Human Services Summit on the campus of Harvard University.

July 2011

Learn the key strategies for how to start a cross-organization collaboration from those who have done it before. This report draws on the discussions of four leaders of cross-boundary change who shared their challenges and successes at The 2011 Shared Services Summit at Harvard.



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.

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