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Leadership from Invention to Impact

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.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015


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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