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New IBM Report on Six Trends Improving Federal Government Performance


Washington, DC - 25 Sep 2006: The IBM (NYSE: IBM) Center for The Business of Government today released a report on “Six Trends Transforming Government.” Based on more than eight years of research and 150 reports that have come out of the Center since 1998, the report distills six trends that have the potential to transform government to become more results-oriented, performance-based, customer focused, and collaborative in nature.

The report’s three authors, Jonathan Breul, senior fellow for the Center, along with co-authors Mark Abramson, executive director of the Center and John Kamensky, senior fellow for the Center, point to the “power of the unexpected” as a key lesson of the 21st Century. “Over the past several years we have learned that we need to be better prepared for unanticipated events. In response to this we need to increase focus on creating new partnerships and networks,” they write in “Six Trends.”

Donald Kettl, Stanley I. Sheer Endowed Term Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, also observes how government changes are being driven by a series of new imperatives in the United States. “These imperatives,” he writes, “emerge from America’s struggle to deal with deep challenges facing the nation. At the core is a fundamental problem: The current conduct of American government is a poor match for the problems it must solve.”

Fortunately, there is a set of trends IBM executives have observed that seems to be responding to these imperatives and is leading to improved government performance. These trends make it more likely that government will be able to successfully respond to the ever-increasing and complex challenges it faces today and will continue to face in the future.

Those trends include:

* Trend One: Changing the Rules -- the core administrative business practices that under gird the government culture are dramatically changing to reflect the best practices of public and private sectors
* Trend Two: Using Performance Management -- government is increasingly emphasizing results over effort, and using performance measures to track progress
* Trend Three: Providing Competition, Choice, and Incentives -- governments worldwide are increasingly moving toward private sector market-based initiatives
* Trend Four: Performing On Demand -- citizens are demanding government be as accessible as many private sector on-line businesses and some government agencies
* Trend Five: Engaging Citizens -- the demand for greater citizen involvement in government is increasing, and Europe is leading the U.S. in making it happen
* Trend Six: Using Networks and Partnerships -- today’s challenges typically reach outside traditional service delivery systems and leaders are increasingly using new collaborative approaches between the public, private and non-profit sectors

According to the report, these innovative approaches to improving government performance are being driven, in part, by advances in technology that have resulted in significant changes in the operation of organizations in both the public and private sectors. Technology should now be viewed not only as a fundamental tool for delivering government services, but also as a driver for transforming the operation of government.

Six Trends Transforming Government can be obtained by calling (202) 515-4504 or downloaded at

About the IBM Center for The Business of Government
Through stipends for research, the IBM Center for The Business of Government stimulates research and facilitates discussion on new approaches to improving the effectiveness of government at the federal, state, local, and international levels. Founded in 1998, The Center is one of the ways that IBM seeks to advance knowledge on how to improve public sector effectiveness. The IBM Center focuses on the future of the operation and management of the public sector.


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