Collaboration: The Intergovernmental Imperative

By Robert O’Neill and Donald F. Kettl

When the next president moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a host of big challenges will be waiting: ensuring good jobs, public safety, quality education, good health care, a clean environment, and a basic infrastructure that supports economic growth and a high quality of life. A quick look at the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, provides just one inescapable signal about how important these challenges are.

At the bottom of all of these issues are three big realities. First, on anything that really matters to Americans, no level of government can escape responsibility. Second, the government has no “infrastructure” of its own to lead, manage, and support the collaboration we need. Third, the new president cannot hope to escape the political realities of failing to act or the administrative necessity of responding well. Continue reading “Collaboration: The Intergovernmental Imperative”


Rigorous Management of the Presidential Change Agenda

By Ken Hunter

The United States and the world are in a time of major structural changes – a turning point – with significant imbalances and instability, widespread confusion and conflicts, as well as opportunities and new frontiers.

I see it as critical that the new administration promptly position itself on each major set of change initiatives –those that it promised as well as the big messes it inherited. Each position should be supported by aligned and implementable goals, strategies and narratives; a set of change agendas; and full mobilization of the Federal government’s policy and management talent and networks. Continue reading “Rigorous Management of the Presidential Change Agenda”

Linking Foresight to Decision Making

by F. Stevens Redburn and Jonathan D. Breul

 How can strategic foresight be effectively linked to decision making in the federal executive branch?

Strategic foresight can inform national policy in the face of profound uncertainty about what lies ahead.  It recognizes the requirement to look beyond the horizon and imagine a range of possible futures, so that policy makers can prepare for the unexpected and even the unlikely.  Strategic foresight efforts enhance the knowledge base for thinking about and designing policies and can help identify current policy gaps.  However, foresight can only be useful if it is connected to policy making.  How to make these connections is our focus here. Continue reading “Linking Foresight to Decision Making”

What Is Strategic Foresight?

By John Kamensky

John_KamenskyDoes it make any sense for the government to think long term?  We’ve done it before – think about the interstate highway system, the race to the Moon, or the evolution of the Internet.

Strategic foresight is not futuristic forecasting, nor is it the sole purview of Popular Science magazine, the World Future Society, or the Jetson Family.  It is about having the imagination to be prepared for what may come, regardless of which scenario occurs – it’s a mindset, not a process. Continue reading “What Is Strategic Foresight?”

Bringing Strategic Foresight to the Fore

By John Kamensky


What is NAPA’s Strategic Foresight Panel planning to do? This isn’t the first time NAPA has addressed the topic of creating a strategic foresight capacity for the federal government. But this time there is a better plan!

In preparation for the 2008 presidential transition, the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) published an issue paper, Governing with Foresight: Institutional Changes to Enhance Fact-Based Decision-Making in the Executive Office of the President. That paper noted that: “Some careful observers have found little if any institutional capacity to focus on cross-cutting outcomes and that there is an increasing lack of national consensus on priorities and future directions.” It outlined several potential approaches the incoming president might take, which included: Continue reading “Bringing Strategic Foresight to the Fore”

Omega and Alpha

By Ed DeSeve

Ed_deseveAs we enter the new year, we realize that next year at this time we will – hopefully – have a new president-elect. He or she will be hard upon the process of transition and the hopes of a nation will be with them – at least those who voted for them.

The process of transition brings with it a boom in the binder industry. Every agency, every think tank, and many non-governmental organizations will trot out binders full of advice for the new Administration. At the Academy, we started this spring to prepare for the “Binder Wars” and will certainly join the fray although primarily electronically.  Continue reading “Omega and Alpha”

About This Blog

The National Academy of Public Administration is bringing to the federal community its expertise on what it takes to execute a smooth and flawless presidential transition. This site features in depth commentaries from former high level White House and agency officials, government practitioners, and some of the leading experts in academia on these complex subjects.