New book by Alan Robinson d’Isenberg shows how ideas from frontline workers can radically improve government: UMass Amherst


Whether people want more government or less, everyone wants effective government and the traditional thinking is that this requires government to be run more like a business. But a government is not a business, and this approach only replaces old problems with new ones.


Alan Robinson, professor at UMass Amherst

For their latest book,Practical Innovation in Government: How Frontline Leaders are Transforming Public Sector Organizations(Berrett-Koehler Publishers; July 19, 2022), Alain Robinson, Professor of Operations and Information Management at Isenberg School of Management and co-author Dean Schroeder conducted a six-year, five-country study of 77 government organizations — ranging from small departments to entire states — to find that predominantly private sector improvement approaches don’t work. not. well in the public sector, while rare practices in the private sector prove to be very effective.

The top performers they studied had achieved levels of efficiency that rivaled the best companies in the private sector. Rather than letting management drive the improvements, as is the norm in the private sector, these high performers focused on front-line improvement, where most of the change activity was led by supervisors and low-level managers who unleashed creativity and ideas. of their employees to improve their operations little by little every day.


Coverage for practical innovation in government

In “Practical Innovation in Government,” Robinson and Schroeder explain how the Denver Excise and Licensing Department reduced wait times from one hour and 40 minutes to just seven minutes, how the Washington state tripled its productivity and became a national benchmark, how a K-8 school in New Brunswick, Canada, increased the percentage of students reading at the appropriate age level from 22% to 78% and much more.

Robinson and Schroeder have together helped hundreds of leading organizations in over 30 countries improve their performance, including Cleveland Clinic, Federal Reserve Bank, General Electric, Government of Singapore, Heineken, IKEA, Kraft, Liberty Mutual, Siemens, the US Navy, and the Washington Post. They are the world’s leading experts on frontline idea systems and the best-selling authors of “Ideas Are Free” and “The Idea-Driven Organization”.

More information about the book, which is now available from booksellers, can be found on the Berrett-Koehler website.


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