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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

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Governing Across the Divide: Four Best Practices for Intergovernmental Leaders

Governing Across the Divide (2017) was a unique series of topical, thought-leadership convenings hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration (Academy). These four gatherings were solution-focused and aimed at identifying the best practices to bridge the gaps and obstacles that prevent the scaling of services across all levels of government. The four topics were the changing role of states, innovation in local government service delivery, the future of public service and citizenship, and resilient critical infrastructure.

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The Takeaway

Effective, collaborative, and co-produced solutions to the problems facing our communities and our country begin with motivated leaders. The insights and advice uncovered and aggregated by the 15 Governing Across the Divide panels and 73 speakers will help leaders improve the quality of government to better serve our citizens and restore a sense of civic community.

The Outlook

Government cannot fix these problems. Instead, it’s up to the people, and, in our view, their leaders to take positive action to adapt government to function in this new environment. From our discussions, we gleaned four promising practices employed by today’s successful government leaders:

  • An enterprise-wide innovation capacity that is integrated into the strategic fabric of the organization;
  • The optimization and rethinking of the systematic interaction of the various stakeholders in today’s networked government;
  • The prioritization of factual, useful information in execution and communication; and
  • An emphasis on patient and persistent engagement with constituents, citizens, and the workforce.

These four practices are certainly interconnected and complementary, and they rose to the top of every leader’s comments and presentations. The insights gained from these initial conversations now position the Academy to explore particular solution sets to govern effectively across the divide. But more importantly, the identification and adoption of these four practices by all leaders will help them manage the sector-spanning intergovernmental system and make government work for all. We explore each of these promising practices in greater detail in the following chapters.