The Business of Government Fall/Winter 2012

January 28, 2013

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Each edition of The Business of Government magazine seeks to highlight the latest trends and best practices for improving government effectiveness. We do this by introducing you to the efforts of key government executives, the work of public management practitioners, and the insights of leading academics; and the differing ways they tackle many of the pressing public management issues facing us today. We are in the midst of an exciting, engaging, yet trying period marked by uncertainty, significant challenges, undeniable opportunities, and indelible aspirations. It is about sharing knowledge and expertise gained from the research we fund and the conversations we commence. We hope to spark the imagination of government leaders to look beyond their day-to-day urgencies and reflect on the serious problems and critical challenges they face today into tomorrow.

Problems are interconnected, environments are turbulent, and the future is indeterminate. To echo Donald Schön's The Reflective Practitioner, what is called for under these conditions are not only analytic techniques, but also the active skill of designing a desirable future and inventing ways of bringing it about. As we focus on the administration's next four years, it becomes clear that those who have come before can provide wisdom that acts as a reference point as well as a point of departure—a snapshot in time that may offer insights into what has worked and how we can learn from others' experiences.