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A New City O/S: The Power of Open, Collaborative, and Distributed Governance

A New City O/S: The Power of Open, Collaborative, and Distributed Governance

by Stephen Goldsmith, Neil Kleiman

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Proposing an entirely new governance model to unleash innovation throughout local government

At a time when trust is dropping precipitously and American government at the national level has fallen into a state of long-term, partisan-based gridlock, local government can still be effective—indeed more effective and even more responsive to the needs of its citizens. Based on decades of direct experience and years studying successful models around the world, the authors of this intriguing book propose a new operating system (O/S) for cities. Former mayor and Harvard professor Stephen Goldsmith and New York University professor Neil Kleiman suggest building on the giant leaps that have been made in technology, social engagement, and big data.

Calling their approach "distributed governance," Goldsmith and Kleiman offer a model that allows public officials to mobilize new resources, surface ideas from unconventional sources, and arm employees with the information they need to become pre-emptive problem solvers. This book highlights lessons from the many innovations taking place in today’s cities to show how a new O/S can create systemic transformation.

For students of government, A New City O/S: The Power of Distributed Governance presents a groundbreaking strategy for rethinking the governance of cities, marking an important evolution of the current bureaucratic authority-based model dating from the 1920s. More important, the book is designed for practitioners, starting with public-sector executives, managers, and frontline workers. By weaving real-life examples into a coherent model, the authors have created a step-by-step guide for all those who would put the needs of citizens front and center. Nothing will do more to restore trust in government than solutions that work. A New City O/S: The Power of Distributed Governance puts those solutions within reach of those public officials responsible for their delivery.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780815732877
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Publication date: 11/28/2017
Series: Brookings / Ash Center Series, "Innovative Governance in the 21st Century"
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 223
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Stephen Goldsmith is the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard Kennedy School. He previously served as deputy mayor of New York and mayor of Indianapolis, where he earned a reputation as one of the country's leaders in public-private partnerships, competition, and privatization. His most recent book is The Responsive City: Engaging Communities through Data-Smart Governance.

Neil Kleiman is a clinical professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and the Center for Urban Science + Progress. His research focuses on urban innovation and uses of technology and big data. He is policy director of the National Resource Network, a public/private consortium supporting economically challenged cities, and was founding director of the New York City–based Center for an Urban Future.

Table of Contents


Foreword, Steve Case


1. The Pivot to a New Government Operating System

Distributed, Innovative, and Open

The Pros and Cons of Municipal Bureaucracy

Today’s Best Practices Are Necessary but Not Sufficient

Building Blocks of the New O/S

Why Now?

2. The State of Innovation: What We Have and What We’re Missing

Assessing the Current Innovation Landscape

Thoughts and Theories Toward a New O/S

3. UX: Placing Citizens and Those

Who Serve Them at the Center

When Government Uses UX

Citizen-Focused UX

UX for Public Employees

A Never-Ending Effort

4. Government That Acts in Time

Operating in Time

Regulating in Time

Regulation in a Distributed World

City as Referee in the Information Game

5. The Problem-Solving Public Servant

Allegheny County’s Empowered Caseworkers

Key Components of a Data-Infused System

Public Servants in the Data-Infused System

Managing More Autonomous Employees

New O/S for Human Resources

6. Mashed Up Government

Data Configured for Kansas City’s Citizens

The Importance of Resident Intelligence

Government by Proxy: Connecting the Contractors

Greater Capacity with Institutional Partners

7. A New City from a New O/S


Implementation Guide: Strategies to Address the Ten Most Important Challenges to a New O/S


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