IBM Center for The Business of Government

The IBM Center for The Business of Government produces and disseminates thought leadership that focuses on public management issues facing government executives at all levels. According to its mission statement, the center seeks to connect public management research to practice in order to improve government effectiveness and performance. It does this by funding independent third-party research,[1] publishing a bi-annual magazine, producing a weekly radio interview program,[2] convening discussions with practitioners and academics, and hosting forums and various blogs and other online content.


The center was originally formed in 1998 as the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Endowment for The Business of Government. When IBM acquired the management consulting arm of PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 2002, it was renamed. The center is led by Executive Director Dan Chenok,[3] a former career federal executive for information policy and technology at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The IBM Center for The Business of Government is one of several dozen good government organizations located in Washington, D.C. that provide context and offer insights and practical, actionable recommendations that address federal government mission and management challenges.

Research and publications

The IBM center includes in its name “Business of Government” to emphasize its focus on the management and operation—not the policies—of government. It seeks to “bridge the gap” between research and practice by helping to stimulate and accelerate the production of actionable research.[4]

"Unlike traditional scholarly outlets, the IBM Center makes explicitly clear that its reports are to be ‘written for government executives and managers’ and that in making the decision to fund research proposals, it looks for very practical findings and recommendations—not just theory and concepts—in order to assist executives and managers to more effectively respond to mission and management challenges."[5]

Since its inception, the IBM Center for The Business of Government has published more than 250 research reports and books in areas such as public sector management and performance, technology and innovation, security and privacy, acquisition and procurement, and citizen engagement.[6] Reports are commissioned through a competitive funding process[7] that occurs twice a year, in the spring and fall. Funded researchers have included academics from top schools of public management and business, including Harvard University, the London School of Economics, Syracuse University and Johns Hopkins University.

Recent research interests

  • Leading in an era of complex challenges
  • Managing collaboration and connectivity
  • Using data and analytics to make better decisions
  • Pursuing cost savings and improving performance
  • Identifying acquisition approaches that engage the private sector more effectively
  • Managing risks and responding to threats in today’s security environment
  • Providing insights for the presidential transition from campaigning to governing

Notable publications

  • The Business of Government Magazine[8] – This bi-annual magazine features interviews with and profiles of government leaders as well as topical articles on management issues facing public sector executives. It also provides summaries of recent reports, radio interviews and events.[9]
  • Seven Management Imperatives – This report identifies seven societal trends that governments will have to manage and the imperatives that will drive governments to manage differently, including performance improvement and greater collaboration with the private sector.[10]
  • Ten Challenges Facing Public Managers[11] – This report outlines a set of management issues that government executives will face in the coming years. These are ten “big challenges” for the decade ahead that include not only fiscal concerns of the Government Accounting Office but also the role of results, the impending crisis of competence and the blurring of boundaries in delivering services.[12]
  • Six Trends Transforming Government[13] – Increasingly, the challenges facing government are more complex and face a new set of imperatives for success. This report identifies six trends that are leading to improved government performance. These trends, often in combination with one another, make it more likely that government will be able to successfully respond to the ever-increasing and complex challenges it faces today and that it will continue to face in the future.
  • Operators Manual for the Next Administration and Getting It Done – The handbook, Operator’s Manual for the Next Administration, is aimed at senior management, while Getting It Done is billed as a guide for government executives. The books offer tips on managing the confirmation process, learning about federal agencies and how they work, assembling a leadership team, and developing a vision and an agenda.[14]

The Business of Government Hour

For more than a decade, the weekly radio program The Business of Government Hour[15] has interviewed government executives who are changing the way government does business. As a platform for government executives to discuss their careers, agencies and agency accomplishments, as well as their vision of government in the 21st century, the program provides a forum for government leaders to highlight key initiatives, management challenges and successes.

The Business of Government Hour has interviewed more than 300 government executives from deputy secretaries to C-Suite executives from a range of federal agencies, as well as state and local government executives. The show has interviewed such government executives and thought leaders as Admiral Thad Allen, Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Governor Tim Kaine, Dr. Raymond Orbach, Dr. Robert Braun, Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, General Michael Hayden, General James Clapper, Robert F. Hale, David Walker, Gene Dodaro, Michael Astrue, Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Craig Fugate, Alec Ross, Tom Allen, General Tony Zinni and Professor Joseph Nye.

Presidential transition activities

The center’s “Governing in the Next Four Years” series, which examines issues facing the new presidential term, continues a series of transition-related materials that began with several publications in 2004 and continued in 2007, when Center Senior Fellow John Kamensky began writing a Presidential Transition blog[16] that has been cited in the US and overseas.[17][18][19][20]

The IBM Center Blog

Articles written by center staff and posted to their blog are often syndicated, excerpted or quoted in government-oriented media platforms, such as AOL Gov,[21] Government Executive,[22] Federal Times,[23] Federal Computer Week,[24] and Government Computer News.[25]

See also


  1. Kelman, Steve. "How IBM supports academic research on the business of government". FCW The Business of Federal Technology. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  2. "The Business of Government Hour". Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  3. Weigelt, Matthew. "Dan Chenok to take reins at IBM think tank". FCW The Business of Federal Technology. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  4. "Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory". Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. 21 (suppl1): i99–i112.
  5. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 21, Issue (suppl 1) pp. i99-i112
  6. Hardy, Michael. "The Chenok era dawns at IBM center". FCW The Business of Federal Technology. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  7. "IBM Center for The Business of Government - Research Stipends Synopsis:". Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  8. "The Business of Government Magazine Spring/Summer 2012". Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  9. "The Business of Government". Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  10. "IBM Center for the Business of Government publishes report on seven management imperatives for government". Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  11. Longley, Robert. "The Next President's Top 10 Challenges". Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  12. "Ten Challenges in Public Management Identified for Decade Ahead". IBM. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  13. Davidson, Joe (18 September 2006). "Report Offers 6 Keys to a More Successful Government". The Washington Post. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  14. "Center for The Business of Government Lays Out Key Imperatives for Managing the Presidential Transition and Governing in a New Administration". IBM. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  15. The Business of Government Hour
  16. Kamensky, John. "The Presidential Transition". IBM. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  17. "International Conference on Administrative Development Towards Excellence in Public Sector Performance" (PDF). Saudi Arabia Institute of Public Administration. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  18. Rollins, John. "2008-2009 Presidential Transition: National Security Considerations and Options" (PDF). Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  19. Ogden, Benjamin. "The United States Drug Enforcement Administration: Pertaining to Public Safety and Homeland Security". Pace University. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  20. "Inauguration: Online Resources" (PDF). The American Center. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  21. AOL Gov
  22. Government Executive
  23. Federal Times
  24. Federal Computer Week
  25. Government Computer News
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