FlipSide: A few minutes with…Jonathan Breul

Jonathan Breul, executive director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, joined the center five years ago as a senior fellow after 22 years as a career federal executive in the Office of Management and Budget. The center, established as part of IBM’s Global Business Services division, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month. Under its charter, the center’s purpose is to bring independent thinking and practical insights to public-sector managers by conducting and sharing research on changes under way in public management at all levels of government in the United States and abroad.As you know, companies spend money on marketing and going to conferences to gain a presence in the marketplace. We thought we could do that and also make a contribution to improving public management in a distinctive way that contributed more than just, if you will, buying the breakfast hour at a conference. We began on a small scale, doing a couple of research reports. From a couple, we went to the point now where we’re doing two to three dozen reports a year. In addition, we produce a weekly radio show, a magazine twice a year and put on events. We consider 10 a pretty big milestone. It’s a mark of success and longevity. We’ve become known and respected as an unbiased source of public management information. We’ve focused a lot on the President’s Management Agenda, particularly the integration of budget and performance information. We’ve done a book and published about a dozen reports in that area. We brought in through the World Bank a dozen representatives from developed and developing countries to look at how this is done worldwide. Yes, it’s become a worldwide phenomenon. The bottom line is that it is deceptively difficult. We’ve tried it here for several rounds ever since Lyndon Johnson’s Planning-Programming-Budgeting System. What we’re doing now with the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 is only the latest installment. The connection between government effectiveness and world competitiveness is quite strong. Countries that are trying to keep up with one another see this as a public management trend they can’t ignore. 


FCW: What inspired the establishment of the center?
BREUL:


FCW: What stamp have you put on the center’s research agenda?
BREUL:

FCW: Are governments making substantial progress in understanding budget and performance integration and actually doing it?
BREUL:

FCW: What is one insight you’ve gained from working on budget and performance integration?
BREUL:

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