10th Anniversary Learning Series

10th Anniversary Learning Series

October 1, 2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab (GPL). To kick off this celebratory anniversary year, we hosted three conversations highlighting strategies the GPL is developing to accelerate progress in building just and effective systems in the years ahead. We invite you to watch the recordings from the sessions below to hear from inspiring leaders who are reimagining public safety, scaling service innovation, and directing government spending more equitably.

10th Anniversary Learning Series Schedule

Incubating Local Innovation to Spark System-wide Change

State and local governments are often called the laboratories of democracy. So how can we position local experimentation to have system-wide impact? The GPL hosted a conversation with JooYeun Chang, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about her work incubating and scaling innovation at Michigan’s Children’s Services Agency and now at ACF. This conversation illuminated important lessons for taking promising models to scale at the local and national level.


Implementing Alternative 911 Emergency Response Systems

Across the country, governments are exploring alternative responses to nonviolent 911 calls that reduce reliance on traditional law enforcement and better connect residents to other forms of needed support, including mental and behavioral health services. To support these efforts, the GPL recently announced the selection of five jurisdictions for an Alternative 911 Emergency Response Implementation Cohort and a community of practice open to all governments working on alternative emergency responses. This session featured government leaders from that cohort sharing how they got to this moment of action and the initial steps they are taking to prepare for implementation of their new models. Featuring:

  • Rachael Eisenberg, Director, Office of Criminal Justice, Philadelphia, PA
  • Ginger Spencer, Deputy City Manager, Phoenix, AZ
  • Katie Balderas, Equity Officer, Long Beach, CA


Using Procurement To Advance Equity And Inclusion

Procurement is a powerful – but often overlooked – tool for improving racial equity. Most cities spend 30-50 percent of their annual budget through procurement and contracts, from paving roads to programming at community centers, yet Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) receive only a small share of government contract dollars. This session highlighted some of the strategies leaders are using to drive more dollars to small and diverse businesses and achieve more equitable outcomes for historically marginalized populations. Featuring:

  • Shatorah Donovan, Chief Diversity Officer, Buffalo, NY
  • Amber Paxton, Director of Office of Financial Empowerment, Department of Neighborhoods & Citizen Engagement, Lansing, MI
  • Michelle Wilson, Purchasing Agent, Department of Financial Management, Long Beach, CA