mbo or gbn

That's Management By Objectives vs. Governing By Numbers.

I was reading through Willy Priles' latest post on the prospects of implementing the principles of New Public Management (NPM) in the Philippines and wondered if NPM's MBO style management would be more effective if it were paired with Citistat's model of Governing By Numbers.

Citistat, which garnered a prestigious Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 2004, was a program pioneered in Baltimore City by then Mayor Martin O'Malley. (O'Malley was recently elected governor of the state of Maryland). The Mayor implemented CitiStat (based on the ComStat program pioneered in the New York City Police Department by Jack Maple) as a government accountability tool and basically used it to run the city.

This is how the KSG Award site describes the working of Citistat:

"In bi-weekly meetings, the manager of each city agency must stand at a podium and answer questions from a panel led by the mayor or his appointed inquisitor. The questions are culled from CitiStat's statistical analyses of the agency's previous two-week performance. During the meeting, various images are projected onto two screens behind the manager: graphs of performance, recent pictures of job sites, and even the manager's face beside a performance chart. However, CitiStat was not created to assign blame; it was created to generate personal accountability for the City's challenges and focus efforts towards producing quick, effective results. In Mayor O'Malley's words, CitiStat "puts a face on the problem."

Sitting behind the manager's podium are heads of other relevant agencies. When a problem is attributed to resources or inter-agency cooperation, the other managers may be called upon to help find a solution. For instance in 2004, when an agency fell behind its goal for cleaning up after street repairs, the manager complained of inefficient four-man crews lacking sufficient equipment. The resolution, after consulting the finances manager, was to purchase more effective equipment, allowing each crew to be reduced to two. Ultimately, this permitted the department to clean twice the number of sites at approximately the same pace.

CitiStat's primary innovation is its ability to tailor performance evaluations to each agency: the animal control manager must explain an increase in strays and propose a solution; the housing manager must explain a chart of vacant houses and the plans to resolve this problem; all managers may be asked to explain each hour of their department's overtime."

How effective was Citistat? The program cost the city $400,000 to implement, and they reaped over $100 million in savings in the first 4 years. And lest you think it requires some fancy proprietary software, Baltimore built the system on largely off the shelf GIS software and often kept the data on simple excel spreadsheets. Which makes me believe Willy's home city of Naga, and our other small innovative cities can readily implement this system. (This can work very well with Naga's great GIS maps.)

So how could this help NPM? Citistat's 4 tenets:
  1. Accurate and Timely Intelligence
  2. Effective Tactics and Strategies
  3. Rapid Deployment of Resources
  4. Relentless Follow-Up and Assessment
-could be the day-to-day application of NPM's "Concepts," namely:
  • Lean State – reduced tasks performed by state
  • Separation of Decision Making Levels – Separation of the strategic from the operative level: politics decides the what, administration the how
  • Lean Management – Combination of management by objectives, flat hierarchy, project management, performance related payments, modern methods of leadership
  • New Service Attitude – Customer orientation: satisfaction in the center of all considerations, behavioral changes
  • New Model of Control – Steering by clear targets, measurement of results, transparency of resource allocation
  • Decentralization – Task, responsibility, competence and budget in the hand of the project manager/ department manager
  • Quality Management – Ensure high service quality through qualification, competition, transparency
  • Product Approach – Describing all administrative service as “products” highlighting factors such as: features, cost, needed resources, and time to deliver
Where NPM provides the goals of how government should be run, Citistat provides a day-to-day measurement of delivering on the goals of that model.

Where NPM is internalized and qualified -defining the management model for public administration; Citistat is externalized and quantified -measuring the performance of government in very concrete terms. ("Since CitiStat's statistics are published on the city website, the public also benefits from the increased governmental transparency.")

NPM is about the philosophy, outlook and motivation of government (e.g. -"emphasizing the centrality of the customer"), while Citistat is about nuts and bolts and the response times of the nervous system of government (e.g. "measuring how long it takes to get a pothole repaired from the moment it is first reported.").

Both are innovations that can be implemented at the local level (as Wily recounts in the Naga experience) and entrepreneurial local mayors and governors can move forward with either system without having to wait for the national government's initiative.

(In a sense, Naga is already doing a similar program to Citistat with their Netserve initiative that gives citizens expected delivery response times for various city services.)

You can find out more about Citistat and Governing by Numbers by reading Daniel Esty and Reece Rushings recently released report for the Center for American Progress.


fixing traffic

LA Times features 10 ideas from 6 specialists (requires registration) for quick and inexpensive ways to reduce traffic in Los Angeles. (via planetizen)

The suggestions range from lowering bus fares, raising parking rates, congestion and express lane tolling and expanding Rapid Bus networks (!).

What you will not find is any suggestion to expand the road network, or widen roads -something the MMDA still seems hung up on. Haven't they read about induced traffic demand (340kb pdf)?

chunnel schmunnel

Bloomberg reports that Russia is planning a transport and oil tunnel under the Bering Strait that will put the Chunnel to shame:

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Russia plans to build the world's longest tunnel, a transport and pipeline link under the Bering Strait to Alaska, as part of a $65 billion project to supply the U.S. with oil, natural gas and electricity from Siberia.

The project, which Russia is coordinating with the U.S. and Canada, would take 10 to 15 years to complete, Viktor Razbegin, deputy head of industrial research at the Russian Economy Ministry, told reporters in Moscow today. State organizations and private companies in partnership would build and control the route, known as TKM-World Link, he said.

A 6,000-kilometer (3,700-mile) transport corridor from Siberia into the U.S. will feed into the tunnel, which at 64 miles will be more than twice as long as the underwater section of the Channel Tunnel between the U.K. and France, according to the plan. The tunnel would run in three sections to link the two islands in the Bering Strait between Russia and the U.S.


The Bering Strait tunnel will cost $10 billion to $12 billion and the rest of the investment will be spent on the entire transport corridor, the plan estimates.


Japan, China and Korea have expressed interest in the project, with Japanese companies offering to burrow the tunnel under the Bering Strait for $60 million a kilometer, half the price set down in the project, Razbegin said.


solution engines

This article has so many gems, it's hard to choose what to quote. The underlying research promises to be even more interesting.

Researchers find 'large is smart' when it comes to cities
from PhysOrg.com

Cities are considered by many to be a blessing and a curse. Large cities generate considerable wealth, they are home to many high paying jobs and are seen as engines of innovation. But cities also generate pollution, crime and poor social structures that lead to the urban blight that plagues their very existence.


Some picks:

"It's true that large cities have more problems, they are more congested, they create more pollution and they have more crime," said Jose Lobo, and ASU economist in the School of Sustainability. "But also because of their size, cities are more innovative and create more wealth. Large cities are the source of their problems and they are the source of the solutions to their problems."
Then there's:

"Cities are really one of the most important innovations in humans history," Lobo said. "We need to think of them as being very human entities and as engines of creation. We need a different perspective about cities, one that is away from thinking of large cities as a source of problems but as possible sources of solutions."

And the money quote:

"The practical application of this work is that the problem is not large cities, the problem is the conditions in which some of the people live in large cities," Lobo added. "Policies should be directed to making large cities more livable not making them smaller."

Image credit: Makati Skyline posted by
johnnydr87 in urbanplanet.org



Edi Sian of Pinoy Post interviewed me for his blog and so if you want to hear me repeat the many themes I squeak about in this blog (and hear them in my own squeaky voice), hie over to Pinoy Post to find Edi's summary of our talk as well as links to the long (three part) podcast.

I reproduce the audio links below:

This podcast is a 3-part conversation.

Part 1 covers the History of Manila, Manila as Pearl of the Orient, Devastation that came with World War Two
Part 2 covers the discussion on what makes a city livable.
Part 3 tackles the solutions and recommendations for improving Metro Manila.

Edi's other podcasts are interviews with even more interesting people, including Tita Cory, Cito Lorenzo (about Gawad Kalinga) and Sol Angala about the Pinoy Teacher's Network.

Edi wants his podcast to "1) to inform its listeners about issues concerning the global Filipino community and the Philippines; (2) to engage everyone with timely, relevant, thought-provoking topics; (3) to mobilize the global Filipino community into action and provide links and options for people to be involved in."

manifesto for a global city

Found Mike Madison's Manifesto for a new Pittsburgh via the CEOs for Cities blog. He wrote it with the help of fellow Pittsburgh bloggers Jim Russel and Jim Morris.

There's a lot we can learn from their project:

The principles are general. They are animated by a single, overarching idea. The future of Pittsburgh depends on the region’s recognition of its dependence on other cities – and regions – and countries. And it depends on their corresponding recognition of their connections with Pittsburgh. In the 21st century, connectivity is key and king, and in that connected world, Pittsburgh has a unique asset, which we call the Pittsburgh diaspora: the thousands of people who live around the world yet who still identify closely with the Steel City. They grew up in Pittsburgh, worked in Pittsburgh, or have family in Pittsburgh. By identifying with Pittsburgh they energize it emotionally. We believe that it is possible to translate that emotional energy into economic energy. Pittsburgh can, should, and must recapture and benefit from the intellectual, economic, and cultural capital associated with the Pittsburgh diaspora. That capital is distributed geographically, but it can be invested locally.

We seem to have the same ingredients of diaspora, global connections, virtual communities, art and culture. And we can clearly learn from their goal of capturing the and benefiting from the "intellectual, economic, and cultural capital" of their diaspora.

In fact, read the Seven Principles of their Manifesto below and, as you read it, replace "Pittsburgh" with Metro Manila, "Pennsylvania" with the Philippines. With the exception of references to the Steelers -the rest of the ideas can very well apply to our city, our country and our diaspora.

1. Connect and reconnect with the virtual Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh must replicate its famous bridges, by building metaphoric bridges to other countries, states, companies, and groups and above all to the diaspora of people and institutions with historic ties to Western Pennsylvania. We must build a global Pittsburgh.

2. Bring new resources to the region.

Pittsburgh’s diaspora is flush with social capital, which is on full display whenever and wherever the Pittsburgh Steelers play. Pittsburgh needs to use its metaphoric bridges to broaden the sources of that capital and to convey it back to Western Pennsylvania in the form of intellectual and economic capital. The diaspora can contribute time, money, and ideas to the rebirth of the region.

3. Energize Pittsburgh’s culture and community.

Pittsburgh’s position as a world leader in science, art, and culture should get extended across populations both young and old and across virtual and material media. Building the global Pittsburgh means extending excellence in computing, music, and sport and embracing the economic and social value of global community in domains beyond Pittsburgh's traditional strengths.

4. Listen for new voices.

For too long, Pittsburgh has heard the same voices in public political, cultural, and economic conversations. As part of reaching out to the Pittsburgh diaspora, Pittsburgh must enfranchise new and marginalized voices.

5. Change the face of Pittsburgh.

With new people come new opportunities. East Asian, South Asian, and Latino populations, among many others, are bringing much needed energy and human and financial capital to cities all over the United States. Building bridges to the Pittsburgh diaspora means reaching out to a 21st century global Pittsburgh of many colors, nationalities and ethnicities.

6. Build on the best of Pittsburgh’s past.

A connected Pittsburgh brings change, and change and novelty must respect the strengths of the old. Pittsburgh has rich heritage of industrial and human success to be blended with the capital contributed by the diaspora.

7. Recognize the geopolitics of the neighborhood.

The traditional localism of Pittsburgh politics should give way to an accommodation of that localism in the context of 21st century globalization. The global Pittsburgh should exist at many scales, from the region to the city to the neighborhood.

Image credit: Downtown Pittsburgh, by i_r_e_n_e


urban planning can save the earth

So says Adrienne Tissier, writing for The Examiner:

Her article is largely bay area-centric, but there are wise words we should heed in our own metropolis:

The solutions to global warming are found in modern urban planning and zoning and three little words: Transit Oriented Development (link mine -udc). Build well-designed, affordable housing within walking distance of efficient mass transit, and the air-fouling traffic jams will unclog themselves. Better yet, build well-designed, affordable housing within walking distance of jobs, schools and retail, and car use will plummet (link mine -udc).


The environmental effects of rising concentrations of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere were first discussed in the early to mid-1800s. Proliferation of the internal combustion engine and ensuing Industrial Revolution have contributed tremendous amounts of greenhouse gasses for more than a century. We must slow or even reverse this or our grandchildren will suffer for our inaction.


Saving the Earth, or at least treating the Earth’s “severe case of the humans,” starts in our own communities, one TOD at a time. We have little choice but to embrace this evolution of our communities if we want to leave viable, livable, sustainable places for coming generations. Doing less is simply irresponsible toward ourselves and our Earth.

Are you an Filipino environmentalist? Are you concerned about the global climate crisis? Then pay attention to the land use plan and the transportation investments in our cities.

We can certainly do better than empty gestures to save the environment.

Image credit: Till Dusk (8), by Parc Cruz
(cc license, attribution)


what the frak?

WARNING: this one's partly a rant.

Shanghai and Mexico City are requiring their public officials to use public transport once a month.

What does Makati do to celebrate Earth Day? Ask drivers to shut of their engines for 60 seconds.

(SFX: canned laughter)

And, oh, it gets worse: they start the day with a motorcade. Woohoo.

Couldn't they have had a pedestrian march instead? Or a bicycle parade?

Ah, yes, I forgot. We're ruled by auto-elitists who can't imagine that you need to provide efficient public transportation and control private car use if you want to make a serious dent on our greenhouse gas emissions.

Ok, rant over.

Here are some ideas they could consider next time, if they actually want to make a meaningful gesture.

  1. Provide free public transportation within Makati for one whole day.
  2. Pair that off with a one day 100% increase in parking rates throughout the city -no parking should be free (even to residents).
  3. Proceeds of that parking rate increase should go to a pedestrian streetscape fund or to pay for bike racks in all public buildings.
  4. Declare one of the main roads (Ayala Avenue or Makati Avenue) completely pedestrian for one whole day.
Your ideas?

Image credit: Traffic in Makati, by kris!


on the blink

My powerbook has been acting up -so I may fall silent for a while. In the meantime, entertain yourselves with Paula Scher's op-art - swiped from found in today's NYT.


Is design political?

Alex Steffen at WorldChanging points to an excellent essay by RED's Senior Design Strategist, Jennie Wenhall.

Jennie asks "Is design political?"

"Design is a very powerful tool. It elevates the likelihood of certain kinds of choices and shapes certain kinds of behaviours. Most designers balk at the idea that design is a form of social engineering, but Hilary Cottam, director of RED at the UK Design Council, maintains that 'if you don't look at what any design is governing, then you are being governed by it.'

She continues: 'The question for us is how do we find out what the effects of design are and make sure we're using those for social justice.' ... So yes, design is political. It's about values, power and preferences, about ideologies and consequences. And the good news is that there's a growing breed of designers who are political with a small p. They're not campaigning, but problem solving; they're not 'master-designers,' but democratic in approach. They're using their skills as designers to illustrate, create and demonstrate opportunities for social change. But the reason for their emergence is that the politics of design itself has changed."

I can certainly identify with Jennie when she says:

My policy colleagues say they went into politics because they wanted to challenge the status quo and make things better for ordinary people. That's certainly why I went into design. So maybe design is more political than you think.


Crucially, good user-centred designers look at a problem from the point of view of the user, not the priorities of the system, institution or organisation. You could say that user-centred design is a political standpoint in itself. Designers observe people in context to understand the complex experiences, needs and wishes of individuals, and are able to represent and champion those needs throughout the design process.


Designers must find new ways of working that enable them to apply their skills where they are most needed - to tackle problems such as chronic health care, climate change and an ageing population.

Her view on the role of designers fits in quite succinctly with my own explorations on the design of democracy.

Wenhall also cites excellent examples of design discipline applied to a host of societal issues -including the IIT Institute of Design's Visible Politics project. (A project koikaze would definitely be interested in.)

Image credit: "RED designing with doctors, nurses, economists
and policy makers" -from core77

the mexicans, too!

The BBC reports that Mexico is taking a page from Shanghai.

They are requiring their public officials to bike to work at least once a month. (If they live too far from their office, then they can take public transport.)

Officials in Mexico City have been ordered to leave their cars behind and cycle to work once a month.

The new city regulation that has just come into force is aimed at reducing traffic and pollution in one of the most congested cities in the world.

About four million cars travel every day through the city of more than 18m people - and officials say their aim is to cut pollution as well as disease.

Tax incentives are envisaged for firms encouraging alternative transport.

Those officials who cannot cycle because of health reasons, or because they live too far from work, will be allowed to use public transport, but not their vehicle.

Mayor Marcelo Ebrard proposed the programme last year - and was the first to get on his bicycle from his home south of the city to his office in the central Zocalo.

His Corridors of Unmotorised Movement: Pedal your City comes complete with a guidebook on "urban cycling" - including security-related details like what to wear and how to get spotted by motorists.

Only 0.7% of all journeys in the capital are by bicycle - and Mr Ebrard aims to increase to 2% in three years' time and 5% in six years.

At the same time, the mayor says he will improve public transport, including building more special bus lanes.

Check out those gems:
  • Tax incentives for companies that encourage biking to work
  • Increasing biking's transport mode share from 0.7% to 5% in six years.
  • Improving public transport (NOT JUST IMPROVING TRAFFIC! -and of course, all this via bus rapid transit)

Maybe we should require all senatorial and congressional candidates (along with pretenders to local office) to take public transit or bike across the metro.

I'm tired of debates - show us how good you are at biking across the metro or navigating the public transport system (with a minimum of factotums) and maybe we can pick the standouts from the pool of inferior choices.

Image credit: Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, from the BBC Online.

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