10x Public Administrators

In the tech industry, people speak of “10x” programmers, those who are ten times as productive as average. Who are the 10x public administrators?

The 10 is figurative, since there is no agreed-upon quantification of productivity in programming or public administration. And in both fields productivity includes creativity, rather than grinding through a set process. 10x is meaningful because it puts the focus on what a person can produce in practicing her craft, rather than the schools one graduated from, position in an organization’s hierarchy, years of experience, loyalty to a patron, etc.

One lesson from tech is that to see if someone is 10x, you have to look at what she produces when pursuing objectives important to her, which may not be her supervisor’s objectives. Open source software that is central to the Internet and smartphones was developed largely as programmers’ personal side projects outside their jobs. Organizations such as DataKind mobilize techies for volunteer projects that give them what their jobs don’t. Recruiters know that looking at a job candidate’s contributions to open-source projects can show more about what she is capable of than looking at her current job.

Public administration is way behind tech in recognizing, rewarding and learning from our 10x colleagues. I found some 10x public administrators, to present their work at the NECoPA 2015 conference this coming November 5 through 7 at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. Here are some of the actual experiences they will present:

  • How a government worker led open-source development of the first searchable database of inspector general reports across agencies, as a personal side project.
  • How a public administrator gets the benefits of documented procedures, even though management doesn’t want to leave a paper trail.
  • How employees in a government agency created a diversity program on their own initiative. Management support came after they implemented the program as a fact on the ground.

We’re looking for more 10x public administrators to show themselves during the conference—in the discussions after each panel, or by giving a lightning talk. If you work for government, a contractor or a grantee, and you want to be part of advancing the state of the art in public administration, then join us. Get more information at https://t.co/GFYkVOefWi and register at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/necopa-15-tickets-16515410036

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