How can government leaders build, sustain, and leverage the cross-organizational collaborative networks needed to tackle the complex interagency and intergovernmental challenges they increasingly face? "Tackling Wicked Government Problems: A Practical Guide for Developing Enterprise Leaders" draws on the experiences of high-level government leaders to describe and comprehensively articulate the complicated, ill-structured difficulties they face - often referred to as "wicked problems" - in leading across organizational boundaries and offers the best strategies for addressing them. Government leaders increasingly face wicked problems that demand collaborative interagency and even whole-of-government solutions. Recent examples range from detecting and thwarting post-9/11 terrorist attacks and combating the H1N1 virus to dealing with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off Louisiana coast and providing disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina and Tropical Cyclone Sandy.
The need for interagency collaboration is not limited to national security and emergency management, however; almost all of the major challenges confronting government - cyber security and food safety to veterans' homelessness and global climate change - require leaders at all levels who can coordinate resources beyond their immediate control. "Tackling Wicked Government Problems" explores how enterprise leaders use networks of trusted, collaborative relationships to respond and lead solutions to problems that span agencies. It also offers several approaches for translating social network theory into practical approaches for these leaders to build and leverage boundary-spanning collaborative networks and achieve real mission results. Finally, past and present government executives offer strategies for systematically developing enterprise leaders. Taken together, these essays provide a way forward for a new cadre of officials better equipped to tackle government's twenty-first century wicked challenges.
Publisher: Brookings Institution