portrait of Jose Alfaro

Mexico faces significant challenges in education — one of these is to guarantee decent and good infrastructure in public schools. In the country, 10 percent of the schools lack electricity, in poor states the numbers increase up to 20 or 30 percent. To improve school infrastructure, the federal government launched the program Escuelas al 100 (Schools at 100) in 2014, as a component of the... Read More

portrait of Wyatt Cmar
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The Connecticut Green Bank is the winner of the 2017 Innovations in American Government Award from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. In 2011, Governor Dannel Malloy and Connecticut’s General Assembly established the country’s first state green bank. Their aim was to spend wisely, create jobs, lower energy costs, and realize cleaner, cheaper... Read More

Portrait of Claudia Ng
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Indonesia is a nation made up of thousands of volcanic islands that lies at the convergence of three major tectonic plates and is estimated to possess 40 percent of the world’s geothermal energy reserves, roughly 27,000 megawatts. This is the largest in the world, but up until 2011, Indonesia was only using 4 to 5 percent of its geothermal potential, according to the World Bank. A new... Read More

Portrait of Magdalena Soel
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In 2007, Costa Rica President Oscar Arias declared “peace with nature” and laid out a visionary goal to expand and secure Costa Rica’s national parks, wildlife preserves, and protected seascapes. Many thought the ambitious plan had little chance of success. After three years, the Costa Rican government, conservation NGOs, foundations, and experts joined forces to permanently protect more... Read More

Portrait of Magdalena Soel
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In 2007, George Overholser delivered a speech in Florida, at America Forward’s Gathering of Leaders, in which he proposed a $1 billion social investment fund to advance proven intervention programs with a combination of social returns to beneficiaries and fiscal returns to government. This was the first write-up of his idea of “money back guarantees.” Mark Warner, who was governor of... Read More

Portrait of Magdalena Soel
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When I started my stint as a public servant with a prior background in the private sector, one question puzzled me and continued to remain in my mind: Why does government spending and activities tend to focus on inputs rather than outcome or impact? As time passed, I was able to see and understand various reasons behind this approach: government spending is often tied to legislative... Read More

Zoila Llempen
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When talking about international development, it is often said that fixed recipes do not work well in every context. Pretending that, as an outsider, one could determine what should be done to fix or improve the provision of public services in a certain context based in what worked in another place is risky and can even be harmful. This was the dilemma that the Peruvian government faced... Read More

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Last week, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School celebrated the conclusion of a two-year search and evaluation process to name the winner of the $100,000 Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award in Public Engagement in Government. For the past two years, in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Ash Center, the center has hosted... Read More

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Each day, throughout the world, public officials and practitioners face the daunting task of creating solutions to society's most pressing problems, as they strive to improve the lives of their citizens. These dedicated public servants are under pressure to do more with increasingly limited resources, and to be more effective and efficient. Repeatedly, history has shown that continuing to... Read More