Lessons Learned

Nice piece in the Inky yesterday about Michael Nutter meeting with New
York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg. So now our future mayor has hit NYC,
Baltimore, and Chicago to learn.

This reminds me of when I used to take my staff to other cities to
meet up with other, similar organizations to see what they were up to.
There was never a sense of directly pillaging a program step by step,
just an expanding of perspective when you see people doing a similar
thing but in a slightly different way for a slightly different
population in an altogether different place.

I think this sort of skill is really important. We do a lot of "best
practices" work at our firm, and when you do it right, you don't just
lazily say, "Here's what Agency X does, so we should do the same
thing." You have to decide if what Agency X does is indeed a good
practice, and then you have to translate what's good about that
practice into how it might work in your agency.

(Which, by the way, is why I recommend that anyone in college do
anything BUT take classes in the summer. Summer isn't for more of the
same; it's for doing new stuff that gives you a new perspective and
helps you get better at this important skill of "translating.")

So best of luck to Michael Nutter, and to the rest of us who also seek
out new ideas for the sake of expanding our perspective and doing it
even better at home.


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