The Government Performance Lab (GPL) at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) conducts research on how governments can improve the results they achieve for their residents. An important part of this research model involves providing technical assistance to state and local governments—we hire and train full-time fellows, embedding them in government agencies to collaborate closely with government innovators in leading intensive reform projects. Most of these projects are focused on difficult social problems such as homelessness, the opioid crisis, child poverty, joblessness, criminal recidivism, among many others. By supporting government agencies in this important work, we improve how governments function and how services are delivered, speed up progress on difficult social problems, and ultimately make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people across the United States. To date, the GPL has engaged in 96 projects with 67 jurisdictions spread across 31 states. We are a team of 40—the majority of whom are embedded in governments around the country providing technical assistance.
Position Overview The GPL is hiring a senior leader with a passion for improving government performance to lead and expand our strategic procurement practice. The GPL's procurement team currently has 6 staff members who collaborates with city and state governments to improve the results achieved through contracted goods and services. The GPL believes that procurement is an underused strategic tool, with the power to create outcomes-oriented relationships with the vendor community to help governments improve the lives of the residents they serve. Since the launch of this program in 2015, GPL's procurement practice has affected more than $2.3 billion in spending by state and local governments.
The GPL believes that all governments should be using procurement as a strategic tool for achieving their most important goals and solving their most difficult challenges. Working with the GPL Director, the Program Director will develop and implement a strategy for the next phase of GPL's procurement work with the goal of improving state and local procurement practices nationwide. This work will involve public facing thought leadership to elevate the status of procurement work, pilots to test different approaches for spreading effective practices, fundraising, partnering with other like-minded organizations and more. In addition, the Program Director will lead our procurement team that is executing projects in approximately 10-20 city and state governments each year, building the capacity of government staff to apply results-driven contracting strategies and helping governments adopt a portfolio approach to results-driven contracting that engages providers and emphasizes outcomes across all major procurement and contracts. This project work includes GPL's role in the second phase of Bloomberg Philanthropies' What Works Cities (WWC) initiative, through which the GPL is supporting cities in systematically improving the results of their highest priority procurement and contracts. In the first phase of this initiative, the GPL worked with 26 cities on 45 projects to improve the outcomes of social services, public works, and technology contracts.
Responsibilities The Program Director will report to GPL Director Jeffrey Liebman and be responsible for the following:
Developing and implementing a strategy for the next phase of GPL's procurement work
Work with the GPL director and executive team to develop a strategy to affect procurement practices in city, state, and county governments nationwide.
Support the GPL director in raising the funds necessary to implement this strategy.
Lead the implementation of the strategy.
Duties & Responsibilities continued in the Additional Information section.
Continued from Duties & Responsibilities:
Delivering successful technical assistance projects with 10-20 governments per year
Direct conceptualization and execution of the GPL's strategy for providing technical assistance to a high volume of governments to improve the results of their contracted dollars as well as for spreading innovative procurement ideas through publications and trainings.
Identifying governments that could benefit from the GPL's technical assistance, including by coordinating with other collaborating institutions as part of WWC.
Scoping high impact projects for new GPL engagements.
Establishing timelines, milestones, and deliverables for the GPL's WWC program as well as tracking progress against these goals, including for communication efforts and project delivery at various stages of each engagement.
Overseeing team of 6+ remote GPL front-line team members and managers in coordinating and delivering projects with jurisdictions from conceptualization to implementation, while navigating complex organizational structures.
Developing new solutions that improve how government functions and new strategies to increase take-up of GPL solutions by governments
Consolidating and advancing the GPL's learning about results-driven contracting, such as which aspects of the practice most influence outcomes.
Develop and test new methodologies to spread our ideas and practices to governments beyond those that we directly assist.
Cultivating strategic relationships, including with funders and collaborating governments
Location: it is possible for this position to be based in other U.S. cities. Please indicate in your cover letter if you have a location preference other than MA.
Application instructions: Please submit a resume and cover letter. If you have a preferred geographic location, please indicate this in your cover letter.
Application deadline: October 4, 2019.
This position is a fully benefits-eligible term appointment ending one year from date of hire with possibility of renewal.
We regret that the Harvard Kennedy School does not provide visa sponsorship.
Harvard University requires pre-employment reference and background checks.
Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.
Salary Grade: 059
Union: 00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary
Bachelor's degree and minimum of 5 years of related professional experience.
Many kinds of experiences could prepare an individual to thrive in this role. We expect the strongest candidates will be able to demonstrate many, but likely not all, of the qualifications listed below:
Passion for improving government performance and solving social problems.
Graduate-level training in public policy, business, law, economics, social work, or related fields is highly preferred.
Experience conceptualizing, structuring, and delivering projects and programs that result in meaningful improvements to an organization's operations or impact.
Proven capacity to solve problems and identify key insights through quantitative and qualitative analysis, and develop persuasive and compelling materials (e.g., memos, presentations, policy briefs, blog posts) that communicate those ideas to external audiences.
Track record of building, maintaining, and navigating complex relationships, such as with senior executives, clients, peer organizations, or funders.
Success in previous management, coaching, and development of multiple direct reports and diverse teams.
Ability to travel up to 30% of the time is required.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER: We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Internal Number: 50054BR
About Harvard University Kennedy School
Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education. Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.