The ISS Difference
What makes ISS distinctive? Here are a few of the ways we think we stand out.
The reform leader is the starting point. A lot of people say that the main challenge in building core government institutions is to get the incentives right. People who are motivated will find a way to make core institutions work. We say incentives are important but they aren't sufficient. The really hard work lies in figuring out how to deploy resources, including staff, to deliver improved services. Implementation requires political skill as well as technical know-how and management sense.
Operational detail is key. A reform leader who has just taken on a new job has little time to determine how to translate broad principles into action. ISS tries to share stories about the sequence of practical steps leaders have taken to build institutions or solve a strategic problem.
Context is important. One design, one strategy, one innovation does not fit all. Contexts, histories, and the distinctive aptitudes of individuals all shape what is possible. Our analytical briefs contain notes about how key features of context shape a reform leader’s range of options.
Information and analysis are our strengths. ISS does not provide tailor-made advice or technical assistance. There are people and programs much better positioned to provide carefully honed recommendations to individual leaders. We offer an information resource open to all--an idea bank.
Our university base makes independent and creative reflection possible. When there is a problem that reform leaders in many places find especially difficult, we use our university base to harness an array of talents and help come up with proposed solutions.