National Partnership for Reinventing Government


December 22, 1998, Vol. 4, No. 14

An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers and Their Partners--Pass It On

--Vice President Gore Announces the Results of Employee Survey

--Application Award Tips from an Innovations in American Government Award Winner

Vice President Gore Announces the Results of Employee Survey

Vice President Gore announced the results of a federal employee survey on Dec. 9, including a message relayed through federal agency messaging systems to more than one million federal workers. The survey went to 34,000 randomly selected employees and almost 14,000 responded. Seventy-five percent said their organization has service goals aimed at meeting customer expectations. Sixty percent said a spirit of cooperation and teamwork exists in their work unit, and 62 percent said they are satisfied with their jobs.

"In those organizations that make reinvention a priority, there was strong agreement that agencies are putting customers first and empowering employees," Vice President Gore said. "However, certain areas demand improvement. Only about one-third of those surveyed said their organizations make reinvention a priority, reward creativity and innovation, or take corrective actions when employees fail to perform adequately. Only 25 percent said management and unions work cooperatively."

The Vice President met with officials of High Impact Agencies-agencies that serve the most Americans-after announcing the survey results. He plans to meet with them again to discuss what actions agencies will take as a result of the survey. He has asked staff at the National Partnership for Reinventing Government to help agencies take their next steps in response to what their agency workers said. The National Partnership for Reinventing Government, in partnership with the Office of Personnel Management, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Federal Aviation Administration, developed the survey. The Vice President's letter, plus links to the full survey results and summary results are at

Award Application Tips from a Winner!

Applications for the 1999 Innovations in American Government Award Program are due January 8. If your agency is putting the finishing touches on an application, below are some tips for you from Barbara Rosenfeld, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner, Consumer Product Safety Commission.

CPSC's Fast-Track Product Recall Program was one of three federal winners of the ten 1998 $100,000 awards. Visit

CPSC's program is a winner of Vice President Gore's Hammer Award for reinventing government. The other federal winners are also connected to reinvention. The Forest Service program is a reinvention lab, as is the Office of Naval Research. Visit and For general Award information, visit

Seven Tips for Highly Effective Innovations Awards Applicants

  1. Nominate an outstanding project. It will be judged at each stage according to whether it is novel, effective, significant and transferable.

    You should constantly keep those criteria in mind as you make your case.

  2. Prepare a well-written and convincing application. It's not only what your program has achieved that matters - it is also how well an outsider can understand what you have done. Your submission should be in plain language, and understandable to someone who knows little or nothing about your agency or the program. Remember that it will be competing against 1500 or more applications.

  3. Find a high-level "champion" in your agency. You will need help and the assistance of many people throughout the application process. You should have strong support from someone who has the authority to ensure cooperation whenever you need it.

  4. Recruit a team of people to help you create a winning submission. You need reviewers to read your application - from policy, program and communication perspectives. You need enthusiastic program people to make presentations to your site visitor. You may want to invite outsiders to give you a fresh perspective.

  5. Demonstrate measurable results. How has this program made a difference? How has it helped you achieve your mission? What results can you show? If you haven't measured results before, you will need to develop some meaningful measures.

  6. Prepare well for the site visit. Your site visitor will be very knowledgeable and will spend considerable time reviewing your program. Assume he or she will probe deeply and ask the hardest questions. Prepare to back up every statement you have made about the program. Be imaginative in demonstrating that your program is as good as you say it is. You may want to bring in an outside customer or client to help you make your case.

  7. Choose your best communicator for your oral presentation. It is critical that you give an effective five-minute presentation to the judges. It puts a human face on your application. Think of which one or two people can demonstrate most convincingly to the judges that your program should win the award.
You may contact Barbara Rosenfeld at Barbara gave these tips at a November workshop sponsored by the Federal Communicators Network.

National Partnership for Reinventing Government, 750-17th St., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006. Reinvention Express is on the Internet at To subscribe by e-mail, send a message to Put this message: SUBSCRIBE EXPRESS-L FIRSTNAME LASTNAME (no period). To remove your name from the distribution list, send a message to Put this message in the message block: UNSUBSCRIBE-L (no period). For fax, send your name and fax number to or fax to (202) 632-0390.

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