Who Says It Can't Be Done in the Public Sector?

Feb 3


Marnie E. Green

Marnie E. Green

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This article provides a great example of public sector innovation.Leaders who ask these tough questions are the ones who will redefine what it means to serve the public.


Fast Company magazine recently featured a creative example of public sector innovation in the face of budgetary constraints.

We can all learn from this example. The article profiled Marcel Melanson,Who Says It Can't Be Done in the Public Sector? Articles Battalion Chief of the Compton, CA Fire Department. Melanson, at the age of 32, is one of the country's newest public leaders blazing a trail with a mantra of, "Who says?"

Melanson helped create a Fire Department Facebook page and a Twitter account (@cptkid) to improve communications with the community, which includes almost as many known gangs (75) as it does Fire Department employees (100). He is working to equip Firefighters with tracking devices to enhance safety at fire scenes. He has also brought in major corporate partners including Motorola and Cisco, the latter of which is building a wireless mesh network linked to a citywide camera system. The system will enhance the Fire Department's response in a disaster situation. At a time when municipal budgets are being slashed, Melanson is being hailed as a maverick, implementing new systems, technologies, and partnerships. He takes a business approach to each idea, looking for the most cost-effective approach to provide the highest level of public safety.

Melanson is a "Who Says?" leader. He represents the kind of thinking that will bring public agencies through this challenging time. He is questioning the way it's always been and he's not afraid to ask the tough questions.

Every agency needs a Melanson or two (or more). The leaders who define the future of public service are the ones who are not afraid to ask the hard questions, challenge the status quo, and seek creative solutions that have never been considered.

To be a "Who Says" leader, try asking these questions around your workplace:

· What have we always believed couldn't be done because we are a public agency?

· What new technology could we use to better serve our community?

· What steps can we take to provide more efficient, cost effective public services?

· What do we do now that just doesn't make sense given our current resources?

Leaders who ask these tough questions are the ones who will redefine what it means to serve the public. Do you have the guts to be a Melanson?