HKS Authors

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The core idea is a simple one: public managers should be focused on “creating public value” from the assets entrusted to them by the public. Those assets include public money, raised through the power of taxation, to provide for the public welfare. But they also often include the authority of the state to regulate the conduct of private actors either to prevent them from doing harm to the public welfare, or to require them to make contributions to the overall public good. It may also include their ability to kindle or take advantage of some pre-existing “public spirit”: -- the desires of citizens to contribute to important public purposes, or at least to do their duty or contribute their fair share to common efforts. To create public value, we need public managers with “restless, value-seeking imaginations” looking for opportunities to do so, figuring out how those opportunities might be exploited, and then doing so. This is an entrepreneurial style of management that is possible in the public sector only if one fully understands and acts in accord with the important processes of democratic legitimation and public accountability. To both guide and discipline value creating management in government, a simple strategic concept is taught and applied: the strategic triangle. The strategic triangle is supposed to do for public sector executives what the various strategy models developed in the private sector do for private sector executives: namely, help them position the enterprises that they lead in environments that are both highly dynamic (they change often), and very heterogeneous (they consist of many different expectations, and many unique and different operational challenges). The main purposes of the strategic triangle are to help executives both diagnose their environments to spot the opportunities for creating value (either by avoiding a harm or advancing a good), and to design and test in their minds particular actions they can imagine taking that would exploit the opportunity. In this sense, it is an opportunity spotting and planning tool. It can also be converted into a tool for monitoring progress as one goes along, and adapting as circumstances change.


Moore, Mark H. "Creating Public Value: The Core Idea of Strategic Management in Government." International Journal of Professional Business Review 6.1 (January 2021): 219.