Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tiger Teams and SWAT Teams

Jared Kushner is to be head of an Office of American Innovation.

In my RSS feed I've got a bunch of stories which came in the last few days on the general theme of government reorganization, etc.  I keep thinking I'll gather them all into one piece, but no, this is it.

Back in my Infoshare days the rather charismatic leader of the effort liked to talk about "Tiger Teams", and talented technologists, and other buzzwords of the day.  These days "SWAT Teams" are mentioned more often, but the function is the same: pie in the sky promises of a magic bullet (how many more cliches can I stuff into this post?)

My own feeling is people are bound by habits.  Some things can change habits, as WWII changed German and Japanese habits, or Katrina changed the New Orleans school system but mostly people are slow to change and are very inventive finding reasons why a particular change is ill-advised, or just plain wrong.  Now good P.R. can dress up results.  There's a NYTimes piece today which gives Al Gore's Reinventing Government effort some praise.  Me, I don't believe it, not fully  One of his biggies was reducing layers of supervision, which was mostly accomplished in ASCS by paper changes or ignoring the mandates.

So, as to Mr. Kushner, count me skeptical.

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