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When German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plane touched down in Athens last week, protesters were already gathering in the streets. They are outraged by what they see as extreme and unnecessary conditions attached to the multi billion dollar bailout afforded to Greece since its debt crisis began in 2009. Greece, for instance, must pass new cuts of 13bn euros (£10.5bn; $17bn) to qualify for more bailout cash.
While Greece is an extreme example of the fiscal crisis confronting governments worldwide, it’s by no means the only government facing tough decisions about the role of government and the types of services government can and should offer to its citizens. Painful federal budget cuts to help boost state coffers – dubbed "austerity measures" – have become de rigeur in governments across the world. Roughly translated, "austerity measures" usually means job losses and cut backs to government spending and services.
But, while politicians debate the merits of tax cuts, cut backs to benefits (entitlements), and civil service layoffs, should they instead be taking a lot more of a pragmatic look at the "how" of government services and adopt well-trodden process improvement techniques as a way to make the adjustment a lot less painful?
Yes they should, says the guest in this Process Perspectives interview. R. Scott Bonney, the founder of the Federal Improvement team and a Master Black belt himself for the US federal government. In this interview, Bonney discusses the reasons why the government needs to pay much more attention to process improvement and shares ways that the Federal Improvement Team – a grassroots organization of government employees sharing ideas on how they can improve their agencies – has been tackling the issues from the ground up.
Editor's note: Read a transcript of this interview here: Improving the business of government from the ground up: Interview with R. Scott Bonney, Master Black Belt. Find out more about Scott Bonney's Federal Improvement team organization on its web portal here: http://fitportal.org/