Why this project...A strategic initiative of ACT-IAC’s Institute for Innovation is to engage with academic institutions to promote innovation in government. This spring, under the guidance of Institute chair, Judy Douglas, the Institute engaged with Syracuse University Maxwell School of Public Administration’s Dean, David VanSlyke, to explore a President’s Management Agenda Cross-Agency Priority Goal as a prospective student capstone project. Tim Cooke, who is leading the Institute’s initiative on Acquisition Innovation Supporting the PMA under the sponsorship of OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), proposed a capstone project on CAP Goal 7, Category Management. Dean VanSlyke accepted the proposal to engage students in learning the application of the commercial category management best practices and in developing recommendations for their application in the government and their own organizations.
What the Institute did ...Under Tim’s guidance and mentorship, four students teamed up and dug into the topic. The Army kicked off its Category Management initiative in February and initial Army-wide management roll out was in May, fortuitously just in time for the students’ capstone experience. The Institute facilitated a key meeting for the students with Ms. Lesley Field, leader of the government-wide Category Management program and her OFPP team. The students were introduced to “best practice” leaders in DoD Category Management from the US Air Force. Maj Gen Cameron Holt, champion of the well-regarded Air Force approach, had been directed by the highest level of OSD to assist the Army with its implementation of CM. Tim worked with the Air Force team and others to provide a reading list to the students and actively guided their research with Army, Air Force, OFPP and other experts.
The results are in .... Through the Institute’s sponsorship of this capstone project, select Army students gained insight into the possibilities from implementing Category Management, its roots in both the commercial sector and government, and crafted a research paper to satisfy the School’s requirements. The project - all in a little more than a month of dedicated effort - enabled them to recommend how the Army could tap into the resource efficiencies, cost savings, and mission performance improvements that may result from the Army’s implementation of the disruptive acquisition innovation of Category Management.