Democracy and Peace | April 11, 2017

Sonal Shah has a thing (or five) to say to Jared Kushner

The team at


Women Rising

Sonal Shah, the first head of the Obama administration’s Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, collected some lessons for her sort-of successor.

President Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has established the Office of American Innovation as a kind of White House think tank to modernize the federal bureaucracy.

“We need to ‘reboot’ the role of the public and private sectors to solve today’s problems and be held accountable” for results, writes Shah, now head of the Beeck Center at Georgetown University.

Her five tips: modernize public-private partnerships; reform procurement and hiring; build a culture of innovation; give citizens a seat at the table; and build an architecture for innovation.

There are plenty of ways government can enable the private sector, Shah suggests: pay-for-success programs, impact investing, and “outcomes-based infrastructure financing.”

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