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Share Your State Story around Innovation, Emerging Models or Initial Design Concepts
Participate in the NASCA - Harvard State Spotlight at the 2021 Institute

Leaders across the world are grappling with unparalleled volatility, uncertainty, and complexity. In many ways, a decade of change has been compressed into just a few months. This pivotal time will define how organizations provide value to the world, and the boldest and bravest leaders are using the upheaval to build capacity for an emerging future. 

State Chief Administrators are squarely in the mix. Not only are you called upon to respond to this pivotal crisis, but also develop a plan for navigating through an uncertain, politically charged future. While challenging at every level, this moment has illuminated the innovations, operating models, and collaborations that have the potential to expand capacity for change over the long-term. At NASCA’s 2021 Institute: Redefining Agility and Resilience, participants will take a leadership view and address opportunities to bolster and sustain newfound strengths and fix gaps that have been identified in government operations.

A successful State Spotlight can feature a state that has enhanced their service delivery model to improve the outcomes and public perception of core government services in response to the global health pandemic, such as developing new web portals to engage businesses and citizens. A state highlighted for an emerging model could showcase how they continue to adapt and amend systems, budgets, processes, or operating models to increase capacity. Or, a spotlight can focus on a state just beginning to embark on a new function or process and is in need of peer consulting around implementation approaches.

New State Spotlights: As in years past, we will continue to feature states’ real-world experiences, innovations, and challenges as a catalyst for discussion, reflection, and insights. However, given the context, the Program Committee is taking a novel approach. In place of two in-depth case studies, the Program Committee will select three states or regional collaboratives to feature in a State Spotlight. Together, these three vignettes will highlight a portfolio of different approaches, strategies, and innovations that emerged in response to this moment of unparalleled volatility, uncertainty, and complexity.

Request of Featured States: To minimize the demands on featured states, those selected will be asked to participate in a brief interview (approximately one hour) with NASCA and the Leadership for a Networked World (LNW) team. The LNW team will then draft a one-to two-page State Spotlight for each featured state, along with accompanying leadership questions. Featured state representatives will have an opportunity to provide timely written feedback. During the Institute each featured state will present a brief (10-15 minute), informal presentation on their state’s approach and response to the global health pandemic. NASCA and LNW will provide guidance on the suggested structure and focus of these TED Talk-style presentations.

Selection Criteria: The Program Committee will aim to select featured states that represent a diversity of challenges, responses, tactics, geographies, political landscapes, and topics. 

Featured states will be considered based on:

  1. The complexity of the leadership challenges encountered
  2. The likelihood that it will spark good conversation
  3. Alignment with the Institute theme
  4. Willingness to reflect and share candidly about challenges, failures, and lessons learned
  5. Insights on innovations that can be carried into the “new normal”
  6. The expected level of interest they will generate. 

Next Steps: If you are interested in being featured in a State Spotlight this year, please submit the form below by April 16 and designate if your approach is innovative and being fully implemented, emerging yet still being developed, adapted, or revised, or if you are bringing an initial design still in the conceptual stages.  Please share a brief overview of this work and feel free to include any relevant background materials (websites, articles, etc.).

Deadline: All state spotlights submissions must be submitted via an online form by April 16, 2021.

Step 1: Step 2:
 Institute Theme Overview
Spotlight Submission Form

 View previous case studies at