When Governments Listen

When Governments Listen: Moving Toward Publicly Engaged Governing

Meet the Trailblazers 

They are government executives, department and project directors, budget managers and project, finance and management analysts. They work in county, city, town and state governments across the United States and in provinces in Canada. They are the Trailblazers: innovators and doers in the forefront of a new movement toward publicly engaged governing.

Publicly engaged governing starts with performance measures that resonate with the public's voice and concerns and moves on to inform and influence policy makers and program operations. It changes the relationship between government and the public for the better. In this book, Barbara Cohn Berman of the Center on Government Performance at the National Center for Civic Innovation introduces us to the Trailblazers—men and women who did just that.

Building on Ms. Cohn Berman's groundbreaking research into public-centric government performance measurement, the Center created the Trailblazer Program to put theory into action. Over eight years, 70 governments reengineered their performance measurement systems driven by public inputs.

What happens when government listens to the public? The Trailblazers—and their constituents—found out. This book recounts their successes and challenges, offering insights and lessons of interest, encouragement, inspiration, and optimism to all who think and care about government performance.


Center on Government Performance

Listening to the Public: Focus Group Research



Street Smoothness


U.S. – Canada Government Trailblazer Programs

Reports and Publications

When Governments Listen

Listening to the Public

TIPS for Conducting Focus Groups and Citizen Surveys

National Civic Review