Trailblazer Program
NEW BOOK: When Governments Listen

Trailblazer Governments

What Trailblazers Say

Examples of What Trailblazers do
Focus Group Research
Street Smoothness
Reports and Publications



Government Trailblazer Program
Governments Involving The Public In Performance Measurement And Reporting

The Government Trailblazer Program of the Center on Government Performance is part of the National Center for Civic Innovation’s broader, ongoing effort to encourage and support government management practices that inform and are informed by the public. With small grants, the program has supported governments aligning their work with the public’s point of view and engaging with the public in non-confrontational mutually informative communications. 


In 2003, the Center on Government Performance (CGP) at the National Center for Civic Innovation launched a Demonstration Grant Program to encourage local and state governments to:

  • Test the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB) 2003-issued Reporting Performance Information: Suggested Criteria for Effective Communication,
  • Produce and disseminate to the public their annual performance reports, and
  • Consider the public’s feedback in preparing subsequent reports.
  • Twenty-four (24) governments blazed new trails in the way they measured and reported about their performance to the public.

The success of the Demonstration Grant Program led CGP to launch the Government Performance Reporting Trailblazer Program – with the aim of expanding this program’s reach to more governments, including some in Canada. A new group of 23 Trailblazers joined the program in 2007. This group applied market research methods to gather feedback from the public about their performance measures and reports. The information gathered was then used to promulgate revised annual performance reports that took the public’s views and suggestions into consideration. 

In 2009, the program was again expanded to include an additional 11 governments to incorporate the public’s feedback into their management practices, performance measures, and future performance reports to the public.

In the Spring of 2010, a new group of 12 governments were accepted into the program, expanding the Trailblazer core to 70 governments and government managers who have signed on to blaze new trails in the way they are measuring and reporting about their performance by:

  • Soliciting public feedback, through focus group, surveys or other professional research  methods, about its performance reports and setting criteria for enhancing the content, format  and means of disseminating reports in the future;
  • Disseminating its performance reports to the public on an ongoing basis; and
  • Heeding some or all of the public’s suggestions when revising performance measures and reports and reviewing management practices and priorities.
Trailblazers enjoy the recognition and satisfaction of introducing innovative management practices and civic participation into local government operations and are emboldened by sharing their practices and experiences with other Trailblazers on the Trailblazer listserv and at our annual conferences.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Fund for the City of New York have provided continuing support for this program since 2003.

Click below to view Trailblazer participants.

2010 Government Trailblazer Program

2003 - 2009 Government Demonstration/Trailblazer Program