Kundra's not focused solely on weeding out bad stocks. He also uses this approach to free up capital for innovative bets. For example, he's initiated a project that combines YouTube with Wikipedia to increase government's accountability to citizens. All requests for proposals (RFPs) for city contracts are posted on a Web site in a wiki, with all bids being available as PDF attachments. Attendee lists from public hearings are scanned and posted as well, as are videos of hearings and even RFP presentations. Also posted or linked are any district communications with the potential vendors on the RFPs. If this effort succeeds, "no one can say that there are deals done behind closed doors," he says.
"It's tough in tight budgets to find the innovative path," Kundra notes, which is why he is so focused on gaining stock market-like efficiencies in weeding out wasteful projects and identifying strong ones. Thanks to the savings already established from this approach, he's been able to set up an R&D lab to test new ideas. The two areas of his fancy are new-generation mobile devices -- "I believe the iPhone is the future for integrated voice, data and video" -- and Web 2.0 technologies.
With the stock market management approach and the new R&D lab, Kundra says he can marry his two core management approaches: "It takes both rigor and risk-taking."