Gov Innovator podcast

By Andy Feldman

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Insights for results-focused public leaders

Episode Date
How the Small Business Administration became a leader in evidence-based decision making: An interview with Jason Bossie, Director, Office of Performance Management, SBA – Episode #169
9:50

Over the last two years, the Small Business Administration has made laudable progress in building and using evidence in order to learn what works and help programs improve. That includes launching an evaluation office and a chief data officer role within the CFO’s office, as well as creating a learning agenda to identify priority research […]

The post How the Small Business Administration became a leader in evidence-based decision making: An interview with Jason Bossie, Director, Office of Performance Management, SBA – Episode #169 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Apr 02, 2019
How Oregon’s auto-enrollment IRA program, OregonSaves, helps state residents save for retirement: An interview with Lisa Massena, Executive Director, OregonSaves – Episode #168
7:50

It has been estimated that more than half of Americans are saving too little to support an adequate lifestyle if they plan to retire at age 65. It was economist and recent Nobel prize winner Richard Thaler who suggested a fix: Make payroll retirement savings plans available to everyone and then by add design features […]

The post How Oregon’s auto-enrollment IRA program, OregonSaves, helps state residents save for retirement: An interview with Lisa Massena, Executive Director, OregonSaves – Episode #168 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Mar 30, 2018
Two promising strategies to promote college success for disadvantaged students: An interview with Lindsay Page, University of Pittsburgh, and Michael Weiss, MDRC – Episode #167
11:47

Low-income and first-generation students enroll in and complete college at much lower rates than their more advantaged peers. This is particularly problematic because of the strong link between educational attainment and subsequent earnings, underscoring the need to find effective strategies that promote persistence and degree attainment. We profile two such programs that are making an […]

The post Two promising strategies to promote college success for disadvantaged students: An interview with Lindsay Page, University of Pittsburgh, and Michael Weiss, MDRC – Episode #167 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Mar 20, 2018
How HHS’s Data Science CoLab catalyzes employee innovation: An interview with Will Yang, CoLab Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Episode #166
10:15

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently launched a pilot version of a new initiative called the Data Science CoLab, an eight-week-long data science training program. The first class, which kicked off in October 2017, included 25 employees from different agencies within HHS and with different levels of knowledge about using data. Participants applied […]

The post How HHS’s Data Science CoLab catalyzes employee innovation: An interview with Will Yang, CoLab Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Episode #166 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Mar 12, 2018
Wins for data and evidence-based policy in the bipartisan budget deal: An interview with Nick Hart, Bipartisan Policy Center – Episode #165
9:00

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, passed by Congress and signed by the President on February 9th, 2018, contains several noteworthy bright spots in the use of data and evidence-based policy. Those wins suggest there is continuing bipartisan support in Washington for using evidence, data and innovation to improve the results and cost-effectiveness of Federal […]

The post Wins for data and evidence-based policy in the bipartisan budget deal: An interview with Nick Hart, Bipartisan Policy Center – Episode #165 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Feb 15, 2018
Why evaluation policies are useful to results-focused federal agencies: An interview with Naomi Goldstein, HHS, and Molly Irwin, DOL – Episode #164
13:14

A small but growing number of federal departments and agencies have created  evaluation policies that describe the principles that those agencies seek to promote when they conduct program evaluations. Those principles can include rigor, relevance, transparency, independence, and ethics. To learn more about evaluation policies and why they are useful to federal agencies, we are […]

The post Why evaluation policies are useful to results-focused federal agencies: An interview with Naomi Goldstein, HHS, and Molly Irwin, DOL – Episode #164 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Feb 06, 2018
How program managers can use random assignment (i.e., a lottery) to build evidence that can improve customer service: An interview with Matthew Notowidigdo, Northwestern University – Episode #163
8:52

How can program managers within public agencies — whether local, state or federal — use random assignment (in other words, a lottery) within programs to build evidence that can strengthen results and improve customer service? A good example comes from South Carolina. Its Medicaid program is administered through Managed Care Organizations, which offer different health care […]

The post How program managers can use random assignment (i.e., a lottery) to build evidence that can improve customer service: An interview with Matthew Notowidigdo, Northwestern University – Episode #163 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jan 31, 2018
Reforming the federal Experimental Sites initiative to better learn what works in higher ed: An interview with Amy Laitinen and Clare McCann, New America – Episode #162
6:55

As the new report “Putting the Experiment Back in the Experimental Sites Initiative” discusses, the U.S. Department of Education’s “Ex Sites” initiative — in place in one form or another since the mid-1980s — is designed to allow the Department to grant flexibility to institutions of higher education to test and evaluate potential federal policy changes, […]

The post Reforming the federal Experimental Sites initiative to better learn what works in higher ed: An interview with Amy Laitinen and Clare McCann, New America – Episode #162 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jan 25, 2018
Insights from a leading researcher-practitioner partnership, between Stanford University and San Francisco’s school district: An interview with Laura Wentworth, California Education Partners – Episode #161
10:42

The partnership between Stanford University and the San Francisco Unified School District is one of the best examples of a partnership between a university and a school district. Launched in 2009, the partnership matches researchers from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education with district leaders to create research projects to directly inform the school district’s work […]

The post Insights from a leading researcher-practitioner partnership, between Stanford University and San Francisco’s school district: An interview with Laura Wentworth, California Education Partners – Episode #161 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jan 11, 2018
A primer on the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking’s recommendations: An interview with Nick Hart, Bipartisan Policy Center – Episode #160
10:24

While Democrats and Republicans can’t seem to agree on much these days, there was a bright spot for bipartisanship recently: Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray joined together to praise the recommendations of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (CEP), which Ryan and Murray launched last year. The Commission was […]

The post A primer on the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking’s recommendations: An interview with Nick Hart, Bipartisan Policy Center – Episode #160 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Oct 04, 2017
Strategies to sustain program impacts for children and adolescents: An interview with Greg Duncan, Professor, University of California, Irvine – Episode #159
10:45

Many interventions that aim to increase the cognitive or socioemotional skills of children and adolescents have shown positive results, but far too often their impacts quickly disappear as children get older. Some programs, in contrast, have shown longer-lasting effects. In a new study published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Greg Duncan and […]

The post Strategies to sustain program impacts for children and adolescents: An interview with Greg Duncan, Professor, University of California, Irvine – Episode #159 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 31, 2017
The use of impact bonds around the world: An interview with Emily Gustafsson-Wright, Fellow, Center for Universal Education, The Brookings Institution – Episode #158
11:25

Social Impact Bonds, also called Pay for Success projects in the U.S., draw on private sources of capital to fund preventive services, with governments acting as the outcome funders, paying back the money with a profit if specific targets are met. The approach started in the U.K. and is now being used in many different […]

The post The use of impact bonds around the world: An interview with Emily Gustafsson-Wright, Fellow, Center for Universal Education, The Brookings Institution – Episode #158 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 26, 2017
How states can use ESSA to focus education spending on what works: An interview with Tom Kane, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education – Episode #157
7:47

The bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted in December 2015. ESSA gives states more opportunities to design their own educational systems, while also encouraging and sometimes requiring them to use evidence-based approaches that can help improve student outcomes. Our guest today, Thomas Kane, joins us for part two of our conversation about how states […]

The post How states can use ESSA to focus education spending on what works: An interview with Tom Kane, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education – Episode #157 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 24, 2017
Helping nonprofits build and use evidence through Project Evident: An interview with Kelly Fitzsimmons, Founder and Managing Director, Project Evident – Episode #156
10:03

Project Evident (@project_evident) launched earlier this year to help nonprofit leaders and their funders develop and implement multi-year evidence-building plans – plans that can help those nonprofits to provide evidence-based programs. The effort is lead by Kelly Fitzsimmons, formerly of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and Scott Cody, formerly of Mathematica. One of the underlying motivations for […]

The post Helping nonprofits build and use evidence through Project Evident: An interview with Kelly Fitzsimmons, Founder and Managing Director, Project Evident – Episode #156 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 22, 2017
How the Connecticut Green Bank is catalyzing green energy infrastructure: An interview with Bryan Garcia, President and CEO, CT Green Bank – Episode #155
9:24

The Connecticut Green Bank (@CTGreenBank) is designed to help mobilize more private investment and accelerate the growth of green energy, such as solar power, in order to create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower energy bills. It is the nation’s first state-sponsored bank to promote lower cost financing for clean energy. Since 2011, for […]

The post How the Connecticut Green Bank is catalyzing green energy infrastructure: An interview with Bryan Garcia, President and CEO, CT Green Bank – Episode #155 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 18, 2017
Insights from C-Stat in Colorado at year 5: An interview with Reggie Bicha, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Human Services – Episode #154
12:28

The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) recently celebrated five years of C-Stat, its performance management and leadership strategy and one of the leading examples in the U.S. of data-informed decision making in human services. Through C-Stat, CDHS reviews about 100 measures each month. Two-thirds of those measures have maintained or beat their goals set in […]

The post Insights from C-Stat in Colorado at year 5: An interview with Reggie Bicha, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Human Services – Episode #154 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 16, 2017
Launching an applied research team within city government: An interview with David Yokum, Director, The Lab @ DC – Interview #153
14:08

In 2016, the District of Columbia launched The Lab @ DC, based in the Office of the City Administrator within the Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser. Its mission: To embed the scientific method into the heart of day-to-day governance of the city to provide decision makers with high-quality evidence in order to improve results for the city. […]

The post Launching an applied research team within city government: An interview with David Yokum, Director, The Lab @ DC – Interview #153 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 14, 2017
How New Zealand links data from public data sets to address important policy challenges: An interview with Kelvin Watson, Deputy Chief Executive, Statistics New Zealand – Episode #152
9:46

Statistics New Zealand (@Stats_NZ) is the government department of New Zealand charged with collecting and producing statistical information. It is known as a leader in terms of linking data from different data sets in order to enable research and insights into important and complex policy challenges with the goal of improving outcomes for New Zealanders. For over […]

The post How New Zealand links data from public data sets to address important policy challenges: An interview with Kelvin Watson, Deputy Chief Executive, Statistics New Zealand – Episode #152 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 12, 2017
Linking data to improve human services while working within privacy laws: An interview with Erin Dalton and Brian Bell, Allegheny County Department of Human Services – Episode #151
8:37

The Department of Human Services (DHS) in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, is a leader in the use of data to continually improve services for its residents. In 1999, DHS created its Data Warehouse that consolidated its human services data relating to topics such as behavioral health, child welfare and homeless services. It then expanded this database to […]

The post Linking data to improve human services while working within privacy laws: An interview with Erin Dalton and Brian Bell, Allegheny County Department of Human Services – Episode #151 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 10, 2017
Four fundamental principles of evidence-based policy and practice, drawing from U.S. and European experience: An interview with Howard White, Executive Director, Campbell Collaboration – Episode #150
10:38

What principles can help guide public leaders—whether policymakers or public managers—in their use of evidence-based policy to improve results? Howard White (@HowardNWhite) of the Campbell Collaboration joins us to share four fundamental principles: 1. Use the right evidence to answer the right question. Different types of evidence — e.g., monitoring, process evaluation, impact evaluation and systematic reviews […]

The post Four fundamental principles of evidence-based policy and practice, drawing from U.S. and European experience: An interview with Howard White, Executive Director, Campbell Collaboration – Episode #150 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jun 25, 2017
The opportunities and pitfalls of government reorganization: An interview with Bob Behn, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School – Episode #149
7:07

Last month, President Trump issued an executive order calling for agencies to analyze their structures and programs in preparation for a major reorganization. The Trump administration’s focus on reorganization raises the question of when is reorganization useful and what pitfalls need be avoided. To get insights, we’re joined by Bob Behn. Although it is too […]

The post The opportunities and pitfalls of government reorganization: An interview with Bob Behn, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School – Episode #149 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jun 22, 2017
An overview of Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth, with lessons for other areas of social policy: An interview with Thaddeus Ferber, Vice President, Forum for Youth Investment – Episode #148
17:05

One of the most innovative new approaches in Federal policy is known as Performance Partnership Pilots, also called P3. In 2014, Congress authorized several Federal agencies, including Education, Labor and HHS, to enter into up to ten Performance Partnership agreements per year with states, regions, localities, or tribal communities. These agreements allow these jurisdictions to […]

The post An overview of Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth, with lessons for other areas of social policy: An interview with Thaddeus Ferber, Vice President, Forum for Youth Investment – Episode #148 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jun 02, 2017
How the Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab (RIIPL) works: An interview with Justine Hastings, Director, RIIPL – Episode #147
11:43

In 2015, a unique collaboration was launched call the Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab (RIIPL). It is a partnership between researchers at Brown University and the Office of the Governor of Rhode Island, with the goal of helping state agencies design evidence-based policies to better serve Rhode Island families. RIIPL’s goal is to use data […]

The post How the Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab (RIIPL) works: An interview with Justine Hastings, Director, RIIPL – Episode #147 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

May 26, 2017
The importance of replication and validation in evidence-based policy: An interview with Tammy Chang, U.S. Treasury Department, and Nathaniel Higgins, formerly U.S. Social and Behavioral Sciences Team – Episode #146
11:05

In this podcast episode, we explore two real-life stories from the front lines of government performance improvement efforts that highlight the importance of replication and validation in evidence-based policy. In the U.K., the department of revenue and customs, in conjunction with the U.K. Behavioral Insights Team (BIT), tested new versions of the letter sent to people who were […]

The post The importance of replication and validation in evidence-based policy: An interview with Tammy Chang, U.S. Treasury Department, and Nathaniel Higgins, formerly U.S. Social and Behavioral Sciences Team – Episode #146 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

May 24, 2017
How Massachusetts provides education policymakers with research insights: An interview with Carrie Conaway, Chief Strategy and Research Officer, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Episode #145
8:03

Massachusetts is known as a leader in providing education policymakers with research findings that they can use to improve policy and practices. The state’s Office of Planning and Research, within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), takes a multifaceted approach: Design a proactive research agenda, also known as a learning agenda Increase internal […]

The post How Massachusetts provides education policymakers with research insights: An interview with Carrie Conaway, Chief Strategy and Research Officer, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Episode #145 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

May 12, 2017
How Seattle used results-driven contracting to improve homeless services: An interview with Jason Johnson, Deputy Director, Human Services Department, City of Seattle – Episode #144
10:25

Because many of the most important functions of state and local governments involve contracting for goods and services supplied by the private sector, improving procurement processes is an important way to strengthen outcomes for citizens. That is the motivation behind our series on results-driven contracting. Our focus today is Seattle, Washington, whose Human Services Department […]

The post How Seattle used results-driven contracting to improve homeless services: An interview with Jason Johnson, Deputy Director, Human Services Department, City of Seattle – Episode #144 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

May 10, 2017
How states can optimize their pre-K programs: An interview with Greg Duncan, Professor, UC Irvine, and Member, Pre-Kindergarten Task Force – Episode #143
10:46

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia spent $6.2 billion in state funds on pre-kindergarten programs in 2015, highlighting the emphasis that policymakers are placing on pre-k to help students prepare for elementary school. Research has shown both the success of pre-K as well as inconclusive evidence about the sustainability of those gains as children […]

The post How states can optimize their pre-K programs: An interview with Greg Duncan, Professor, UC Irvine, and Member, Pre-Kindergarten Task Force – Episode #143 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

May 03, 2017
How states can use “efficacy networks” to test strategies for school improvement: An interview with Tom Kane, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education – Episode #142
14:27

The new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), emphasizes the importance of evidence, including defining four levels of evidence-based practices. The law, however, leaves it to states to decide how much they want to build an evidence base and how much to nudge districts toward choosing more effective strategies. So what should […]

The post How states can use “efficacy networks” to test strategies for school improvement: An interview with Tom Kane, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education – Episode #142 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Apr 27, 2017
Transforming the culture of procurement in state and local government: An interview with Jeffrey Liebman, Director, Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab – Episode #141
12:56

“Many of the most important functions of state and local governments – from building and maintaining roads to housing the homeless – involve contracting for goods and services supplied by the private sector,” notes the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab in their primer, Results-Driven Contracting: An Overview. “Unfortunately, governments often treat procurement as a back office administrative […]

The post Transforming the culture of procurement in state and local government: An interview with Jeffrey Liebman, Director, Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab – Episode #141 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Apr 20, 2017
Insights from the only Federal department with two Deputy Secretaries: An interview with Heather Higginbottom, former Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources, U.S. Department of State – Episode #140
9:40

Almost all Federal agencies are lead by a Secretary and a Deputy Secretary. But in 2000, Congress created a new position at the State Department, the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources — in other words, the chief operating officer. In doing so, the Department became the only federal Cabinet-level agency with two co-equal […]

The post Insights from the only Federal department with two Deputy Secretaries: An interview with Heather Higginbottom, former Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources, U.S. Department of State – Episode #140 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Apr 13, 2017
Transforming support services in Federal agencies: An interview with Jeffrey Neal, Former Chief Human Capital Officer, Defense Logistics Agency and Department of Homeland Security – Episode #139
11:56

How can Federal agencies successfully streamline their support services, such as HR and IT, to boost efficiency and improve results? We get insights from Jeffrey Neal (@JeffNealHR), a leading expert in human resources issues. He served for 33 years in the Federal government, including as the Chief Human Capital Officer for the 23,000-employee Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) from 2000 to […]

The post Transforming support services in Federal agencies: An interview with Jeffrey Neal, Former Chief Human Capital Officer, Defense Logistics Agency and Department of Homeland Security – Episode #139 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Apr 07, 2017
Creating a results-focused city government: An interview with Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia – Episode #138
12:51

What is the value of evidence and data for elected city leaders as well as how can those leaders create a results-focused culture within city government? We get insights from Michael Nutter who served for eight years at the Mayor of Philadelphia, from 2008 to January 2016. Under his leadership, Philadelphia became known as a leader in […]

The post Creating a results-focused city government: An interview with Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia – Episode #138 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Aug 26, 2016
Making rigorous program evaluation easier with RCT-YES software: An interview with Peter Schochet, Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research – Episode #137
10:45

Public leaders — whether they’re helping run a state agency, a school system, a hospital, a set of Head Start centers or any other organization — are likely to implement changes over time, whether it’s adjusting programs or adding new services. Maybe it’s a new curriculum for students in a school district or new intake procedure for patients in a hospital. Whatever the change, how […]

The post Making rigorous program evaluation easier with RCT-YES software: An interview with Peter Schochet, Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research – Episode #137 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Aug 19, 2016
Lessons in applying behavioral insights to human services from the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project: An interview with Lashawn Richburg-Hayes and Nadine Deshausay, MDRC – Episode #136
10:16

In 2010, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a project to explore how programs could advance their goals, and address specific challenges, by applying insights from behavioral sciences, including behavioral economics. It is called the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project. Now, six years later, […]

The post Lessons in applying behavioral insights to human services from the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project: An interview with Lashawn Richburg-Hayes and Nadine Deshausay, MDRC – Episode #136 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Aug 10, 2016
How states and localities are improving the quality of education, health, and human services through integrated data systems: An interview with Dennis Culhane, Professor, University of Pennsylvania – Episode #135
11:22

Programs and agencies in government often exist in silos, where the efforts of one aren’t necessarily connected with others and their data are not shared between them. That slows the process within government of learning what works, coordinating efforts, spurring social innovation, and continuous improvement. A growing number of states and localities, however, are developing Integrated […]

The post How states and localities are improving the quality of education, health, and human services through integrated data systems: An interview with Dennis Culhane, Professor, University of Pennsylvania – Episode #135 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Aug 05, 2016
Why broadening access to Federal administrative data is critical for improving government services and increasing taxpayer value: An interview with Maria Cancian, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison – Episode #134
14:48

Federal programs produce a lot of data — known as administrative data — and those data can be very useful for program administrators and researchers to answer important questions about policy and practice. That is especially true when data from multiple programs or datasets are linked, producing a broader view of program performance that spans organizational silos. In […]

The post Why broadening access to Federal administrative data is critical for improving government services and increasing taxpayer value: An interview with Maria Cancian, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison – Episode #134 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Aug 03, 2016
Test, learn and adapt – How public agencies can use researcher-practitioner partnerships to test low-cost, light-touch interventions: An interview with Adam Sacarny, Professor, Columbia University – Episode #133
8:05

How can public agencies can use rapid, low-cost experiments to test (and learn from) low-cost, light-touch interventions such as communications and outreach strategies? Also, how can agencies partner with academic researchers to run those experiments and what characteristics of those researcher-practitioner partnerships help make them successful? To get insights into all those topics, we are joined by Adam […]

The post Test, learn and adapt – How public agencies can use researcher-practitioner partnerships to test low-cost, light-touch interventions: An interview with Adam Sacarny, Professor, Columbia University – Episode #133 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 27, 2016
How Utah became a leader in evidence-based policymaking: An interview with Kristen Cox, Director, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, and Jonathan Ball, Director, Utah Fiscal Analysts Office – Episode #132
13:08

Utah is one of the top states in the U.S. in terms of evidence-based policymaking and budgeting. In particular, with efforts by the Utah State Legislature and the administration of Governor Gary Herbert, Utah has created a variety of agency-specific and cross-agency tools to incorporate evidence into policy and funding decisions. That includes: A requirement from the Governor’s budget office that agencies seeking new […]

The post How Utah became a leader in evidence-based policymaking: An interview with Kristen Cox, Director, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, and Jonathan Ball, Director, Utah Fiscal Analysts Office – Episode #132 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 22, 2016
How the State of Mississippi uses evidence-based budgeting to increase return on investment and improve program outcomes: An interview with Toby Barker, Mississippi State Representative – Episode #131
12:18

Over the past several years, the State of Mississippi has taken important steps to use evidence in order to get better results from state spending and, in turn, achieve better outcomes for the people of Mississippi. That includes defining tiers of evidence to focus funding on what works; creating comprehensive program inventories that categorize the level of evidence relating […]

The post How the State of Mississippi uses evidence-based budgeting to increase return on investment and improve program outcomes: An interview with Toby Barker, Mississippi State Representative – Episode #131 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 15, 2016
How the UK’s Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is building rigorous evidence about how to close education achievement gaps: An interview with Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive, EEF – Episode #130
13:37

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. To do that, it has a unique strategy: increasing the supply of high-quality evidence about what works in order to enable better decisions by teachers and school leaders. Launched in 2011 with a founding grant of £125 million from the […]

The post How the UK’s Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is building rigorous evidence about how to close education achievement gaps: An interview with Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive, EEF – Episode #130 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 13, 2016
Transforming Federal grant programs from compliance driven to results focused: An interview with Robert Gordon, former Acting Deputy Director, White House Office of Management and Budget – Episode #129
14:34

If you think about what the Federal government does, grant making may not be the first thing you think of. Even so, billions of dollars flow from the Federal level to states, localities and nonprofits in the form of grants. How can the Federal government encourage more evidence-based policy and innovation through the grant making process? We […]

The post Transforming Federal grant programs from compliance driven to results focused: An interview with Robert Gordon, former Acting Deputy Director, White House Office of Management and Budget – Episode #129 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 07, 2016
Creating successful researcher-practitioner partnerships at the Federal level: An interview with Dayanand Manoli, Professor, University of Texas at Austin – Episode #128
11:10

An important and underused opportunity for public agencies to improve their results and tackle critical challenges is researcher-practitioner partnerships. When researchers and government executives team up, public agencies can get credible answers to important operational and strategic questions. That can include insights from empirical analyses as well as from field experiments. To get insights into what it takes to […]

The post Creating successful researcher-practitioner partnerships at the Federal level: An interview with Dayanand Manoli, Professor, University of Texas at Austin – Episode #128 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jul 01, 2016
Raising job quality and skills for American workers through more effective education and workforce development within states: An interview with Harry Holzer, Professor, Georgetown University – Episode #127
15:24

How can the United States raise job quality and skills for American workers through more effective education and workforce development within states? In particular: How can we fix the misalignment between the skills of Americans without college degrees and the workforce needs of well-paying industries that do not necessarily require a college degree? And how can […]

The post Raising job quality and skills for American workers through more effective education and workforce development within states: An interview with Harry Holzer, Professor, Georgetown University – Episode #127 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jun 25, 2016
Using school-based health centers to address the health needs of low-income youth: An interview with Olga Acosta Price, Professor, The George Washington University – Episode #126
11:40

How can communities better address young people’s physical and emotional health needs? A growing trend is the use of school-based health centers. The goal is to provide convenient, accessible, and comprehensive health care services to students from pre-k through high school by having a health provider — or sometimes an interdisciplinary health provider team — […]

The post Using school-based health centers to address the health needs of low-income youth: An interview with Olga Acosta Price, Professor, The George Washington University – Episode #126 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jun 10, 2016
How one Federal agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service, strengthened the role of evidence in a key grant program, AmeriCorps: An interview with Diana Epstein and Carla Ganiel, CNCS – Episode #125
16:53

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is probably best known for overseeing the AmeriCorps program. The program provides grants to nonprofits and local governments to address community needs in education, public safety, health and the environment.  The money pays to support AmeriCorps members and their activities, whether it’s tutoring in an elementary school or […]

The post How one Federal agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service, strengthened the role of evidence in a key grant program, AmeriCorps: An interview with Diana Epstein and Carla Ganiel, CNCS – Episode #125 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Jun 06, 2016
Twelve “better practices” that can help public leaders tackle key organizational challenges and boost results: An interview with Bob Behn, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School – Episode #124
18:33

Bob Behn of the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) is one of the leading thinkers on the subjects of public management and leadership. He has argued that public agencies are unlikely to produce better results simply by creating rules, requirements or performance systems. A more effective approach, he notes, is to help managers learn better leadership practices. In […]

The post Twelve “better practices” that can help public leaders tackle key organizational challenges and boost results: An interview with Bob Behn, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School – Episode #124 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

May 27, 2016
How school districts can use rigorous program evaluation to test new education reforms: An interview with Matthew Lenard, Director, Data Strategy and Analytics, Wake County Public Schools – Episode #123
9:25

When schools or school districts implement district wide reform initiatives, how can they accurately determine if those reform efforts are having the positive effects that school leaders had hoped? How, in other words, can they move beyond anecdotes or simple trend data and rigorously evaluate their district wide reform initiatives? The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) […]

The post How school districts can use rigorous program evaluation to test new education reforms: An interview with Matthew Lenard, Director, Data Strategy and Analytics, Wake County Public Schools – Episode #123 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

May 13, 2016
Determining if your program is having a positive impact (i.e., impact evaluation 101): An interview with David Evans, Senior Economist, The World Bank – Episode #122
23:09

Is my program or initiative having a positive impact? It’s a question about which organizational leaders may want hard evidence, either to take stock and help improve program results, or to satisfy their authorizers or funders who may be asking for rigorous evidence of impact. Either way, how can you determine the impact of your program? And […]

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May 02, 2016
Using intensive, individualized math tutoring to boost academic outcomes of disadvantaged youth: An interview with Jonathan Guryan, Professor, Northwestern University – Episode #121
9:36

Improving schooling outcomes of disadvantaged youth is a top policy priority in the United States, but few interventions have produced convincing evidence that they can improve those outcomes, especially for adolescent youth — the age at which socially costly outcomes occur, such as high school dropout. As a result, it may be conventional wisdom that, by adolescence, […]

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Apr 26, 2016
Lessons from the nation’s first Social Impact Bond, aimed at reducing recidivism among adolescent offenders at Rikers Island: An interview with Gordon Berlin, President, MDRC – Episode #120
19:58

A Social Impact Bond (SIB) uses private funds – from philanthropy or other investors — to pay for a social, educational, or health programs. Importantly, the government only repays investors, plus a return, if pre-specified results are achieved. A new report by Gordon Berlin, the president of the nonprofit social policy research firm MDRC (@MDRC_News), reflects on the […]

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Apr 20, 2016
How the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Dept. of Education is helping the education field to learn and do what works: An interview with Russ Whitehurst, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution – Episode #119
13:57

Over the last 15 years, the field of education has become considerably more evidence focused, including a growing number of high-quality studies about how to help students succeed in school. An important catalyst has been the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). It is the independent, non-partisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department […]

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Apr 15, 2016
Milwaukee’s three-pronged strategy to reduce teen pregnancy: An interview with Bevan Baker, Commissioner of Health, City of Milwaukee, and Nicole Angresano, United Way of Greater Milwaukee – Episode #118
13:00

Milwaukee’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, launched in 2008, is a citywide effort led by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. It has been recognized as a model of community collaboration, including by the White House Council for Community Solutions. The three main prongs of the strategy are: An aggressive advertising campaign targeted to teens The use of evidence-based sex education The involvement of […]

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Apr 13, 2016
Three strategies to promote relevance in program evaluations so that findings are useful to policymakers and practitioners: An interview with Evan Weissman, Senior Associate, MDRC – Episode #117
11:39

In program evaluation, using the most rigorous methods possible is essential for producing credible research findings. But beyond the goal of rigor, relevance is important too. In particular, the more that evaluations are able to address specific research or implementation questions that are of interest to practitioners and policymakers, the more likely that the findings […]

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Apr 04, 2016
Improving student outcomes by giving parents detailed information about their child’s academic progress: An interview with Peter Bergman, Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University – Episode #116
11:12

Can regular, detailed information sent to parents about their students’ progress lead to improved student achievement? That question was put to the test by in a field experiment in the Los Angeles school system in which parents were given information by text, phone or email about their children’s missing assignments. The results for high school students show surprisingly large […]

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Mar 28, 2016
Las Vegas’s data-driven effort to improve traffic safety at its most dangerous intersections: An interview with Betsy Fretwell, City Manager, City of Las Vegas – Episode #115
9:01

Today, results-focused cities are using data to improve city services, boost the quality of life, and literally save lives. The City of Las Vegas has gained a reputation for its data-focused approach to addressing important city challenges. A good example is its effort to reduce traffic accidents, first by focusing on reducing left turn crashes and […]

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Mar 24, 2016
Insights from the City of New Orleans’ analytics unit, NOLAlytics, about using data to improve city services: An interview with Oliver Wise, Director, Office of Performance and Accountability, City of New Orleans – Episode #114
10:59

The City of New Orleans under Mayor Mitch Landrieu has gained a reputation as being one of the most innovative and data-driven city governments. An important element in those efforts is the Office of Performance and Accountability, launched in 2011. The mission of the office is to use data to set goals, track performance, and drive […]

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Mar 18, 2016
Improving health outcomes of older adults while reducing costs through the nursing-led Transitional Care Model: An interview with Mary Naylor, Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing – Episode #113
10:13

In the U.S., more than a third of elderly patients discharged from hospitals are re-admitted within 90 days, often needlessly. An intervention that is helping change that is the nursing-led Transitional Care Model (TCM), pioneered at the University of Pennsylvania. It been the focus of four large scale NIH-funded clinical trials, including three RCTs, all finding […]

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Mar 15, 2016
Using randomized evaluations to address global poverty and other social policy challenges: An interview with Dean Karlan, Professor, Yale University, and President, Innovations for Poverty Action – Episode #112
10:12

Addressing the nation’s — and the world’s — biggest challenges will require learning and doing what works. A powerful tool for doing that is the randomized evaluation, also known as a randomized control trial (RCT). It is a tool that is increasingly being used in the U.S. and around the world. Well-designed and well-implemented RCTs can […]

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Mar 09, 2016
Increasing diversity in the sciences through the Meyerhoff Scholars Program: An interview with Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County – Episode #111
12:12

The Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is at the forefront of efforts to increase diversity among future leaders in the sciences. It was launched in 1988 to provide financial assistance, mentoring, advising, and research experience to African American undergraduate students committed to obtaining Ph.D. degrees in science, engineering and related […]

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Feb 19, 2016
How Allegheny County’s Data Warehouse is improving human services through integrated data: An interview with Erin Dalton, Allegheny County Department of Human Services – Episode #110
11:48

Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, is recognized as a leader in using data to improve the results of its human services programs. In particular, the county’s Department of Human Services (DHS) created its Data Warehouse in 1999. The initiative stated by consolidating its own internal human services data relating to topics such as behavioral health, child […]

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Feb 17, 2016
How Philadelphia became a leader in the use of data and evidence: An interview with Maia Jachimowicz, V.P. for Evidence-Based Policy, Results for America, and former policy director to Mayor Michael Nutter – Episode #109
12:26

Michael Nutter served as Mayor of Philadelphia from 2008 to 2016. During his eight years in office, the city became a leader in the use of data, evidence and evaluation to improve outcomes for city residents. In 2014, Governing Magazine named the Mayor one of the Public Officials of the Year, noting, “Philadelphia isn’t an easy place to govern. But Mayor Michael […]

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Feb 15, 2016
The first-year effects of Mexico’s soda tax: An interview with Barry Popkin, Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health – Episode #108
9:35

Can a tax on sugary drinks reduce consumption and therefore fight obesity? The nation of Mexico, which has similarly high rates of obesity as the United States, is putting that question to the test. In 2013, Mexican lawmakers passed an excise tax on sugary drinks of 1 peso (about 8 cents) per liter, which is about a 10 […]

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Feb 11, 2016
Using behavioral insights to design smarter school lunchrooms: An interview with David Just, Co-Director, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs – Episode #107
11:59

How can schools use low-cost solutions to help children make healthier food choices? David Just is an expert on that topic. An economist by training, he is a professor at Cornell University and co-director, with Brian Wansink, of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (BEN Center). His research has included dozens of field and lab experiments that identify the subtle […]

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Feb 04, 2016
How Mexico took on the soda industry and won, passing a soda tax: An interview with Tina Rosenberg, New York Times and Solutions Journalism Network – Episode #106
13:32

Mexico consumes a lot of soda and its soda industry (particularly Coca-Cola) is very powerful. Even so, in 2013, Mexico’s congress was able to successfully pass a nationwide one-peso-per-litre (about 10%) tax on sugary drinks, over the opposition of the soda industry. How did it happen? To gain insights, we’re joined by Tina Rosenberg (@tirosenberg), a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. Her […]

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Feb 02, 2016
Calling on states to close their youth prisons: An interview with Patrick McCarthy, President, Annie E. Casey Foundation – Episode #105
12:06

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, through its juvenile justice initiative, has documented widespread maltreatment of youth in state-funded juvenile corrections facilities, including high rates of sexual victimization and the heavy-handed use of disciplinary isolation. The results include high levels of recidivism and annual costs that often exceed $100,000 per young person. The findings have led […]

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Jan 14, 2016
Doubling community college graduation rates through CUNY’s ASAP program: An interview with Donna Linderman, Dean for Student Success Initiatives, City University of New York – Episode #104
9:16

Increasing the graduation rates at community colleges is an important national challenge. Nationally, less than 40 percent of community college students attain a degree or certificate — and students who come to campus underprepared for college-level work (those needing developmental or remedial classes) have graduation rates below 30 percent. The City University of New York (CUNY) launched […]

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Jan 08, 2016
Colorado’s Family Planning Initiative: An interview with Larry Wolk, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – Episode #103
9:47

To quote social policy expert Isabel Sawhill, “If we want to reduce poverty [in the U.S.], one of the simplest, fastest and cheapest things we could do would be to make sure that as few people as possible become parents before they actually want to.” An important state initiative to do that is Colorado’s Family Planning […]

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Dec 30, 2015
Using food banks to fight diabetes and promote health for vulnerable populations: An interview with Dr. Hilary Seligman, Professor, University of California, San Francisco – Episode #102
9:40

Can food banks be used to address diet-sensitive disease in low-income communities? A new study of a pilot intervention suggests they can. Between 2012 and 2014, researchers enrolled almost 700 food pantry clients with diabetes in a six-month pilot intervention in three states. The intervention provided participants with diabetes-appropriate food, blood sugar monitoring, primary care referral, and self-management […]

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Dec 13, 2015
Colorado’s lean initiative in state government: An interview with Henry Sobanet, Director of the Office of State Planning and Budgeting, State of Colorado – Episode #101
11:33

Colorado is a leader among U.S. states in involving state employees in efforts to make state government agencies and programs more efficient and effective through a so-called lean approach. Lean techniques were developed in manufacturing settings, most famously at Toyota, and have since been applied to service settings, including government agencies. Under Governor John Hickenlooper, Colorado launched […]

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Nov 29, 2015
A bold proposal to catalyze progress on key social policy challenges, the Ten Year Challenge: An interview with Jeffrey Liebman, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School – Episode #100
9:44

How can the nation catalyze progress on key social policy challenges? A bold proposal, called the Ten Year Challenge, calls for selecting ten important social challenges and then having the federal government fund ten communities or states to address each challenge (so 100 experiments in total), while rigorously evaluating the results. The goal would be to generate a few […]

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Nov 12, 2015
Reducing bullying in schools through a peer-based strategy: An interview with Betsy Levy Paluck, Professor, Princeton University – Episode #99
12:14

There is growing awareness in the U.S. of the problem of bullying in middle and high school. Between a third and a fourth of all students say they have been bullied by other students, whether verbal, physical, and emotional. The potential consequences of bullying and harassment, including violence in schools, has highlighted the need for […]

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Nov 05, 2015
Applying behavioral insights through the EAST (Easy, Attractive, Social, Timely) framework: An interview with Simon Ruda, UK Behavioral Insights Team – Episode #98
13:46

How can public leaders, whether you’re running a large department or a small program, apply the insights of behavioral economics and other behavioral sciences to improve results? A simplified framework for the application of behavioral insights was developed by the U.K. Behavioral Insights Team (@B_I_Tweets) provides a useful way to start. The framework is called “EAST,” which stands for Easy, Attractive, […]

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Oct 30, 2015
How a small nonprofit in New Mexico achieves big good government wins: An interview with Fred Nathan, Executive Director, Think New Mexico – Episode #97
12:28

This podcast usually focuses on results-focused government, but our topic today is running a results-focused state think tank — with insights about making change that can be relevant more broadly. If you’re not from New Mexico, you may not have heard of the nonpartisan nonprofit called Think New Mexico (@ThinkNewMexico). Its record of accomplishment, however, is worth paying attention no matter where you live. With only a […]

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Oct 23, 2015
Improving the outcomes of disadvantaged youth by teaching them to be less automatic: An interview with Jens Ludwig, Director, University of Chicago Crime Lab – Episode #96
13:31

How can we help disadvantaged youth avoid negative outcomes such as delinquency and dropout? A recent NBER working paper presents findings from three randomized control trials that help low-income young people slow down and consider whether their quick, automatic responses are useful for a given situation. The paper is co-authored by Sara Heller, Anuj Shah, Jonathan Guryan, Jens […]

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Oct 11, 2015
Using behavioral insights to improve government performance: An interview with Maya Shankar, Chair, White House Social and Behavioral Science Team – Episode #95
10:28

On September 15th, 2015, President Obama issued an Executive Order encouraging federal agencies to apply behavioral insights in their programs, policies, and operations. On the same day, the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) released its first annual report that details the results of 15 different collaborative projects with agencies to apply insights from behavioral economics and […]

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Oct 04, 2015
How to design performance measures to better measure impact: An interview with Peter Schochet, Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research – Episode #94
15:35

How can public leaders and program managers track the performance of different sites within a program in a way that reflects impact — i.e., the value added of each site? The most rigorous approach is to run a rigorous program evaluation, such as a randomized controlled trial, by site, but that type of evaluation is not always feasible. Another approach (the […]

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Sep 24, 2015
Strengthening a culture of data-driven decision making: An interview with Carter Hewgley, Enterprise Analytics Division Director, FEMA – Episode #93
11:56

How can public agencies strengthen a culture of data-driven decision making? We explore that question with Carter Hewgley, the Enterprise Analytics Division Director at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He has been leading data-driven initiatives at the local, state and federal levels for the past ten years. In 2011, he began leading FEMAStat, FEMA’s version […]

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Aug 29, 2015
Connecting decision makers with high-quality research through the What Works Clearinghouse: An interview with Joy Lesnick of the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education – Episode #92
11:19

How can public agencies help decision makers at the state and local levels to make evidence-based decisions? A useful strategy is to create a clearinghouse of credible research about what works. A leading example is the What Works Clearinghouse (@WhatWorksED), run by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education. Launched in 2002, it reviews the research on the […]

The post Connecting decision makers with high-quality research through the What Works Clearinghouse: An interview with Joy Lesnick of the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education – Episode #92 appeared first on Gov Innovator podcast.

Aug 25, 2015
Setting HUD’s research agenda with input from the field through its Research Roadmap: An interview with Katherine O’Regan, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Episode #91
11:22

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) invests significant resources ($237 million since 2009) in research and evaluation to improve the evidence base for policymaking and the efficiency and effectiveness of existing policies. In 2008, however, a National Academy of Sciences report called HUD’s research-agenda setting process too insular and too short-term focused. As a result, the Department set […]

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May 21, 2015
Exploring how outstanding public executives make tough decisions: An interview with Ronald Sanders, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton – Episode #90
10:59

How do outstanding senior government executives make tough decisions? Recent exploratory research suggests that these leaders need to be “ambidextrous,” meaning skilled at gathering input and conducting thorough analysis of complex decisions, while at the same time willing to make tough and courageous decisions. Moreover, these executives also appear to have a “bias for action,” meaning leaning towards decisiveness in […]

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May 19, 2015
Using the Balanced Scorecard in the public sector: An interview with Kenneth Thompson, Professor, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, DePaul University – Episode #89
10:17

The Balanced Scorecard was introduced by Harvard Business School professor Robert Kaplan and management consultant David Norton in a 1992 Harvard Business Review article. It quickly became one of the most well-known approaches to performance management in the private sector. It was developed out of a concern that companies were placing too much emphasis on short-term financial […]

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May 13, 2015
Implementing a turnaround strategy at DOL: An interview with Seth Harris, former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor – Episode #88
19:04

The U.S. Department of Labor is a useful case study of a large public-sector organization that successfully strengthened a culture of results, data, learning and evidence. In doing so, it improved its performance on key outcomes. Moreover, by 2013, DOL had the highest score among cabinet agencies in terms of the use of performance information — and the […]

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Apr 27, 2015
Insights from the FTC about promoting employee engagement: An interview with David Robbins, Executive Director, Federal Trade Commission – Episode #87
9:25

How can public agencies at the federal, state or local levels strengthen employee engagement? We get insights from the Federal Trade Commission. Since 2010, the FTC has been among the top three federal agencies in terms of employee engagement, according to the Employee Engagement Index, based on factors that facilitate employee engagement such as effective leadership and […]

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Apr 19, 2015
Using Pay for Success to fund early-childhood programs: An interview with Janis Dubno, Voices for Utah Children – Episode #86
10:35

How can a Pay for Success approach — also known as a Social Impact Bond — be used to finance evidence-based early-childhood programs? And what lessons have been learned so far about doing that? To gain insights, we’re joined by Janis Dubno, a senior policy analyst at the nonprofit Voices for Utah Children. A former investment banker, […]

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Apr 15, 2015
Closing the social-class achievement gap for first-generation college students: An interview with Nicole Stephens, Professor, Northwestern University – Episode #85
12:37

Can a brief, hour-long intervention significantly improve outcomes for first-generation college students? Research by Nicole Stephens and her colleagues shows that it can. She is a social and cultural psychologist and a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. As background, college students who do not have parents with four-year degrees — in other words, first-generation students […]

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Apr 01, 2015
Using analytics to tackle tough agency challenges: An interview with Dean Silverman, former head of the IRS Office of Compliance Analytics – Episode #84
12:30

How can public agencies at the federal, state and local levels use analytics — including test and learn strategies — to tackle their toughest challenges? We get insights from Dean Silverman, the founder and former head of the IRS Office of Compliance Analytics (OCA), which launched in 2011. Reporting directly to the IRS commissioner, the OCA’s mission […]

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Mar 26, 2015
The importance of administrative data for learning what works in public policy: An interview with Raj Chetty, Professor, Harvard University – Episode #83
7:03

Why is administrative data, also known as big data, important for learning what works in public policy? And what steps can help the U.S. strengthen its data infrastructure for policy-relevant research? To gain insights, we’re joined by Raj Chetty for part 2 of our conversation. A Professor of Economics at Harvard University, his research combines empirical evidence (often using administrative […]

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Mar 18, 2015
Cost-benefit analysis 101 for policymakers & public managers: An interview with Henry Levin, Professor, Columbia University – Episode #82
13:16

Knowing “what works” in policy is important, but so is knowing what policy alternatives cost. For instance, do the benefits of a certain program or intervention outweigh its costs? Or among two interventions designed to achieve the same goal (say, improving children’s reading ability), does one produce a given level of improvement at lower cost? Questions like these […]

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Mar 13, 2015
New York City’s VendorStat initiative for social services: An interview with Swati Desai, Senior Fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government, State University of New York – Episode #81
11:29

How can public agencies give contractors — such as social service providers — more flexibility to design their own strategies while also ensuring greater monitoring of, and accountability for, results? We examine New York City’s efforts to do just that in the area of welfare-to-work services through its VendorStat initiative. Starting in the 2000s, welfare-to-work services in the city were provided […]

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Mar 08, 2015
The nation’s first Pay for Success initiative for early education: An interview with Ben McAdams, Mayor, Salt Lake County – Episode #80
14:48

The first Pay for Success initiative (aka Social Impact Bond) focused on early childhood education in the U.S. was launched in 2013 in Salt Lake County, Utah. The initiative involves a $7 million investment in private capital to fund the expansion of the early education for at-risk children. The goal is to increase school readiness and […]

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Mar 03, 2015
New performance initiatives in Cincinnati city government: An interview with Chad Kenney, Chief Performance Officer, Office of Performance and Data Analytics – Episode #79
10:57

Cincinnati, under Mayor John Cranley and City Manager Harry Black, has recently launched a set of new initiatives designed to strengthen city government performance and improve outcomes for residents. The initiatives include the introduction of citywide strategic goals, department head performance agreements and the launch of an innovation lab. Coming in June, the city will also launch CincyStat, the […]

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Feb 27, 2015
Improving public policy through behavioral economics: An interview with Raj Chetty, Professor, Harvard University – Episode #78
9:03

How can tools from the behavioral sciences, such as behavioral economics, improve the design and implementation of public policies? We examine that question with a leading economist, Raj Chetty of Harvard University. In his recent keynote speech at the American Economic Association meeting, he argued that insights from the behavioral sciences can expand the scope of tools that are available to policymakers — insights […]

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Feb 20, 2015
Insights for evidence-based grant making from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program: An interview with Evelyn Kappeler, Director of the Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Episode #77
14:22

An important advance in the effort to make grant programs more evidence focused has been the launch of “tiered-evidence” or “innovation fund” grant designs in the federal government. They focus resources on practices with strong evidence, while also promoting innovation. One of the first tiered-evidence grant programs to launch, in 2010, was the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program. It is […]

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Feb 15, 2015
Using Career Academies to help disadvantaged students: An interview with Jim Kemple, Executive Director, Research Alliance for New York City Schools – Episode #76
13:12

Career Academies are one of the biggest success stories among interventions designed to improve outcomes for high school-aged disadvantaged students. A rigorous evaluation, using a random-assignment design, showed that Career Academies boosted the earnings of participants by a sizable 11 percent in the eight years after graduation, with especially strong gains among young men. Moreover, the findings demonstrate the […]

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Feb 13, 2015
Evidence-based policies that improve early-life health and wellbeing: An interview with Janet Currie, Professor, Princeton University – Episode #75
14:21

What early-childhood interventions have been shown by rigorous research to have lasting impacts on people’s health and wellbeing? To explore that question, we’re joined by Janet Currie, a leading expert on early-childhood interventions, including Head Start. She is a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and the director of Princeton’s Center for Health […]

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Feb 08, 2015
Public sector innovation teams around the world: An interview with Jo Casebourne, Director of Public and Social Innovation, NESTA – Episode #74
11:44

How can city, regional or national governments use innovation initiatives – teams, units or funds – to catalyze innovation in the public sector? To gain insights into that question, we’re joined by Jo Casebourne (@jocasebourne), the Director of Public and Social Innovation at NESTA, the British innovation nonprofit. A recent report by NESTA and Bloomberg Philanthropies, called i-teams, presents case […]

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Jan 30, 2015
Strategies to turn around a city government: An interview with Andy Kopplin, First Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer, City of New Orleans – Episode #73
18:56

In 2010, when Mayor Mitch Landrieu took office, New Orleans faced many serious challenges, including the highest murder rate, widespread blight and a dysfunctional city government. Four years later, the city has undergone a remarkable turnaround, with a new culture of results-focused and data-driven government that emphasizes establishing clear strategies, setting specific goals and tracking those goals with data-driven “stat” (aka […]

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Jan 19, 2015
Creating a results focused city government: An interview with Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky – Episode #72
11:16

Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) of Louisville, Kentucky joins us to talk about creating a city government culture that is data driven and results focused. He is a former businessman and entrepreneur who was first elected mayor in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. He was named a “Public Official of the Year” by Governing Magazine in […]

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Jan 10, 2015
Improving education outcomes through innovative low-cost interventions, such as texting: An interview with Benjamin Castleman, Professor, University of Virginia – Episode #71
13:58

How can school district leaders, or other state and local education leaders, strengthen student outcomes through innovative low-cost interventions, such as through text messages? To gain insights, we’re joined by Benjamin Castleman (@BenCastleman), a professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia. His research focuses on how behavioral economics and social psychology can […]

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Jan 08, 2015
The federal evidence agenda & lessons for state/local leaders: An interview with Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution – Episode #70
13:08

What are the key themes of the Obama Administration’s evidence-based policy agenda around grant making and what can state and local leaders learn from those efforts to strengthen the use of evidence in their own jurisdictions? We get perspective on those questions from Ron Haskins, the author (with Greg Margolis) of Show Me the Evidence: Obama’s Fight for Rigor and […]

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Jan 02, 2015