BetaGov Blog

BetaGov Model for Innovation

Posted on November 14, 2016     By Maureen Hillhouse

Beautiful sunsent in a wheat field

The typical research paradigm relies on an academic investigator with an idea to identify a potential funding mechanism, prepare and submit a proposal making sure to adhere to all formatting rules, and then …wait…and wait…and wait.

As a research psychologist at an academic institution, this paradigm was all I knew. How exciting to learn of a new way to conduct research that skips the traditional funding application quagmire. Instead of building research on published reports of other research, this new model relies on the expertise and knowledge of practitioners to identify the truly salient issues affecting the people they serve.

The capabilities, motivations, and logistics required to try new ways of doing things differ immensely across agencies, departments, and organizations. The culture of some agencies is to roll out fresh ideas that seem promising as often as possible, whereas other agencies are slow to change their processes and procedures. BetaGov engages each agency at points in the process where they are comfortable.

What BetaGov offers is a new way to consider something different, not just of implementing something new, but of testing whether that new program or procedure is effective, efficient, or successful. This is the true value of BetaGov; to encourage, assist, and support innovation in a way that provides empirically derived results. After working in a rigorous research manner, usually as a randomized controlled trial, an agency can conclude that an innovation works or doesn't work based on the outcomes that they define. Then they are able to build on that knowledge to better manage their management process, client outcomes, and staff performance and satisfaction.