BetaGov Blog

Don't Apologize

Posted on June 5, 2017     By Ellyn Schwaiger

A stack of smooth flat stones by a riverbed

As a BetaGov case manager, my role is to help public sector practitioners facilitate randomized controlled trials in their agencies. This offers me great exposure to a particularly resourceful, engaged, and creative group. Whether it's developing a peer-mentor program to help incarcerated individuals transition out of restricted housing or using analytic tools to create a better experience for website users, our partners come up with highly customized and creative interventions, often by simply reallocating resources already at their disposal.

Quite frequently, I hear apologies such as, "I'm sorry for talking so much; I simply have so many ideas to share!" This is never something to apologize for. I have seen even the most seemingly incongruous idea translate into a policy change that meaningfully and positively affects both agency staff and clients. Even when an idea does not yield the intended outcome, there is so much that can be learned. Far worse is never testing new ideas at all due to cynicism or a fear of failure.

Our practitioner partners squarely meet the unique challenges of their environments, coming up with creative solutions to problems large and small. It is a joy to see their obvious concern for the clients they serve, their passion for policy improvement, and their eagerness to go above and beyond their day-to-day duties. At BetaGov, we believe that small changes can make a world of difference, and we love that our practitioner partners agree.