BetaGov Blog

Learning Corner: Embracing Change

Posted on September 17, 2019     By Maureen Hillhouse & Angela Hawken

Goldfish leaping from smaller fish bowl to larger fishbowl

BetaGov encourages pracademics to test promising changes to practice and process that might improve outcomes. We don't expect that all ideas will lead to big changes, but we believe that testing even "small" ideas is valuable for incrementally moving the dial and for creating muscle memory. Sometimes we are surprised by how a "small" idea (implemented as a modest change) can have an outsized impact. Innovation is possible only when we challenge the status quo and try something new. But shiny and new isn't always better. We love that our partners embrace change and do so responsibly, by testing whether an innovation improves outcomes!

At BetaGov, we are also changing as we learn. We initially focused only on those ideas that could be tested using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design, thinking (correctly) that the RCT was the most rigorous design with readily interpretable results and (incorrectly) that most ideas could be tested this way. Working with our pracademic peers over these last few years, we found that limiting ourselves to RCTs would mean that we miss many great ideas. We have retooled, growing our data-science team, and we now have a more expansive approach to data-informed innovation. We have also changed some of our internal processes to better meet the needs of our partners. This includes rethinking our case-management tools to ensure that every idea gets the attention it deserves, and changes to our website and snapshot formats. Just like you, we change when we see something that can be improved. Often, the changes we consider require your input, and we thank all our partners who provide us their honest and open feedback. Together, we'll keep innovating, in your offices and ours.