July 10, 2018Event Recap

How State Governments Are Solving Complex Social Challenges for Residents Using Data and Evidence

State/ 2018/

On July 10, 2018, at the National Governors Association (NGA), Results for America released the 2018 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence – a national standard for how state governments can consistently and effectively use data and evidence to achieve better results for their residents. The event featured remarks by leadership from the National Governors Association, Results for America, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. 

At the event, Results for America COO and Co-Founder David Medina described RFA’s mission, federal and local standards of excellence, and Moneyball for Government campaign. Nichole Dunn, Results for America’s Vice President for Community Impact and Innovation, gave an overview of the State Standard of Excellence’s methodology, criteria, and key examples.

The welcoming and framing remarks by Stephen Parker, the Legislative Director of the Education and Workforce Committee for the National Governors Association, highlighted how the 2018 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence is a valuable resource for states because of its comprehensive nature, which demonstrates important progress is being made in many areas. He added that the Standard lays out a roadmap for state governments to do even more in the future.

From the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, John Scianimanico, the Results-Driven Government Policy Lab Manager, shared the importance of spreading evidence-based policymaking in state governments through initiatives like the foundation’s state policy labs. He also mentioned the value nonprofit partners, like Results for America and the National Governors Association, bring to the field of evidence-based policymaking.

The panel discussion included experts Bethanne Barnes, the former Special Advisor for Evidence-Based Policy, White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and former Director of Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP); Torey Silloway, Manager of Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative; and Kathryn Vesey White, Director of Budget Process Studies at the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). It was moderated by Results for America’s Vice President for Evidence-based Policy Implementation Maia Jachimowicz. Major themes of the panel included the following observations and advice for state governments seeking to increase their use of evidence and data:

  • Showing examples of evidence-based decision making makes it easier for states to adapt these practices.
  • An integrated approach, which brings together multiple standard of excellence criteria to solve a particular problem in a state, can help break down silos within state governments and build future capacity to do more evidence-based decision making.
  • Using information about what works is an ongoing process, not a one time event; the cyclical use of data and evidence to design, implement, monitor, and improve state programs leads to continuous improvement and better long-term results.
  • This roadmap is both aspirational and inspirational, which makes it accessible and allows states to start their work in any one of the areas outlined in the State Standard of Excellence.

The event concluded with remarks by Jed Herrmann, RFA’s Senior Policy Advisor.

To share your feedback or additional examples of data-driven state innovation, email us ([email protected]) or tweet at @Results4America with the hashtags #InvestInWhatWorks and #StateStandard.