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Design research is built into all of our work. This process helps us learn how specific systems and programs impact different stakeholders, and to translate those insights into concrete improvements.

We also conduct full scale research and evaluation projects that focus on building an understanding of a service, program, or system based on human insights. By engaging internal staff and external “customers,” we hone in on key challenges, shared goals, and high impact opportunities.

To conduct meaningful, collaborative research, we draw from our best practices in community engagement to meet people where they are and create safe and accessible spaces for dialogue. Well-designed and inclusive engagements enable us to:

  • Develop clear process maps and user profiles that visualize the structure of services and align stakeholders around opportunities for improvement.
  • Compile a clear list of priorities that integrate the needs and goals of multiple stakeholders.
  • Define design principles for how to develop and implement changes.
  • Advise and test the implementation of improvements until there is a direct link from program intentions to realized outcomes.

Our work in research and evaluation has spanned multiple scales from city to state, and from discovery research into implementation support. Such examples include:

  • Program evaluation for a city’s small business grants program, and subsequently prototyping and testing prioritized opportunities.
  • Identifying key search requirements for a new statewide grants portal from the viewpoint of prospective users – grant providers and grant seekers.
  • Providing design research coaching to parenting community college students to develop policy recommendations on how to improve statewide public assistance and community college systems.