I was a bit skeptical when I first learned about the bi-partisan research group Results for America. Their initial publication, Moneyball for Government, includes a lot of politician contributors of which I’m highly skeptical. So yes, I immediately fell into the reflexive trust trap: If these people contributed to it, then it can’t be true.
But since then an impressive array of academics, mayors, and former administration officials have joined the team. And Results for America is having an impact. At at time when trust in the U.S. government is at an all-time low, Results for America is a bright spot in an otherwise dismal landscape. (The U.S. federal government is our Measurement Menace of the Month, by the way.)
What makes Results for America worthy of our Measurement Maven award, however, is that they embody all the characteristics that we as communications researchers value and promote. They are committed to an evidence-based approach to decision making and policy. They don’t just spew out data. Rather, they tell stories, and thus make their data come to life. Their projects range from policy reports to cool report cards to beautifully-produced and very persuasive videos. Their messages are simple, compelling, and obviously ones I would love: “Use data to make better policy decisions.”
They also integrate diverse opinions into their reporting, from staff and partners on both sides of the aisle. Best of all, they target their messages and their projects to big issues, but provide guidance on a local and highly focused scale. Like working with specific cities or tackling a well-defined problem.
We could all benefit from heeding their advice. Congratulations to Results for America, our Measurement Maven of the Month. ∞
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