Rapid Cycle Innovation in the Public Sector

New Course for Fall 2018 with Professor Angela Hawken

High-performing companies like Google, Amazon, and Netflix know that to succeed they need to test many ideas, and to quickly allow the promising ones to flourish. They also know how to fail fast and well. The public sector has been relatively slow in integrating innovate-and-test in practice. The rapid pace of innovation in technology and recordkeeping means that public agencies need new, faster, approaches for learning what works to meet their goals and what does not.

Next Fall, Angela Hawken — Professor of Public Policy at the Marron Institute — will lead a course in which students learn strategies to promote rapid-learning in the public sector, participating directly in Hawken's rapid-cycle research with public agencies across the United States, Mexico, and Colombia. Hawken's course will be offered through the Politics Department in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences but it is open to students from across campus.

Registration for this course is now open on Albert > Graduate School of Arts and Sciences > Politics (POL-GA) > POL-GA 2340.

NYU students with questions about this course should feel free to reach out to the Institute at marron.institute@nyu.edu.

Draft Syllabus

Day and Time 
Mondays from 2:00 - 3:50PM

Politics Department Seminar Room
19 West 4th Street, Room 217
(West 4th St between Greene & Mercer)

POL-GA 2340 Rapid-cycle Innovation and Testing in the Public Sector

Albert Class Number

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the movement toward the democratization of research, involving practitioners (and the people they serve)—as “citizen scientists”—in promoting data-driven innovation and discovery. Students will learn strategies to promote rapid-learning in the public sector, as well as to identify those situations where more patience is necessary. Students will participate in an active rapid-cycle research projects, from sites across the United States, Mexico, and Colombia, and will observe innovation and testing in practice. The class will be paired with “pracademics” (from criminal justice, social services, and education) who will conduct a pilot: identify a problem, try something new, and test it. Students will serve as citizen scientists, by helping to refine and test the innovation. Students will gain experience in interacting with public-sector and nonprofit “clients” by contributing design decisions, and in clearly communicating progress and lessons learned.

If you are interested in a brief introduction to Professor Hawken's work, check out this recent podcast with the Center for Court Innovation.

Listen Here

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