Colorado Lab Celebrates 5-Year Milestone
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab! As this milestone approached, we reflected on the “essential elements” that make our work most effective. We’ll be sharing insights about these key elements throughout the year in a series of blog posts. We hope you’ll follow along, asking questions, sharing feedback, and offering ideas in the spirit of working together to make Colorado’s policy lab a valuable resource for the people of our state well into the future.
The creation and launch of the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab in 2017 positioned Colorado at the forefront of a growing movement to implement an evidence-based approach to governing.
Policy labs are typically positioned in universities to supply
governmental partners with relevant and timely research evidence to make smart decisions. They can take different forms and may be focused on a small numberor broader range of issues. There are several policy labs across the country, including in California, Chicago, Georgia, Michigan, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington, D.C.
The Colorado Lab is non-partisan and housed at the University of Denver. We work with partners across branches of government to build two-way relationships that center decision-making needs and goals. To remain responsive to pressing priorities and opportunities, we do not limit ourselves to specific issue areas. We apply systems thinking to all projects, making connections across sectors and developing sustainable solutions.
First, and always first, it’s about relationships. As executive director Kristin Klopfenstein said in an interview at the Colorado Lab’s 1-year mark, “The three most important lessons we’ve learned are ‘Listen, listen, and listen.’ It is essential to come to our government partners with an open and humble attitude, meeting them where they are, supporting them in articulating their pain points, and working with them to address their concerns in a spirit of collaboration.”
Within a collaborative partnership, we work to leverage data to inform policy and practice, set the wheels in motion to achieve and sustain change, and position our partners to achieve and sustain meaningful outcomes for the communities they serve.
Please tell us if there is an essential element that stands out to you based on the work we’ve done together. Do you have a story to share? Is there something about the Colorado Lab that you would like to learn more about? What are your hopes for the future of Colorado’s policy lab? We would love to hear from you; a celebration is more fun when it’s shared with those we’re making this journey with!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.