Celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab!
This post is part of our special blog series to mark the fifth anniversary of the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab. In each post, we highlight elements that are essential to our work with a broad range of government and community partners. The effectiveness of the work we undertake together is key to advancing systems and policies that strengthen opportunities to meaningfully improve the lives of Coloradans.
Our essential element, Bridge to the Research Community, articulates how we collaborate with research and evaluation partners across Colorado. We believe that mutually beneficial partnerships within the research community are vital to developing proactive, cross-system solutions that meet the priorities of government and community partners.
In this essential element, we take a growth mindset and prioritize capacity-building within the research community. Our governmental partners—and the communities they serve—have a wide array of needs and decision-making goals. We build capacity to meet these diverse needs by harnessing a broad base of subject matter and methods expertise through our network of highly-qualified researchers and evaluators. To join this network, researchers submit through our Call for External Research Partners. This ongoing, open call allows evaluators to self-identify their subject matter strengths and the types of research they are well-positioned to support.
As opportunities arise, we activate external partners to connect governmental partners with the right evaluators, at the right time, for the right project. This looks differently depending on the project needs and strengths of the external research partner. As the examples below show, an external research partner may serve as a consultant, the lead researcher on a project, co-lead on a collaborative initiative with the Colorado Lab team, or as an evaluation team under one of the Coordinating Hubs. Across these roles, the external research partner and the Lab share a commitment to learning together and building the capacity of the research community. This approach enhances decision-makers’ access to a reliable, consistent, and highly skilled evaluation workforce ready to help unlock data-informed solutions that improve the lives of Coloradans.
Serving as a Consultant
Project: Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Consultation Program
Lead Researcher on a Project
Co-Lead a Collaborative Initiative
Evaluation Team within a Coordinating Hub
Next up in our blog series we move from Relationships—our first three Essential Elements—to begin looking at Systems. The Colorado Lab applies systems-thinking at every step of building evidence so that issues and solutions move beyond silos to collective impact. First, we’ll delve into making connections across players in different systems to find alignment in opportunity.
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.