Insight’s central mission is to help social service programs use objective, high-quality information to improve outcomes for the children, families, and communities they serve. Our unique Data and Improvement Group (DIG) supports these efforts by integrating leading-edge data science and process improvement capabilities under one roof. The DIG team works across our practice areas to provide training and technical assistance to agencies, capacity-building support to our staff, and thought leadership to the field. Each month, this blog space will highlight an example of DIG’s work, starting with an introduction to its areas of expertise and the team we’ve assembled. So, let’s DIG in!
The Secret Ingredients: Data Science Mixed With Continuous Learning and Improvement
Insight’s DIG team has a unique ability to synthesize two broad areas of service into one complementary whole. DIG combines the deep technical knowledge of data scientists and dashboard designers with the frontline expertise of improvement trainers and coaches. These integrated teams collaborate on analysis, design, strategy, and training, creating effective solutions for health and human services programs. You can learn more about what DIG offers here.
DIG’s data scientists provide a wide range of support to clients. Their expertise in advanced programming methods includes machine learning models that strengthen prediction, text mining to better process qualitative data, and report automation to increase efficiency. Staff also help programs improve through data visualization, such as the creation of dashboards to measure program performance, infographics that communicate findings to diverse audiences, and state-of-the-art geospatial analysis to reveal patterns in program outcomes.
DIG’s learning and improvement staff work shoulder-to-shoulder with agency staff from the grassroots to the federal level. DIG helps agencies improve the “front-end” design of programs through methods such as human-centered design, journey mapping, value stream mapping, and outcomes-based planning. Our staff help agencies leverage peer-to-peer exchanges through collaborative learning communities. DIG also specializes in rapid cycle formative evaluation methods that merge continuous improvement with rigorous evaluation methodologies, helping programs quickly implement and test program changes.
The DIG Team
The DIG team is staffed by experts with dozens of years of agency-facing experience. The team is led by senior vice president Scott Cody. Scott is a nationally recognized expert in using administrative data to evaluate and improve public programs. He brings more than 25 years of experience using data-driven approaches such as rapid cycle testing, predictive analytics, and microsimulation. Scott is skilled in process improvement methodologies and is an effective public speaker, trainer, and facilitator. He has led work for over a dozen federal agencies and worked closely with staff at more than 100 state agencies, local agencies, school districts, and nonprofit service providers. His work has focused on programs supporting the social safety net, youth development and education, health, and economic development.
Scott is joined on DIG’s senior leadership team by three associate directors:
Liz Weber, associate director for Policy and Program development, brings 15 years’ experience working with local, state, federal, and international agencies on poverty reduction and social safety net programs. Liz uses policy analysis, programmatic data, and leading improvement methods to help agencies increase program efficiency, access, and integrity. Prior to joining Insight, she served for nearly a decade with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.
Kelsey Gray, associate director for Data Science and Analytics, brings almost 10 years of experience assessing social programs and policies, with a specialty in dashboard design and machine learning. Prior to joining Insight, she was a learning engineer at Project Evident, where she led over 20 projects to design technical solutions and tools for nonprofit service providers in the areas of employment and training, education, child welfare, and health.
Dr. Jarle Crocker, associate director for Learning and Improvement, brings over 15 years of experience managing training and technical assistance to support human service systems reform initiatives. Prior to joining Insight, he served as the director of training and technical assistance for the Community Action Partnership, leading national performance improvement initiatives to build the capacity of over 1,000 local Community Action agencies to improve outcomes for their antipoverty programs.
DIG’s leadership team is supported by a skilled team of data analysts, computer programmers, dashboard developers, technical assistance leads, and event coordinators.