Q: I’m all for innovation to improve dysfunctional government in order to fix things but if the magnitude of childhood trauma was really as big as you say, why wouldn’t we hear about it on the news? And I sure don’t.

This falls under the category of “disruption vs. distraction.” What we call “news” might be talking heads reading scripts written by people invested in the  status quo.  Yes, you will get fatalities and sex scandals but not the root causes of the latest drug crisis, emotional trauma and child maltreatment.

Continue reading Q: I’m all for innovation to improve dysfunctional government in order to fix things but if the magnitude of childhood trauma was really as big as you say, why wouldn’t we hear about it on the news? And I sure don’t.

Q: Our agency’s mission is supposed to be addressing lack of access to vital services. We spend millions a year but it’s not clear how that impacts anyone in any significant way. Our executive director wants to spend money on an animated cartoon featuring a superhero who spreads hope. “Hope” is apparently our agency’s strategy. Not sounding very data-driven, right? What can I do?

I feel your frustration. You face what many who work in government or non-profits face—decisions based on hunches, what’s been done before or a director’s opinion.

Continue reading Q: Our agency’s mission is supposed to be addressing lack of access to vital services. We spend millions a year but it’s not clear how that impacts anyone in any significant way. Our executive director wants to spend money on an animated cartoon featuring a superhero who spreads hope. “Hope” is apparently our agency’s strategy. Not sounding very data-driven, right? What can I do?

Q: I hear “research-based” and “data-driven” and don’t know what to believe about the work agencies do. Some agencies say that student workshops are all we need to solve all kinds of health and safety problems, but how do we know what really works when it comes to keeping kids and families safe from harm?

Excellent question. I am often confused to see what passes for “research-based.” It appears that non-profits and for-profits can use any term that sells their products or services. The “fact-checker police” don’t exist yet (though there is software in the works).

Continue reading Q: I hear “research-based” and “data-driven” and don’t know what to believe about the work agencies do. Some agencies say that student workshops are all we need to solve all kinds of health and safety problems, but how do we know what really works when it comes to keeping kids and families safe from harm?