The research projects are focused by four key streams of work that seek to advance Policy Ready objectives. Each will involve a series of shorter and longer research engagements.  Some taking the form of public reports or academic papers, while others will involve blog posts, events, and thought pieces. In many instances research will involve government, academic, or civil society partners. Where possible these research projects will be used to inform and enrich training and learning opportunities.

Research Streams

  1. Improving the quality of policy making and government performance in the digital era.

  2. A focus on the core policy competencies (analysis, policy design, and service delivery) required in today’s policy landscape.

  3. Improved understanding of digital transformations at the organizational and individual levels.

  4. Strengthening the use of data and data analytics for policy making

A select group of Policy Ready projects is detailed below.

Performance Management and Evaluation in the Age of Disruption 


Public sector organizations are investing in digital government units, and piloting a variety of new initiatives and techniques. How well are they working? This project explores how we can better measure, evaluate, and manage digital era policy performance. Research projects will be anchored around developing, in the open and iteratively, a framework including specific testable measures and indicators. The intent is to producing useful set of diagnostic and auditing tools that can be used to evaluate how well government policymakers are doing in transitioning to digital era policy making.

Policy Design in the Digital Era


This project stream examines how public sector institutions are grappling with policy design - consciously attempting to define policy goals and connect them to policy instruments intended to reach those goals - in the digital era. From new policy instruments to changing citizen expectation, policy design is being tested and stretched in new directions. Comparative research is underway to look at how policy design is being undertaken with a focus on policy instruments, the processes of design, and the constraints and enablers of effective policy design.

Government Transformation and Policy Experimentation


Public sector disruptions have resulted in some significant government transformation. This has included standing up new multidisciplinary teams in government featuring tech, policy, and program staff working together. In other instances it has involved creating unique units tasked with innovating and experimenting, or transforming key policy processes. This stream of work focuses on key drivers and barriers to government transformation and policy experimentation.


Policy Capacity, Skills, and Core Competencies

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This project stream will study the current state of basic policy competencies and capacities in the public sector. What are the required competencies for today’s policy work? How is disruption surfacing issues in the organizational or individual capacity of policy units? This project stream leverages existing research on these matters but provides fresh perspective by linking them to questions of the impact, and prospects for digital and public service transformation. Research will involve surveys, focus groups, and workshops that bring together particular functional groups of public servants (policy advisers, analysts, managers, senior executives).

Data and Data Analytics


The increase in the role of digital tools in our daily lives means that governments conducting their day-to-day business gather immense amounts of data. Gathering and making use of that data to improve government performance and accountability requires planning, expertise, and interaction between people both inside and outside of government who can best make use of it. This project examines how governments can best share privacy-sensitive data with different departments and agencies to take advantage of its potential while minimizing the risk of abuse.