In a new blog post at the Alliance for Useful Evidence, Geoff Mulgan, Network member and CEO of Nesta, and David Halpern, What Works National Advisor, propose the creation of an international clearing house for what works in practice. The idea is premised on the fact that governments around the world are faced with and attempting to address a suite of similar and similarly complex public problems – from improving education to reducing crimes – often with little knowledge-sharing across borders.
“We suggest a simple solution – a platform that would make it easier for governments, municipalities and others to find potential partners in funding and research. The model would work like Kickstarter and similar crowdfunding platforms.
Let’s say the government of a medium sized country wants to find out about what really works in reducing isolation amongst older people. It would search the platform for existing reviews, but where the government was disappointed with what it found, it would post its interest – along with rough details of how much it is willing to spend, and the desired timescale.
Members of the platform would have already signed up indicating broad areas of interest – and so at this point emails might be sent to the several dozen agencies or departments with a related interest, for example in ageing. Unless partners opted out, the platform would also record ‘fails’ – searches and subjects where no result was found. This would enable governments, foundations, and reviewers to identify key evidence gaps – and who might come together to plug them.”