Urban Policy Innovation: How Information Matters - February 4, 2017
Information is a key component of policy innovation. It represents essential knowledge that guides us toward critical policy solutions and prompts us to take action to correct public problems. Information is the tool for creating effective action in policy networks.
Our February 2017 workshop presented the dynamic ways information is being used to forge formal networks between nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies to develop a "new capacity for government to address public problems" (Hale 2011, p. 5). Drawing on the research of Kathleen Hale, Robert Agranoff, and others, we investigated the importance of information networks and the ways in which nonprofits disseminate information to public administrators. In the process, we examined a central question posed by Hale: Do government agencies that are "more informed" by information networks "undertake more extensive policy implementation efforts," and if so, does this information improve policy outcomes? (p. 2) Hale says yes, demonstrating the effectiveness of information networks in an extensive case study.
The workshop applied Hale's findings to a wide array of community issues in the Kansas City Region, as illustrated by four expert panelists, one each from local, state, and federal, and nonprofit agencies.