Jennifer Park: What If Government Just Did What Works?

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We hear so many stories about government spending big money without getting results — to the point that many Americans agree with Ronald Reagan’s famous assertion that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.

That claim was never accurate, as government successes like the Internet, highways, or vaccinations make clear. All the same, though, a lot of government effort does end up wasted, as even people who work in government will readily acknowledge.

So, many of them have embraced a new approach that’s driven by the smart use of data. It has a lot in common with the way coach Billy Beane turned around the Oakland A’s baseball team, as was described in the book “Moneyball,” by Michael Lewis. In fact, it’s is often called “Moneyball for government.”

Spencer’s guest this time is Jennifer Park, who’s with a nonprofit called Results For America. In their conversation, Jenn focuses on What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative and national partnership of five non-profit organizations that helps local governments across the country drive progress in their cities through the effective use of data and evidence.

Jennifer Park

Jennifer Park is the Director of Certification and Community for Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities, the nation’s most comprehensive philanthropic effort to enhance cities’ use of data and evidence. In her role, Jenn created and launched What Works Cities Certification, the first-ever national standard of excellence for well-managed, data-driven local government. She also oversees the What Works Cities Community, a professional network that provides hundreds of city executives, leaders, and staff with access to peers in other cities, leading experts and resources, and virtual and in-person educational opportunities. Prior to joining What Works Cities, she was at Echoing Green, a global nonprofit providing early-seed funding, fellowship, and strategic support to social entrepreneurs. Jenn attended the University of Southern California and Villanova University.


Episode Links

Results for America

What Works Cities

“Moneyball for Government”

Bloomberg Philanthropies

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