City of Philadelphia
Manager GovLabPHL, City of Philadelphia
GovLabPHL (“the Lab”), is a community of City employees and academic researchers led by the Mayor’s Policy Office dedicated to creating opportunities to learn and practice evidence-based methods. We collaboratively explore ways in which government can best serve residents by supporting City agencies looking to address challenges through the practical use of data and research. GovLabPHL is a local, national and international leader in this space.
The mission of GovLabPHL is to shift the culture in government towards evidence-based policy and data-driven decision making.
GovLabPHL creates pathways for learning about solutions using data and research, and we create pathways for putting evidence-based methods into practice.
The goal of the Lab is to improve the outcomes of taxpayer-funded programs. When programs are data-driven, we improve our capacity to serve residents effectively and efficiently.
GovLabPHL initiatives fall into 3 categories:
- Philadelphia Behavioral Science Initiative – designing, managing, and publishing pilot / project-based randomized controlled trials and evaluations
- The PHL government book club – which hosts quarterly events for City employees based on books it recommends
- GovLabPHL events and communications – development and implementation of an annual conference and other events and working closely with our digital manager to communicate the work to the public effectively
Underlying all of the work at GovLabPHL are our beliefs:
- That everything that we do should contribute to helping improve government services and resident outcomes and experience
- That our process of engaging stakeholders and conducting research is key to ensuring respect and transparency throughout a research experience
- That this work empowers City stakeholders by giving them the tools and knowledge necessary to look at challenges through an evidence-based lens
- That there is value in collaborative teamwork and its role in gaining insights and achieving a goal
GovLabPHL resides in the Mayor’s Office of Policy, Legislation, and Intergovernmental Affairs. This Office ensures the policy and legislative priorities of the Mayor are organized, well-researched, and implemented through legislative or administrative action. The Office strives to integrate evaluation, including randomized field assessments, into government action so that testing, iterating, and improving becomes standard practice. In addition, the Office works with the Mayor and City Council to set legislative and policy priorities and works to implement best practices in partnership with key program stakeholders, and with experts both internal and external to government.
We are looking for a civically minded leader with a passion for data-driven decision making and improving City government. This individual will provide leadership and serve as a key contributor of strategy development for the team and the City at large and will be responsible for continuing and expanding the culture of collaboration, partnership and delivery of high-quality support throughout the City.
Leadership and Strategy:
- Lead and manage the GovLabPHL team in developing and implementing projects
- Direct and oversee research, planning, design, and implementation of projects working closely with project leads
- Develop proposals for and work closely with the Director of Policy to set the strategic direction of the Lab including developing:
- A strategy for expansion with a focus on supporting operating departments moving from pilot programs to scaling successful innovation as well as expanding the departments the Lab works with
- A sustainability plan for GovLabPHL including exploration and pursuit of external funding opportunities
- A strategy for including residents into the Lab’s projects
- Work closely with the Director of Policy to represent GovLabPHL to internal and external audiences. This includes advocacy for learning and practicing evidence-based methods and liaising with other cities, nonprofits and the media covering evidence-based policy and data driven decision making
Culture of Collaboration, Partnership and Delivery:
- Ensure the Lab operates in atmosphere of true cooperation and collaboration, maximizing knowledge sharing and efficiency
- Continue the culture of intellectual challenge, curiosity and collaboration; stimulate organic growth of knowledge and skill set breadth in both the Lab staff and the broader city community
- Mentor, inspire and guide undergraduate policy fellows with a variety of expertise
- Create a continuous education and skill-set development framework to ensure that the Lab staff understands and has the practical knowledge needed to continue innovating and expanding our work while avoiding burnout
- Maintain close trust- and results-based partnerships with City departments and researchers
- Create new and/or support existing education and information sharing channels – forums, speaker series, online posts etc. – to disseminate the gained knowledge and expertise to City employees and potentially residents
- Work with the team to develop and continually improve standardized project processes, checklists and tracking tools
- Maintain Philadelphia Behavioral Science Initiative project tracker
- Apply for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from the City Health Department when applicable, and initiate and renew data sharing agreements with the Law Department or in partnership with academic researchers with their academic institutions.
- Track and maintain GovLabPHL budget when applicable
Experience: At least five years of highly-relevant experience which includes leading teams to execute data-driven projects, participation in strategy development, and working in a highly innovative and collaborative environment.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree or higher in a social science field of relevance to local government and public administration, for example, psychology, sociology, economics, public policy, urban design, criminal justice, organizational development etc. preferred
Experience in government or large organizations a plus
Project Management and supervisory experience in inter-departmental and cross-systems framework
- Demonstrates strong ethics and provides a sense of safety – high ethical and moral standards; communicates clear expectations
- Empowers others to self-organize
- Fosters a sense of connection and belonging – communicates often and openly; creates a feeling of succeeding and failing together as a team
- Demonstrates openness to new ideas and fosters organizational learning -willingness and ability to change opinions; open to new ideas and approaches; provides safety for trial and error
- Nurtures growth – committed to ongoing training of team; helps team members grow into next-generation leaders
- Possesses all of the beliefs noted in the Agency Description section
- Management principles and practices, and management tools such as Asana
- The fundamentals of behavioral science and research processes
- The principles, approaches, methods, and techniques of experimental design, including issues of sampling, randomization, and statistical inference.
- The basics of qualitative research and quasi-experimental designs
- Event planning
- Strategic thinking: Ability to facilitate collaborative development of mid-term goals and trajectories to reach them.
- Communication: Ability to articulate (via graphics, oral and written communications) complex problems, study designs, and results to general audiences (e.g., City departments and the public), craft compelling narratives about GovLabPHL including examples of research design, results and impacts as well as rationale for scaling.
- Relationship-building: Ability to work with a variety of people and personalities, listen and ask questions to identify new research opportunities, and cultivate strong relationships to ensure seamless collaboration and continued project support.
- Compassion: Ability to turn research insights into actionable solutions that address people’s real needs ethically and with integrity.
- Rigor: Driven by thoughtful, quality, and detail-oriented processes, project output, and client/team interactions.
- Action-orientation: Ability to help others see opportunities, navigate barriers, be self-directed, and problem solve solutions that enhance the City’s deliverables, processes, and practices.
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