How We Work
Each ISS project engages practitioners and scholars in initial concept development and background research. Our staff members then develop interview-based case studies and analytic papers that draw on cases from several areas.
Interviews. Projects start with interviews of reform teams in a variety of countries. These interviews engage leaders in a focused conversation about a particular challenge. In many cases, the conversations themselves can be downloaded to smartphones, MP3 players or other downloadable media devices, both in audio form and as transcripts. They allow reformers to learn from each other directly, in their own words. Participants become part of a knowledge network. The interviews become part of an oral history archive.
Case studies. The interviews ISS conducts become the basis for case studies. These trace the steps reformers have taken to try to improve a service, build an institution, or escape a governance trap. They provide quick and engaging overviews of selected experiences around the globe. The cases are an important part of the ISS idea bank. They help users evaluate pros and cons of different strategies and weigh the effects of context.
Analytic briefs. ISS draws on its cases and interviews to help identify “what works" and why. The program produces short briefs to capture the insights from case analysis: Issue Overviews, Innovation Profiles, Strategy Notes, and Context-Friendly Ideas.
Academic Research. ISS fosters scholarly engagement in the challenges at its core by involving Ph.D. students and researchers from partner countries in more rigorous testing of its case study findings, where opportunity permits.
ISS interviews only people who voluntarily consent to the conversations that help us develop our case studies. The reform leaders who participate have the option to skip questions, review quotes, and embargo parts of their interviews for release at a future date unless they specifically waive this option. For more on our research process, click on the Research tab above.