Q&A from Technology, Strategy Development, and Change Cycles in Networks Webinar

This question and answer section references questions posed during the Carnegie Foundation’s February 2022 webinar on Technology, Strategy Development, and Change Cycles in Networks.

Considering the Pareto Principle (20% of the elements of a driver diagram will affect 80% of an outcome), how do network leaders decide what to test first?

Determining where to start testing involves considering the following question: of the many possible things to do in a system to produce improvement, what few changes seem particularly promising for creating a beneficial system impact? And how do network leaders identify those ideas in particular?

Network leaders should focus on testing ideas that have the greatest potential in their context–and that the network is best positioned to execute. This involves an assessment of the strength of any warrant surrounding a particular change idea: 

  • Has it been tested elsewhere? 
  • Does it have a track record of effectiveness? 
  • Does that warrant apply to use in contexts like our own? 

Favorable answers to these questions can help to elevate change ideas with particular promise for a network’s context. 

When no warranted starter ideas exist, however, network leaders must engage in their own critical analysis. It may be that a new invention is called for, because the change needed is something that has never been prototyped or tested. In that case, a detailed understanding of the problem that a network is trying to address, coupled with deep content knowledge, all disciplined by rigorous analysis, may be the best guidance that network leaders can find. Then the network needs to determine if it can execute the idea(s) with some integrity. Often, the point of testing is to learn how to execute an idea effectively and reliably–and that is what a network aims to achieve through iterative testing of its change ideas.

Is NILS available as an app?

NILS currently exists as a web-based platform responsive to the affordances of a variety of mobile and tablet devices; it is not yet available as an app.

To what degree does NILS integrate into other platforms (MS Teams, Google, etc.)?

NILS uses Single Sign On (SSO) to integrate with any platform that supports it, including MS Teams, Google, etc. Customized integrations are also possible through Carnegie’s professional services.

Can you provide links or resources that offer NILS application examples in higher ed contexts?

The NILS platform is a content-agnostic system; its features supporting the practices and principles of improvement science can be applied across contexts–K-12, higher ed, or even other fields of work, such as healthcare. All K-12 examples shown during the webinar series are fictitious, and for privacy reasons, Carnegie cannot publicly provide application examples from real networks on NILS in higher ed. Please contact support@carnegienetworks.org if you would like to connect one-on-one with NICs in higher ed currently using the NILS platform.