Our Research

Through research projects, the lab will work to promote, develop, and apply innovative technology solutions and best-practice methodologies at organizations.

We create and disseminate the insights to students and practitioners, thus guiding future innovation in more productive directions and improving the efficiency of the innovation process.


Project Abstracts

Read about research projects that the lab is currently working on.

Charitable Giving

Learning How to Incentivize Giving

In collaboration with a financial technology firm and ImpactMatters, this project is identifying approaches that can increase contributions to charitable organizations. In the early stages of the project, lab researchers are analyzing donation data to understand consumer behavior and motivations around charitable giving. The second stage of the project involves designing experiments whereby consumers are exposed to opportunities for charitable giving when conducting electronic commerce. The experiments will guide the development of strategies that motivate consumers to increase their giving as well as direct their giving to impactful organizations.

Government Services

Boosting Efficacy, Efficiency, and Accountability in Government Training Programs

The lab is working on a project to build a tool that will empower participants in government-funded training programs to make more informed decisions about which providers are likely to be most effective, taking into account an individual’s circumstances and qualifications. With a broad set of collaborators, the lab is using administrative data, science, and technology to develop a decision tool that is informed by data about the outcomes of previous participants with the set of available providers. This project will drive more informed decisions and incentivize training programs to add value to the earning capacity of program attendees.


Improving Language Acquisition Using an Educational Mobile Application

Stones2Milestones is an English-language reading app for users in India. In partnership with S2M staff, lab researchers are designing a recommendation system that suggests in-app content (stories to read) for users of the Stones2Milestones reading app, fREADom. Another component of the project involves evaluating and improving how users are assessed — both on how well they learn particular stories and across a user’s experience while using the app. The relationship between in-application measurement and more traditional assessment is another topic of research in this project.


Learn firsthand from researchers and practitioners via these interviews conducted by the lab.

Incentive Design

Canice Prendergast: Feeding America More Efficiently

Prendergast, professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth, is using market mechanisms to redesign the food distribution system of Feeding America, the nation’s largest supplier of food to regional food banks.

Social Sciences

Marc Laitin: Toward Better Decision Making

Laitin, managing director of new ventures at ideas42, is using insights from behavioral science to improve lives, build better systems and policies, and drive social change.

Government Services

Justine Hastings: Improving Lives Through Research

Hastings, founding director of Research Improving People’s Lives, a nonprofit research institute, is turning facts into results by combining high-powered research, policy expertise, and technical know-how to give governments the tools they need to better serve their communities.

Government Services

Jonty Olliff-Cooper: Creating a Silicon Valley for the Social Sector

Olliff-Cooper at McKinsey & Company is promoting relatively new payment models whereby governments compensate providers based on outcomes instead of upfront, including payment-by-results programs like the impact bond.

Recommended Reading

Browse a collection of publications from affiliated faculty and collaborating organizations.