Receiving Technical Assistance

The application from our most recent national competition is available for reference here. For more information about our TA application process, please contact govlab@hks.harvard.edu. Cities interested in receiving GPL technical assistance with establishing Strategic Procurement Systems or Results-Driven Contracting through the What Works Cities Initiative should see the WWC site here for additional information on certification and technical assistance.


Our Assistance Model


The Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab provides pro bono government-side technical assistance to state and local partners. This assistance includes an average of 12-15 months of technical services to help guide government partners through the programmatic, budgetary, regulatory and procurement processes of project development and is comprised of these core components:

  • Intensive Staffing: Government partners receive assistance from a GPL Government Innovation Fellow or GPL team member. GPL staff are recruited from the top public policy, law, and business schools from around the country, and have received training in benefit-cost analysis, evaluation design, management strategies, and negotiation techniques. Each team member is employed by the GPL and works with the government office or agency that is spearheading the program. GPL staff provide assistance both in coordinating the policy process and in performing technical analysis, report directly to each government’s designated project lead, and receive additional supervision from an experienced manager and Professor Jeffrey Liebman.

  • Access to Senior Technical Advisors: Government partners receive additional support from the broader GPL team, including senior technical assistance and support from content area and methodological experts such as GPL Director Jeffrey Liebman, as well as direct assistance from an experience Program Directors who has already overseen one or more projects. The GPL’s Cambridge-based staff and senior advisors provide additional support as needed with data analysis, evaluation design, and implementation planning.

  • Knowledge Sharing, Government Partner Network, and Capacity Building: Government partners participate in GPL training sessions and receive assistance designed to build internal capacity to undertake projects and sustain systems change work once formal engagement with the GPL concludes. The GPL also organizes a network of government partners so that officials can learn from one another’s experiences.

  • Assistance with Data Analysis: Resources for data matching and analysis are also made available to government agencies requiring this type of assistance. Extensive matching of data sets across agencies is often required to establish historic performance trends, analyze the amount of variability in these trends, and target individuals to be served by the government performance programs. Up to six months of programmer/data analyst time is made available to state and local governments, as needed.

Government Testimonials

"I think the willingness to think differently made GPL unique for us. We had a bunch of resources that were offered to us, but they were very linear resources. We worked with some national child welfare foundations. They were very specific on policy. We had some financial consultants that cared about the numbers. I think what I had with my GPL team was people that crossed all those boundaries and can take a bigger picture look because government is not linear." - Jamia McDonald, former head of Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families

"The Government Performance Lab’s assistance has been so much more than our fellow, who we love. Our fellow is the ‘tip of the spear’ of GPL’s support, giving us access to valuable tools, expertise, and insights from the national GPL team. Every time I have a question about a broader systemic challenge we’re facing, GPL provides concrete advice and examples of solutions from other jurisdictions that are highly relevant to our work." Vickie Ybarra, Director of the Office of Innovation, Alignment, and Accountability at Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families