Our evidence-informed practice work involves harvesting existing knowledge, skills and resources across the social service sector. Supporting people to share knowledge, learn from each other and to collectively produce new knowledge and solutions is both an innovative approach but also one which we believe to be cost-effective. This is based on logic rather than detailed cost effectiveness studies; we have however promoted the replication of approaches which have been subject to such scrutiny through our Money Matters series .
The focus at IRISS enables the mobilisation of knowledge known to some but initially unknown to others, and supports the production of a more robust evidence which builds on a wide range of evidence types. Combining this with our innovative use of technology has offered an inexpensive means of providing better evidence-informed products and services to our stakeholders. It can also create numerous opportunities to do more with less—even in our current economic climate.
We believe that our organisational capacity to take an innovative and cost-effective approach to evidence informed practice is facilitated by a number of key ingredients:
- We have perceived freedom away from statutory requirements
- We are small, and as such can react more quickly to changes in policy/demand from the sector
- We operate in a culture which is informal, open and inquiring and which values experimentation
- We have the capacity to move financial or other resources around different projects and activities which enhances our ability to address issues where and when they emerge
- We are positioned between policy, practice and research communities, thus perceived as independent and trusted to facilitate knowledge sharing.
These elements combine to enable a culture where we can develop, and promote the use of tools and techniques for embedding knowledge, evidence and innovation in practice.