Launching an applied research team within city government: An interview with David Yokum, Director, The Lab @ DC – Interview #153

In 2016, the District of Columbia launched The Lab @ DC, based in the Office of the City Administrator within the Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser. Its mission: To embed the scientific method into the heart of day-to-day governance of the city to provide decision makers with high-quality evidence in order to improve results for the city. As its website notes, The Lab “generates timely, relevant, and high-quality ideas and evidence to inform the District’s most important decisions because DC residents deserve a government that asks questions, tests policies, and iteratively improves how it serves the community.”

To learn more, we are joined by the Lab’s founding director, David Yokum. Prior to his work with DC, he was one of the founders of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team at the White House, which applied insights from the behavioral sciences to improving federal agency operations.

October 2017 Update: As an example of the Lab @ DC’s work, it recently released its study on the effect of police body worn cameras. Learn more on its website and in media coverage by the New York Times. The study is a partnership between the DC police department and The Lab.