CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Government Performance Lab (GPL) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) announced today that it has selected the State of Colorado to receive technical assistance developing a performance improvement project that applies Pay for Success (PFS) principles to core agency services. This award is part of the second of two rounds of a national competition the GPL held for technical assistance, funded in part through an award made last year from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) Social Innovation Fund (SIF), in which 27 state and local governments applied for technical assistance from the GPL.

Since 2011, the GPL has provided pro bono government-side technical assistance to 62 jurisdictions in 28 states and has helped state and local governments develop 13 of the 19 launched Pay for Success projects in the country. In 2015, the GPL began providing technical assistance on performance improvement projects that apply PFS principles to core agency spending by using data to identify individuals with the greatest need and matching them to the right services, applying active contract management to core agency contracts, and incorporating better use of outcomes into procurement and contracting to improve service delivery. The GPL piloted this model of assistance in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where it has worked on projects in child welfare, employment readiness, criminal justice, behavioral health, and adult education. This national competition is the first time the GPL has made performance improvement technical assistance broadly available to state and local governments.

“The GPL’s performance improvement projects help governments provide services more effectively and speed up progress on challenging social problems,” said Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at HKS and GPL Director. “We are excited to be collaborating with the State of Colorado to drive better results from health and human services through the State’s performance management system.”

The GPL will provide intensive technical assistance to the Office of the Colorado Lieutenant Governor & Chief Operating Officer, assisting them in improving the results of their core human services spending. Jurisdictions will receive fellows who will help agency staff identify key outcomes and metrics, use data to match the right individuals to the right services, develop performance management strategies that include real-time response to performance metrics, align government-provider incentives through performance payments, and set up rigorous evaluations of program impacts. In addition to full-time assistance from GPL fellows, the State will receive direct support from other GPL staff including Liebman, an experienced program director, research assistants, data analysts, and senior technical advisors.

“Coloradans expect good government,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “We’re honored to be recognized for our commitment to increase efficiency and effectiveness in state government. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne is serving in the dual role as the State’s Chief Operating Officer to bring the talent and rank that this important work merits. This investment from the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab takes us a step further in improving operational performance and providing quality services for our constituents.”

The HKS Government Performance Lab evaluated applications for technical assistance based on the project’s potential to advance the PFS field by applying the model in new ways, the level of commitment demonstrated by government leaders, the scale of potential impact of the project, and the readiness of the applicant to engage in project activities. This award is part of the second round of awards funded by a $2.16 million grant to the GPL by the Social Innovation Fund and matched by philanthropic donors.

“Our vision is a customer-focused, data-driven culture in State government that delivers meaningful improvements for all Coloradans,” said Colorado Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer Donna Lynne. “If the State were a company, its size would place it on the Fortune 100 list, where efficient and effective operations are no small matter.  We will make the most of this investment from the Kennedy School to pursue innovations that deliver results and better serve our customers.”

Colorado joins 10 jurisdictions already awarded technical assistance through this competition: Arizona, California, Chicago, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Los Angeles, Maryland, New York City, and Seattle.

For more information about the Government Performance Lab’s work with state and local governments, visit

The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement. The agency engages millions of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the nation's volunteering and service efforts. For more information, visit


Doug Gavel
Contact Email
Contact Phone Number