Why do we do what we do? Is it the best way to achieve our desired outcomes? How do we know?

Innovation drives improvement. It begins with good fundamentals that are affirmed through a process of discovery and intentional design. UPD is proud to have been selected to work with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) to support their vision to sustainably drive successful outcomes through an innovative approach to data systems design. Improving processes and human capacity is at the core of their people-centered development project. We’re excited to be a part of this project because we specialize in connecting systems to the processes that make them work and the people who use them.

MDE recently restructured its technology office into the Office of Technology and Strategic Services (OTSS), which now includes research and a stronger role in data analysis and reporting. OTSS created goals and deliverables in nine key process areas under an overarching change management strategy. They identified 35 additional goals and priorities to implement their vision for a future state design in order to fully achieve Goal 5 of MDE’s Strategic Plan: “Every Community Effectively Using a World-Class Data System to Improve Student Outcomes.”

Building on the strength of its staff and structure, OTSS is now poised to address the other components of its IT Capacity Maturity Model—technology and processes. Well-designed processes must surround technology systems so that high-quality information is used to inform decision-making and service delivery.

UPD begins this crucial initiative with the end in mind, a future state where a thriving organization regularly uses interconnected data to manage its outcomes. Rich data that is easy-to-access and easy-to-understand in the hands of all decision-makers being used every day to continuously improve the way we work together.

We understand that to achieve MDE’s vision, data must be used not only to measure progress, but to drive implementation, to course correct, to shift approaches, to test new theories, and to relentlessly examine assumptions. It is important to know what works, but equally so to quickly stop doing the things that aren’t working and to do more of the things that are. The goal is to provide stakeholders at all levels of the education system—students, parents, teachers, leaders—with the power and agency that comes with access to effective data.

Over the next two years, we will help MDE design a world-class educational data system by first understanding the questions educators and their constituents are asking and the processes they use to answer them. That’s modernization through innovation. Integrated technology systems built to empower the people who use them to drive change, to improve student outcomes and to increase operational efficiency. We are excited to be part of this work, and we welcome your insight.