About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Measuring Evidence Uptake

We are developing a new system to measure how policymakers use our self-service evidence platforms to inform their decision-making, so we can improve the support we provide.

Developed by Nesta's Innovation Mapping team, our platforms present this data as interactive visualisations which policymakers can explore.

The number of suppliers and data types in this field has grown enormously in recent years, so we commissioned The Decision Lab to map out existing and emerging approaches to help us develop and test this new system.

They found that:

  • New data sources and analytics are changing the way policymakers engage with evidence.
  • Traditional means of assessing how evidence is being used in policymaking rely on surveys, interviews or bibliometrics.
  • The transition to online evidence platforms creates new opportunities for measuring engagement with, and use of, evidence.

This paper identifies four tensions that measurement systems face and suggest ways to improve on this, including:

  • Mapping the evidence uptake system.
  • Identifying the means through which evidence enters the policy sphere.
  • Adapting tools used in business-to-business marketing.
  • Adapting existing survey tools, capable of measuring policymakers’ capacity and intention for using evidence.

The Decision Lab is a Canadian non-profit consultancy leveraging behavioural insights to have a positive social impact on individuals and organisations.