Case Commons

Please tell us about your public sector experience, and understand what makes it noteworthy or exceptional.: 
 
Casebook: A Family-Centered Tool for Case Management
 
Casebook is the first user-centered, SaaS application developed specifically for child welfare workers. Casebook was developed by Case Commons, Inc., a unique non-for-profit, which was seed funded by -- and continues to receive generous support from -- the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF). AECF is the largest philanthropy dedicated to improving life outcomes for disadvantaged children and their families in America and a national leader in child welfare policy and practice. Child welfare workers use Casebook to manage their day-to-day work with families and to capture important information about the children in their care.
 
Casebook is innovative on two fronts. First, it is built to fundamentally reflect and reinforce a deep, research-based understanding of needs and best practices unique to the child welfare domain.  Supported by AECF research findings and identified best-practices, our goal is for Casebook to collect and use data in smart, contextual ways, helping caseworkers to streamline data entry and make better decisions for the children in their care.  We are constantly learning from the users of Casebook, and those learnings both refine our domain knowledge and drive improvements in the application. Second, Casebook represents a paradigm shift in the way that government technology is developed, harnessing the power of Agile Methodologies, User-Centered Design and other modern software development practices which more typically characterize innovation in the private sector than the public sector.
 
What can other public-sector interests learn from how you conceived of and designed this experience?: 

 
Casebook is successful in large part because we have collaboratively conceived and consistently apply a set of core, value-based design principles and practices to our product work. These fundamental operating conventions guide our every decision, unifying us as a team and helping to streamline communication and iteration. More importantly, they allow us to move more quickly and strategically, keeping us focused on the measures that matter most: quantifiably better experiences for caseworkers, better outcomes for families, and less overhead for agencies and taxpayers.

The principles are as follows:

1. Leverage subject matter expertise to lead business-level innovation

2. Support better decision-making by providing just-in-time data and tools

3. Build for multiple user types and levels

4. Work where and when our users work

5. Patternize to allow for faster and cheaper improvements

6. Be Agile and iterate -- even while working with government clients

Through the  consistent application of our core design principles and practices to the development of Casebook, Case Commons has been able to iterate more quickly and strategically than our legacy software competitors. As a result, Casebook is already producing measurably better data quality and experiences for our users at all levels.

We take especially great pride in being able, ultimately, to improve results for children and will continue to make this our mission. In this way, Case Commons and Casebook are helping to lead a growing movement to revolutionize how government puts  public sector technology to work for Americans. 

Our hope in sharing these principles is that others might find them useful or choose to adapt them to positively impact their own work in technology products for the public sector.