Systems across social services serve communities inequitably. This presents the people working in these systems with the tremendous challenge of identifying and eliminating inequities. This challenge is enormous and incremental progress will not suffice. At Shift, we believe that improvement is a powerful approach to engage those closest to the work in creating positive changes to the systems they experience, identifying and testing solutions in real-time, and using data for learning to reduce variation and improve outcomes.
In this paper, we propose that the definition of improvement evolve to be explicit in the aim to build a more just and equitable society. To us, this means: noticing the inequitable outcomes that systems produce, using improvement methods to inquire about the roots of those inequities, then acting to facilitate justice through the intentional redesign of systems to meet the unique needs of all.