Ongoing research at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy is focusing on strategies for efficient and effective model building in groups. The intent is to involve a relatively large client group in the business of model formulation. Recent projects have explored strategies for accelerated group model building in the context of three public policy problem areas: foster care in New York State, Medicaid costs in the state of Vermont, and homelessness policy initiatives in New York City.
Five roles appear to be essential to support effective group model building: the facilitator, the modeler/ reflector, the process coach, the recorder, and the gate keeper. This article identifies the five roles, briefly discusses the problem areas, sketches the design of the group model-building efforts, and hypothesizes principles and strategies to guide future group model building.