CPPR’s first Incubation Process Cohort is beginning the groundwork for MVPs


The Center for Public Partnerships and Research (CPPR) has selected the first cohort of the Incubation Process. Four teams of CPPR employees presented their incubation projects on Pitch Day, Oct. 29, to fellow staff serving on the Incubation Pitch Crew, a volunteer committee that gave feedback and evaluated if a team’s minimum viable product (MVP) aligned with the Center’s mission to optimize the well-being of children and families. All the teams that presented were ranked highly by the Incubation Pitch Crew and were selected to be in the first cohort of the Incubation Process. Each team has 12 weeks to implement the below MVPs:


MVP: Gathering community-based wisdom for people with gestational diabetes

Katherine Cantu Anguiano, Research Project Coordinator
Katie Hart, Research Project Coordinator
Sara O’Keeffe, Graphic Designer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gestational diabetes is a common pregnancy complication that affects 2-10 percent of all pregnant people in the United States. With increased risk for both the pregnant person and their baby, gestational diabetes is a health concern that requires comprehensive educational resources and systems of support, which is challenging to find in health systems prone to judgment and barriers to access, particularly for those in marginalized and vulnerable populations. To shape their MVP, Katherine, Katie, and Sara used their shared experiences prompted by their gestational diabetes diagnoses, which negatively impacted their pregnancy and their ability to find supportive information and medical care during and after their pregnancies. They will be researching and gathering community-based wisdom from people with lived experience with gestational diabetes, and aim to create a card deck of reference materials with information explaining the diagnosis of gestational diabetes and how to live well while managing it. The team wants to design the card deck as a personal, easy-to-use, and supportive guide that will give people the tools to manage their diabetes and navigate health systems.

“The idea was born out of a text thread between Katherine, Katie, and myself. As we started talking, it developed into a comforting, resource-sharing space,” said Graphic Designer Sara O’Keeffe. “It became clear to us that better support and information was needed for people with gestational diabetes, especially in terms of mental and emotional health. Addressing gestational diabetes with creative ideas from those with first-hand experience can help us build something practical, helpful, and affirming.”

Katherine, Katie, and Sara will use the first four weeks of their MVP timeline to develop the material and crowd-source information from people who have more lived experience managing gestational diabetes. The majority of the team’s MVP implementation will be dedicated to collecting and compiling feedback so they can further develop forms of community-based resources that can be accessible to all people who have gestational diabetes. 


MVP: Community voice in IRIS

Lindsay Galindo, Research Project Manager
Mary Orem, Research Project Coordinator
Loretta Severin, Research Project Manager
Natasha Welsh, Research Project Coordinato

The Integrated Intake and Referral System (IRIS) is an online referral tool supporting a community approach that builds partnerships to promote healthy families and communities. This CPPR venture product coordinates services by standardizing processes and providing implementation support to make referrals accessible and efficient for people who need care. These members of the IRIS team want to ground the decision-making in local IRIS networks with the perspectives and experiences of the families who are referred through IRIS. The team’s MVP is to gather and analyze information on how local IRIS Leadership Teams currently collect and use information about how families experience IRIS networks, and then the team will use those findings to develop their next MVP.

“Community voice has been an area of emphasis for our team. We had been feeling compelled to act on it for some time, but we weren’t sure how to begin. The Incubation Process gave us traction and accountability to get to a starting place,” said Loretta Severin, research project manager. “Pitch Day also connected us to a CPPR staff member outside our team. They reached out to let us know they were working on something similar for a separate project, and the Incubation Process created the opportunity to share resources cross-center.”

Lindsay, Mary, Loretta, and Natasha will spend three weeks researching how to frame and design questions for local IRIS leaders, and then will develop a method to track their responses. Immediately after, they will dedicate six weeks to gather responses from communities, and then use the final three weeks of their MVP timeline to analyze the responses and develop the next steps to center community perspectives in IRIS networks. 


MVP: Creating a shared language for systems change for the Early Childhood Care and Education team 

Sara Gardner, Assistant Director
Meghan Kluth, Research Project Coordinator

CPPR employees working on the Early Childhood Care and Education team have diverse professional experiences, and the advantages of their multiple perspectives will be aided with the development of a shared language the team can use to build consensus on the benchmarks, understandings, and goals needed to make and sustain change in early childhood care systems in Kansas. The team’s MVP will design a written self-assessment for ECCE coordination staff, which will provide a clear definition of systems change and an overview of the various skills related to systems change. The MVP will also provide professional development opportunities primarily in the form of peer support conversations, offered on a weekly basis, and ECCE staff will be asked to participate in these conversations at least once a month.

“The Incubation Process helped us take a problem we see often in our work and break it down into an approachable first step with a set timeline and goals. The experience helped us ‘right size’ our approach and put our ideas into action,” said Research Project Coordinator Meghan Kluth.

In their first two weeks of their MVP timeline, Meghan and Sara will create the self-assessment with feedback from ECCE staff, and then give people time to complete the assessment. The majority of Meghan and Sara’s time will be spent hosting weekly peer support sessions that will provide the opportunity for staff to share highlights from their work, to brainstorm additional tools and resources, and overall support each team member to see the impact and importance of their role within the systems of early childhood care.


MVP: Community vision in IRIS and Ages and Stages Questionnaire Online

Danielle Brower, Research Project Manager
Erica Figueroa, Research Project Coordinator
Lindsay Galindo, Research Project Manager
Loretta Severin, Research Project Manager

Developmental health screening practices help to ensure that children receive necessary supports and services to meet their specific developmental needs. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is a parent-completed developmental health screener that is scored by a provider. Providers then use the results to identify relevant community services and supports for that child. Frequently after a child’s needs are identified, providers find it difficult to connect families to resources and services. At CPPR, ASQ Online and IRIS are two community-led tools that work to provide comprehensive screening programs and referral networks that support optimizing a child’s developmental health and empowering families with the resources and services they need. The team’s MVP aims to improve these solutions with further consideration to a community’s developmental health system by surveying local ASQ Online and IRIS leaders to better understand their vision, plans, and needs for their communities. 

"Our idea was really sparked from our own experiences of how well these community-led systems can work together in communities we have previously worked with, as well as a few community partners expressing visions around how the two initiatives can work together in their communities,” said Research Project Coordinator Erica Figueroa. “With our MVP, we hope to see if other communities have similar or different visions for how the ASQ Online system and IRIS can work together in their communities, and to sew what the gaps and barriers are currently to seamless implementation."


In their first two weeks of their MVP timeline, Danielle, Erica, Lindsay, and Loretta will develop a set of reflection questions for partners and begin connecting with local ASQ Online and IRIS leaders to gather their feedback. The majority of the team’s time will be spent in conversation with local community partners, gathering their experiences and feedback. The team will then evaluate findings to inform their next steps.


The Incubation Process has encouraged employees across the Center to envision the impact they are capable of making in the world. The overall goals of incubation were to provide a structure for employees and their ideas, and to develop ideas that expand and reimagine the work in CPPR’s mission. With so much variation within the needs and challenges in social service systems, CPPR is excited to see how the process of incubation has prompted and engaged employees with opportunities to innovate. CPPR will continue to support the first cohort during their implementation phases, and looks forward to their development and to the ideas of future cohorts in the Incubation Process.

An example of Applied Research at CPPR.