April 2011 Update


Welcome the YVSP Updates Blog! We started sending out these periodic updates hoping that they would serve to keep us all informed on various happenings throughout the YVSP community and the broader community of people working to reduce youth violence. Now we are posting them here. This first update was orginally distributed in April 2011, and it introduces the latest version of the model: YVSP Strategy Lab 2.00.

YVSP Strategy Lab: the Latest Version of the YVSP Model is here!

Download the New Version

YVSP Strategy Lab v.2.00 (YVSP Model) is now available as a free download on our website for both Windows and Mac computers!

Even though it is now publicly available for you to download and use on your own, we still highly recommend that all users attend one of the trainings. Come for a refresher if you received training on an earlier version.

For those who have access to our previous version of the YVSP Model online through Forio, please note that the Forio online version will no longer be available.  Please feel free to download the new version directly on to your computers.

What's Changed?

The YVSP Model is the centerpiece of the community's on-going research effort through YVSP. It was first launched in March 2010. Over the last year, YVSP has been working to grow the community of users and put the YVSP Model to work as a tool for effective conversations among those working to reduce youth violence. We have been revising and reworking it based on the learning and insights we have received from this growing community of users in order to make it a better tool for you.

Interface Improvements

The new version retains the familiar face of the previous versions-like the slippery slope diagram on the "Configure Experiments" page and the output graphs in "Run Experiments." You will find some welcome improvements to the interface as well, including:

  • Pop-up bucket definitions:  You can click on any bucket on the slippery slope diagram and the working definition for that bucket will pop up. For example, click "On the Edge," and this definition appears: "'On the Edge' individuals sustain relationships with gang members or others who engage in violence, and are involved in illegal activities."
  • Cleaner layout:   The same information on the "Run Experiments" page is presented in a clearer way, including a concise table for the "key indicators" and the "data detail" options, making it easier to read and navigate through the output data.
  • Print feature: You can now print the results of your experiments.
  • Refining the terms and diagram flows: We've also refined some of the terms and flows as further discussed below.

City-scale and Neighborhood-scale Labs

Instead of just one lab, there are now two: a city-scale lab and a neighborhood-scale lab. The city-scale lab is based on a population of 150,000 youth and the neighborhood-scale represents 5,000 youth. Since violence is not widespread through the city as a whole, the neighborhood scale gives us a way to understand what happens in a small area of the city where rates of violence are higher. In other words, fewer people are considered to be "uninvolved" and levels of "community trauma" and "affinity for violence" are higher than the city-scale lab. The neighborhood-scale captures the dynamics of youth violence by modeling the interactions and interchanges between two high-violence neighborhoods. Users of the model can therefore analyze the influence of their own and other programs both on the smaller, higher concentration of violence scale as well as the broader, more general city-scale.

Content and Definition Changes

Based on thoughtful feedback from users of the previous versions, we have made two key content changes. The first is that the bucket that was labeled "associate" is now called "associated." It's a difference of one letter, but it takes away some potential miscommunication related to what an "associate" might be. The second is that the flow arrow out from "incarcerated" now goes to "on the edge" rather than "associated."

Let's Keep Refining the Model

All of these new features-interface, content, and scale options-come from the thoughtful feedback of users of the previous versions. Thank you. That kind of refining is what will make this model a useful collaborative tool. Even little changes mean a lot, because the clearer and more commonly understood our terms, the farther we can go in our conversations.

Revising and refining the model is all directed toward the purpose of making it an increasingly useful tool for generating deep conversations, supporting systemic thinking, and sustaining collaboration among many people working to reduce youth violence in Boston. As we all begin working with this latest version of the model, let's keep generating thoughtful feedback so that it can continue to be improved.

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