What is Improvement Science? Why do we need a science?

Improvement science is the creative use of the scientific method to achieve an idealized future practice, from ‘profound knowledge’ of a capable current practice.


Traditionally, this transition would have been attempted based on opinion, authority, resources or accidentally. Improvement requires knowledge and method. Improvement Science exists because no system is ever perfect, but every system is capable. As Batalden and Berwick state:

‘ every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets ‘

What Kind of Science ?

While this site will continue to explore the ‘ nature of the science  in improvement’ these are some of the themes we wish to develop:

Practice science

Improvement science is a theory of Practice. It is a technoscience, concerned with     ‘making’ than   merely ‘what is’. The object of improvement science is practice knowledge.

Real- time science

Analysis of quality can be online or offline. Improvement is a form of Chrono-research which depends on data- over time, that allows intervention.

Cumulative science

Improvement is a founded on endless learning in practice: the growth of practice knowledge.   The cumulativeness is supported by bootstrapping of the knowledge generation process.

Artificial science

Artificial sciences are inseperable from human interest. If natural sciences are concerned with ‘god made’ problems, artificial sciences address ‘man made’ problems.

Evaluative science

Science includes discovery, justification and review. Improvement is inherently evaluative. The endpoint of improvement is ‘act’: whether the ‘improvement’ is worth.

Ideographic science

Unlike nomothetic sciences that seek universalisation , improvement is ideographic science that is limited to studying specific objects.

Secular science

It doesn’t depend on authority but on democratized inquiry.

Abductive science

Induction and deduction have been the alleged logic of natural sciences. The design sciences like improvement are based on abductive reasoning.

Small science

Improvement is not an ‘axiomatic’ science but a science of the ‘small world’ based on small steps, using ‘small data’. It is a ‘nomadic’ rather than a ‘statist’ science.

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