MLD-102: Getting Things Done: Management in a Development Context with Matthew Andrews

MLD-102: Getting Things Done: Management in a Development Context taught by Matthew Andrews, Edward S. Mason Senior Lecturer in International Development, is a core, required course for the HKS MPA/ID program. It is also open for enrollment by non-MPA/ID students; permission of the instructor is not required. With a focus on developing country contexts, this course introduces students to critical concepts in organization theory, public management, and the practice of development to enable them to understand the individual, structural, and systemic underpinnings of good management and governance. The development context requires a focus on service delivery from both government and civil society (non-profits and aid agencies in cooperation with one another, and with the local government partner).  Service delivery includes a wide variety of activities from education to regulatory enforcement. A critical driver of success is good management and governance, especially in the face of major resource constraints and in complex settings. Through theoretical readings, case study discussions, and simulations, students will apply theoretical concepts to real-world situations and, through simulations, experience the difficulty of managing. Building on analytical work from other courses, students will focus on such critical issues as corruption, participatory development, scaling up, social service delivery, and emergency response.

Learn more about Matt and his approach to management in a development context:

MLD-102 will be offered in two sections at Harvard Kennedy School in Fall of 2021. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-304: The Science of Behavior Change with Todd Rogers

Leverage insights about human decision making to develop interventions that improve societal well-being.

This is the primary learning goal of MLD-304 The Science of Behavior Change taught by Professor Todd Rogers.
The fast growing research field dubbed “behavioral economics” or “behavioral science” examines the mechanisms of, and influences on, human judgment and decision making, especially in the areas where our choices differ from the rational and the optimal.  Insights from this research has provided a new set of tools that complement standard economics and policy levers for influencing behavior (namely, incentives and information) and allowed us to improve implementation of interventions promoting the public good.  These new tools and ideas have relevance across fields ranging from healthcare, education, criminal justice, social welfare, electoral politics, personal finance, and beyond.
In addition to learning more about the science of how humans make judgments and decisions, students in MLD-304 will also be taught how to improve the quality of their own judgments and decisions by identifying areas of thinking prone to errors and cognitive biases. Some of these errors are particularly important for real world problems.  This course will also increase students’ familiarity with randomized experiments, enabling them to be smarter consumers of claims that interventions cause certain outcomes.

Watch Professor Rogers describe an example from his work on voter mobilization:

Read an example of Todd Rogers’s work implementing a simple and effective set of behavioral scientific interventions to tackle the problem of student absenteeism in urban school districts.

Join other students at HKS and across Harvard interested in behavioral science in the Behavioral Insights Group which brings together an outstanding group of decision research scholars, behavioral economists, and other behavioral scientists. BIG’s staff are always happy to talk with students. Please feel free to reach out to Program Manager, Maja Niksic (maja_niksic@hks.harvard.edu) or join BIG’s global mailing list, the mailing list for Harvard students, follow BIG on Twitter, or check out BIG’s LinkedIn Network where behavioral science-specific jobs are posted.

MLD-304 is offered at Harvard Kennedy School in Fall semester. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-113M: Strategy and Decision with Peter Zimmerman

How can effective leaders learn from experience and decisions in the past to make more effective decisions that advance one’s strategic purpose?

Book Cover: Strategy: A History, by Lawrence Freedman, Copyright Oxford University Press, 2013

Strategy is expressed in the decisions we make every day. There are no choices or actions that are truly neutral with respect to one’s strategic purpose.  Yet few decisions come labelled as “strategic”; instead policy makers, analysts and managers face an unending stream of judgments and choices that arrive in varied frames from every imaginable direction.

No decision stands alone. Today’s decisions are linked undeniably to decisions in the past reflected in the experience of individuals, groups, teams and organizations, even nations.  Experience both enables and limits our perceptions, beliefs, values, predispositions and capabilities. We both learn from the past (it’s all we’ve got) yet our learning can be limited by the deceptive clarity and presumed certainty associated with explanations of past events.

MLD-113M Strategy and Decision with Peter Zimmerman will help students develop more robust explanations of past decisions, their strategic impact and will help students make better predictions of the effects of future decisions.  Taking as the course text cases and stories involving others, from different times and places, and even students’ own stories and experience, students will work on three parallel tracks. First, students have the chance to analyze and explain decisions large & small while experimenting in a tentative qualitative way with how things might come out differently. Next, they explore the science of behavior & decision-making (i.e., what are the sources of influence on decision and what’s going on in the black box?). Finally, they develop a framework to help improve our explanations & predictions and to integrate individual choices into a pattern of strategic decisions. Harvard students can view a course preview video with Peter Zimmerman.

This course is offered in the 2nd module of Fall 2020. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

Building Coalitions to Change Policy and Empower People: The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice

Conceived in 2018, at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice advances the social justice and civil rights legacy of William Monroe Trotter. The Trotter collaborative, directed by Cornell William Brooks
fosters research on excellence in social justice and collaboration with local and national level organizations operating in the spheres of public interest and policy, as well as in the areas of community engagement and government. The collaborative conducts and employs applied research that supports efforts to promote advocacy, citizen activism, and impactful, non-partisan policy solutions to civil rights and social justice issues. Through this pedagogy, the Trotter Collaborative meaningfully addresses local and national civil rights challenges.William Monroe Trotter paintingLearn more about the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative by reading here, listening to, or watching, The Avant Guardian podcast, or following the Collaborative’s work in the news.

Judith E. Heumann delivers the 2019 Gustav Pollak Lecture

Appearing Tuesday night in the JFK Jr. Forum at the Harvard Kennedy School, Disability rights activist Judith E. Heumann called for private and public institutions to include the perspectives of disabled individuals in discussions about diversity and equality.  Hosted by the MLD Area and the Institute of Politics, Heumann delivered the Gustav Pollak endowed lecture in moderated discussion with MLD Area Chair and HKS Senior Lecturer Hannah Riley Bowles. Harvard Kennedy School graduate Sara Minkara, who introduced Heumann at the event, highlighted the activist’s influence on policymakers around the world.

Heumann has a long career as both an activist and organizer, but also working within multiple presidential administrations and with the World Bank. She brought a unique historical perspective to the long fight to enact legislation promoting disability rights in the U.S. and worldwide, and spoke persuasively about the ongoing need to enforce the laws and spread awareness that true inclusion remains a critical, but still far off, goal.  View the complete event on the IOP Forum webpage.

Judith Heumann and Hannah Riley Bowles on stage @ JFK Jr. Forum
Judith Heumann and Hannah Riley Bowles on stage @ JFK Jr. Forum (Photo Credit: Martha Stewart)

Congratulations to Jennifer Lerner and Hannah Riley Bowles

The Deans of the Harvard Kennedy School recently announced two honorary title designations for MLD Area faculty members. Warm congratulations to our two colleagues!

Jennifer S. Lerner will become the Thornton F. Bradshaw Professor in Public Management at Harvard Kennedy School.

The chair is named in honor of Thornton F. Bradshaw, president of the Atlantic-Richfield Company, chairman of RCA, the MacArthur Foundation and the Aspen Institute. A graduate of Harvard University, Bradshaw served the university in various capacities, including as a member of the Board of Overseers and member of the visiting committee for Harvard Kennedy School. Jenn Lerner is a social psychologist known for her research on emotion, judgment and decision making. She is the co-founder of the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory, chairs the Leadership Decision Making executive education program at Harvard Kennedy School and serves as the first chief decision scientist of the United States Navy. She helped develop a framework to predict the effects of emotions on judgment and choice, such as the perceptions of risk, economic decisions, and attributions of responsibility. She is the author of numerous academic articles and her work has also been featured in major news outlets. Jenn teaches courses on decision making, leadership and social psychology at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Hannah Riley Bowles will become the Roy E. Larsen Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School.

This chair is named in honor of Roy E. Larsen, the long-time publisher of Time, Inc. A graduate of Harvard University, Larsen served his alma mater as a member of the Board of Overseers, and as a benefactor of Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, among other leadership roles at the university. Hannah Riley Bowles, an organizational behavior scholar, is known for research on women’s leadership and the role of gender in negotiation. She serves as area chair of Management, Leadership and Decision Sciences, co-directs the Women and Public Policy Program and chairs the Women and Power executive education program at Harvard Kennedy School. Her work focuses on negotiation as a micro-mechanism of inequality and women’s leadership advancement, examining both situational barriers and individual strategies. She is the author of numerous academic articles and her work has also been featured in major news outlets. Hannah teaches courses on management, leadership, negotiation and gender at HKS.