Game planning for Success at Scale | MLD-820M: Strategies for Social Impact with Matthew Lee

Even the most visionary, well-connected, and well-funded social enterprises fail to achieve their aims. A common reason for this failure—and a critical factor for success—is organizational strategy, the game plan developed by an organization and its leaders for achieving impact.

New Associate Professor of Public Policy and Management, Matthew Lee, brings to the Harvard Kennedy School his expert interest in strategic issues relevant to hybrid organizations that simultaneously pursue multiple objectives, including organization design, external evaluation, and innovation. Having studied social enterprises, impact investing, nonprofit organizations and corporate social responsibility, Lee’s teaching (and ongoing research) focuses on the social impact strategies of private, public sector, and hybrid organizations.

In his Fall Module 1 course, MLD-820M: Strategies for Social Impact, Lee and his students will investigate multiple organizations facing strategic challenges. In so doing, students will be introduced to the foundational perspectives in academic research on organizational strategy, as well as practice-oriented strategy tools and frameworks developed specifically for social impact-driven organizations.

A central theme of the course is that analysis must lead to action.

In each case and situation, there is no “right” answer, merely well-reasoned explanations for why these organizations are successful (or not), and what might work best for them going forward. The deeper goal of the course is to understand how each of these explanations work in general and to teach students how they can apply this understanding to build more competitive, more successful organizations, even in new and unfamiliar real-world situations. This ability to do so, repeatedly and with confidence, is the skill Lee says is colloquially referred to as “strategy.”  Strategy has some formal foundations with recognizable links to academic fields such as microeconomics and sociology. But MLD-820M will not resemble a finance or accounting class where each new piece builds on the last in a tidy way. Instead, student learning will include both cognitive knowledge (the content in the readings and the slides) and procedural knowledge – the practical ability to take a real-world business situation and apply a variety of tools or “lenses” to make sense of it.

Portrait of Matthew Lee smiling
HKS Associate Professor of Public Policy and Management. Matthew Lee

This course is for those interested in leading or advising organizations focused on social and environmental impact. This course will be participation-based and will include case discussions, in-class exercises, and guest speakers. Cases considered focus on non-profit organizations, social enterprises, for-profit impact-first companies such as benefit corporations, and, also, public-sector organizations.

Matthew Lee previously taught strategy at New York University and at INSEAD, based in Singapore, and has been recognized by Poets & Quants as part of their “40 under 40” list of best professors. Matthew completed his doctoral studies at Harvard Business School. His scholarly work is available on his personal website. Before his academic career, he was a consultant with the Bridgespan Group, a management consultancy serving social sector organizations. He is a graduate of Penn State University and a past Fulbright scholar.

MLD-820M is a useful complement to other MLD course offerings in the areas of Strategic Management, Leadership, Urban and Civic Innovation , Social Enterprise. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

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 2022. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

Female doctor attending to male patient

MLD-636: Managing Transformations in Healthcare with Thomas Glynn

Learning from practice is a hallmark of the Harvard Kennedy School, and our faculty includes numerous talented individuals who have spent significant portions of their careers in public service.  Perhaps the best example is adjunct lecturer Thomas Glynn.

Glynn’s long and distinguished career has spanned across the public-, private- and non-profit sectors, and covered an array of public policy domains, including public health, labor, transportation, and urban development. From 1983 to 1988 Glynn served as Deputy Commissioner of Public Welfare in Massachusetts which included oversight of the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program. From 1989 to 1991, Glynn was the General Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority which includes subway, trolley, bus, paratransit and commuter rail services for Greater Boston. In 1991 the Mayor of Boston, Raymond Flynn, tapped Glynn to chair the Mayor’s Healthcare Commission with a focus on improving the performance of neighborhood health centers. Then, in 1993, Glynn was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be U.S.  Deputy Secretary of Labor. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent and served through April 15, 1996. HKS adjunct lecturer Tom Glynn

Subsequently, from 1996 to 2010 he served as COO of Partners Healthcare (now called “Mass General Brigham | Integrated Health Care System”), a network of Harvard hospitals, clinicians, and neighborhood health centers. Stepping down from Partners in 2010, Glynn joined the Harvard Kennedy School for the first time, teaching MLD-101, then the introductory public management course in the MPP core, and serving as the faculty chair of an executive program for new State Commissioners for Public Health.  Called into public service again, Glynn left HKS to serve from 2012-2018 as CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority which includes Boston’s Logan International Airport, four maritime businesses in the Port of Boston and significant real estate portfolios in the South Boston Seaport and East Boston Waterfront. In 2018 Glynn returned to Harvard, becoming Chief Executive Officer of the Harvard Allston Land Company, overseeing the University’s non-institutional development of its Enterprise Research Campus in Allston, MA. In Fall of 2019, Glynn stepped back into the HKS classroom as an adjunct lecturer teaching courses in on strategic management for public service organizations.  Glynn continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Pine Street Inn, an agency that serves the homeless, the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions, and several other non-profit healthcare organizations.  For his exceptional service, Glynn was named a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Bringing his wealth of experience into his course MLD-636: Managing Transformations in Healthcare Glynn focuses on how to successfully manage transformations in the U.S. healthcare system. Transformations in healthcare include changing reimbursement models, initiatives to improve quality, and projects to redesign the care delivery system. Unsurprisingly, given his experience, this course will work across sectors – non-profit, private, and public sectors, including federal, state and local levels.  Using primarily the case-method pedagogy, this course will begin with a focus on diagnosing specific contextual, organizational, and cultural challenges faced by organizations delivering healthcare.  Then the course will turn to management tools that can transform the healthcare delivery system. These tools include: 1) managing silos, 2) enhancing the role of clinicians, 3) goal setting and monitoring, and 4) public health campaigns. Glynn also plans to bring into his class several distinguished guest lecturers who are in the heart of current practice.

MLD-636 will be offered at Harvard Kennedy School in the fall semester. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-601: Operations Management with Mark Fagan

Operations are at the heart of public service delivery. Considering essential service providers currently in the spotlight like the U.S. Postal Service, state-level providers of unemployment insurance, and public health agencies throughout the world charged with distributing the COVID-19 vaccines to populations across the globes, we see that optimal operations management can be critical to people’s lives.  What, then, does it take for leaders of organizations like these to optimize for both effectiveness and efficiency, delivering for the public, and satisfying those to whom they are accountable?  MLD-601: Operations Management taught by versatile Lecturer in Public Policy Mark Fagan explores how operations management is critical to value creation in the public sector. Featuring experiential learning through consulting projects with local government agencies and non-profit organizations, Fagan’s course helps students tackle real operations management issues. Past clients have included the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, and Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.  One recent notable student project was on “Improving Data Operations at Pine Street Inn’s Workforce Development Unit,” which aimed to help this major Boston organization understand and manage its job training program for homeless people.

At the end of this rigorous but fun course students will be able to:

  1. See opportunities to improve operations.
  2. Diagnose the problems and barriers to creating value.
  3. Design effective and efficient solutions.
  4. Apply concepts to solve client issues.

In addition to Operations Management, Fagan also teaches MLD-605: Systems Thinking and Supply Chain Management (Spring) and a  section of the MPP core course API-501 Policy Design and Delivery I.

Learn more about the work of Fagan and his students in these courses by exploring the Autonomous Vehicles Policy Initiative at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government,
Listen to Fagan discuss how policymakers can navigate the robot car revolution on this HKS PolicyCast podcast.

Read how students in the Spring 2020 Supply Chain Management course went to work to help when the COVID-19 struck

Harvard Kennedy School course helps COVID-19 front lines

For questions about any of Mark Fagan’s courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

Make a Difference through Government: Data-Driven Public Management with Elizabeth Linos

In this age of deep societal challenges and growing complexity, when government at all levels is tasked with implementing a wide and growing range of policies to ensure and improve the public good, public managers and those working with governments can find it very difficult to move the needle on important programs and policy initiatives.
With her new course MLD-125 Data-Driven Public Management , Professor Elizabeth Linos introduces graduate students to the central elements of public management and policy implementation, with a focus on three core challenges that public managers face: managing programs; managing people; and managing change.  A sampling of the questions explored in this course include:

  • How can governments use data and evidence to improve program performance and what do you do when the data is bad?
  • How do we reduce administrative burdens in government and why does it matter?
  • How can we recruit, retain, and support frontline workers?
  • What are the big dilemmas around algorithmic decision-making, nudging, participatory government, and other innovations that an effective public manager should consider?

Using academic theory from public management, real-world case studies, and a series of guest speakers who work in and with government, students will learn about the barriers and opportunities to make a difference through government.  While most of the cases studied will focus on federal, state, and local government challenges in the U.S., Linos draws on best practices and studies from around the world.

Portrait photo of Elizabeth Linos smiling
Elizabeth Linos

Dr. Elizabeth Linos joined HKS in July 2022 as the Emma Bloomberg Associate Professor for Public Policy and Management.  Linos is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College with majors in Government and Economics. She earned her PhD in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2016, and went on to spend 5 years as Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley
Between college and graduate school, Linos worked directly in government as a policy advisor to the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, focusing on social innovation and public sector reform. While pursuing her doctorate, Linos spent two years as Vice President, Head of Research and Evaluation at the Behavioral Insights Team – North America, working with government agencies in the U.S. and the U.K. to improve programs using behavioral science and to build capacity around rigorous evaluation. In 2021 she was appointed, and now remains, a non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution.

Linos’ research focuses on how to improve government by focusing on its people and the services they deliver. Specifically, she uses insights from behavioral science and evidence from public management to consider how to recruit, retain, and support the government workforce, how to reduce administrative burdens that low-income households face when they interact with their government, and how to better integrate evidence-based policymaking into government. To those ends, Elizabeth founded and now directs The People Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a mission to empower the public sector by producing cutting-edge research on the people of government and the communities they are called to serve. For more information, follow the work of The People Lab on Twitter.

MLD-125 will be offered in the fall semester. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-802M: Nonprofit Management and Leadership with Arthur Brooks

Arthur Brooks
Arthur Brooks, Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership

Students seeking a broad introductory overview of non-profit management — from historical and legal origins, relationships to government, organizational structure, strategic planning, fundraising and communications, and modes of leadership — will want to enroll in MLD-802M: Nonprofit Management and Leadership with Arthur Brooks.  As President for 11 years of the American Enterprise Institute, and, before that, as a scholar of the non-profit sector at The Maxwell School at Syracuse University, Brooks, now William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, is uniquely qualified to teach both the academic and practical concepts critical to future leaders of non-profit organizations.

His course is appropriate for students with interests ranging across the sector, from social services, to international aid, to the arts. This course will draw on proven frameworks and real world examples to provide students an intellectual and practical foundation for further coursework and careers in the sector. The course features guest lecturers from premier scholars and practitioners. Past visitors have included HKS pioneering scholar on Public Value, Mark Moore; President Emerita of Harvard University and the Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor, Drew Gilpin FaustIan Rowe, founding CEO of Public Prep, a nonprofit network of public charter schools based in the South Bronx and Lower East Side of Manhattan; and social entrepreneur Dan Pallotta.

In addition to his interest in non-profit management, Brooks writes, speaks, and podcasts on a wide range of topics. Find out more at his personal homepage arthurbrooks.com.

MLD-802M will be taught at HKS in the Fall semester.  A complementary course in non-profit financial management MLD-427 Strategic Finance for Nonprofit Leaders with James Honan is offered in both the fall and spring semesters. Both courses may be taken for credit.
HKS also offers several other courses in the non-profit and social innovation areas:

MLD-820         Strategies for Social Impact with Matthew Lee
MLD-830         Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Private and Social Sectors with Richard Cavanagh
MLD-831         Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Private and Social Sectors – Business Plan Workshop with Richard Cavanagh
MLD-836M      Social Entrepreneurship/Social Enterprise Deep Dive: How to Operationalize & Scale for Social Impact
with James Bildner and Stephanie Khurana
DPI-312           Sparking Social Change: Analytic Frameworks to Guide Social Innovators with Sanderijn Cels

If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.