MLD-621M: Innovation Field Lab: Public Problem Solving in Three Massachusetts Cities

Semester: Spr Mod4

Credit: 0.5

Syllabus: Click here for syllabus

Faculty: Jorrit de Jong


Day Time Location
First Day 3/23
Meet Day T 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM STARR


Many cities are challenged by both insufficient resources and increasingly high expectations from residents for better quality services, value for tax money and more responsiveness to pressing public problems. City leaders are looking to meet those demands by innovating government programs and operations. This module seeks to offer help to Massachusetts cities and give students the opportunity to do real work on real problems and learn about the practice of public sector innovation. The Innovation Field Lab will be facilitated by Dr. Jorrit de Jong (Lecturer at HKS) and Joe Curtatone (Mayor of Somerville and Senior Fellow at HKS). Student teams will be assigned to three nearby cities to work on a common problem. About half of the time will be spent in the field, and half of the time will be spent on campus. Class sessions will include case discussion, design work, simulation, peer consulting, and discussion of literature on public sector innovation. In addition to that, this module requires a considerable amount of work outside of class in the city teams. We strongly recommend taking Professor Goldsmith’s module on Urban Innovation (MLD 620M) or similar classes on urban policy and innovation (e.g., MLD-332 (Gergen); MLD-602 (Behn), or SUP-601 (Mayne)). Experience in municipal government, community development, and consulting will all enable students to excel in this course. We hope to have a balanced group of students whose skills and experiences will complement each other. Please speak with us if you have concerns about whether you are prepared for this class. 






John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1100 Get Directions Visit Contact Page