Abuja, Nigeria -- Brigitte Madrian, Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management in the Aetna Chair at Harvard Kennedy School, recently led an Executive Education program, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and co-hosted by the Nigerian Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), focusing on behavioral insights and their application to anti-corruption and government accountability and transparency.

This three-and-a-half day program convened 55 participants from government, civil society, the judiciary, and foundations. The first two-and-a-half days focused on the principals and methodology of applying behavioral insights. This was followed by a daylong workshop led by the Behavioural Insights Team US, followed by a practitioner-led workshop where participants developed a plan of action for an intervention.

This model was co-created with the MacArthur Foundation and the Behavioural Insights Team, and will see the commissioning of one participant intervention idea through technical assistance of the Behavioural Insights Team during the following three-to-six months. Participants will reconvene in six months for a capstone half-day session to assess all of their individual plans of action developed during the program and to debrief on the intervention supported by the Behavioural Insights Team.

The concept for the program originated in 2016 through a group of participants sent by the MacArthur Foundation to the inaugural on-campus Executive Education program “Applying Behavioral Insights to the Design of Public Policy.” The design was a collaborative effort involving the MacArthur Foundation, PACAC, the Behavioural Insights Team, and faculty and staff from Harvard Kennedy School. This is Harvard Kennedy School’s first Executive Education program in Nigeria, and one of a handful of projects focused on corruption operated by the Behavioural Insights Team.

“It has been energizing to see how the Nigerian public officials in the program, with their diverse set of policy interests, have engaged with the program content and are actively working on how to apply the core concepts taught to solving policy challenges in their work on electoral outcomes, improving service delivery, and reducing corruption. I look forward to watching the evolution of their efforts, supported by the Behavioural Insights Team, over the next several months,” said Madrian.

“This program’s work to create new content and to develop a collaborate partnership with the Behavioural Insights team will enrich not just the participants’ work on interventions using Behavioral Insights in Nigeria, but also our curriculum on campus and future Executive Education programs in this realm. We’ve had amazing feedback from the group so far and look forward to sharing it with our Exec Ed program alumni worldwide, as well as bringing back the experience and findings to campus,” Madrian continued.

“We are very happy to be able to bring this course to Nigeria and to enable our government, civil society, academic, and entertainment colleagues to learn more about behavioral insights that they can use to improve the impact of their work. We are particularly excited about how behavioral insights can be used to improve services, reduce corruption, and promote accountability in Nigeria.” said Dr. Kole Shettima, director of MacArthur’s Africa Office.