fbpx Sparking Social Change: Analytic Frameworks to Guide Social Innovators | Harvard Kennedy School
Sanderijn Cels Photo

Sanderijn Cels

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy


This course focuses on the strategic challenges that social change agents are confronted with. Using the Harvard Case Method, we discuss individual cases, drawn from real life, to learn lessons about strategy for our own practices.

What strategic challenges do social change agents face? How do they deal with these? Which frameworks help systematically analyze strategic challenges and opportunities? And how can you use these frameworks yourself? These questions are central to "Sparking Social Change."

We examine the work of a variety of international change agents, including how they define the problem that they are working on; which outcomes they envision; what the logic is behind their activities; which platforms they select to drive the change process; and how they deal with guardians of the status quo. They operate from a range of positions and platforms, and they do so with different degrees of success. While some cases focus on famous individuals, most zoom in on people to whom we may relate more easily— ordinary people who have nonetheless made an extraordinary impact.

We use analytical frameworks that help systematically assess strategic challenges and opportunities— not just the ones in the cases, but also the ones that you may be confronted with if you would try to spark social change yourself.