fbpx Transforming Public Interest Organizations | Harvard Kennedy School
Grant Freeland Photo

Grant Freeland

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy


The course introduces the theory and practice of transforming public interest organizations such as: large government departments; foundations; academic institutions; and not-for-profits. Some appropriate learning will also come from private sector organizations. Prepares students for advising leaders, and those leading organizational transformations. Organizations need to adopt new strategies and policies as their environment changes. This course focuses less on developing those strategies and policies, but more on how to drive change through the organization, in order to more successfully implement that strategy. In addition to case examples, the course will develop an integrated view on the levers that drive transformations: organizational governance design and governance; leadership and talent; culture; capabilities; HR practices and work and technology. And then finish with the tools to develop a Transformation plan and perform effective change and implementation management. A byproduct of the course is that students will learn how consultants analyze problems and recommend solutions.


Requirements: active engagement on pre-read material and class engagement; preparation of case study transformation plan that could be shared in class; and student preparation and presentation of small group assignment on transforming an organization. The instructor will meet with individuals and groups outside of class to help structure projects and provide coaching. Grades based 1/3 on class participation, 1/3 on a mid-module individual assignment and a 1/3 on a module long group assignment. Students will be asked to submit three very short paragraphs before each class on pre assigned questions. These submissions will not be graded but used to help steer the class.