Upcoming Sessions
  • Blended
    Session Date
    Coming Soon
    Application Deadline
    Coming Soon
    Program Fee
    Faculty Chair
    Program Director

    This program consists of online, on campus, and action learning components divided into three phases over the seven-month program.

    Phase 1 (May 13-June 7): The first online module 
    Phase 2 (June 8-14): The on campus program in Cambridge, MA.
    Phase 3 (June 15-November 12): The online action learning component 

    Program Fee: The program fee includes tuition, housing and most meals during your phase 2 on campus program, and curricular materials.
    Executive Certificate: This program is a core program in the Public Leadership and Public Policy concentrations. This program can also be used as a third program for any concentration in the Executive Certificate series.
    Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs): This program aligns with one or more Executive Core Qualifications.

Program Overview

New public policy ideas that promise to solve many of society’s problems are constantly emerging in governments, nonprofit and corporate organizations across the world. Unfortunately, studies show that more than half of these ideas fail during implementation, thus falling short of achieving their intended—and much needed—results.

Why is policy implementation failure so common? What can be done to overcome challenges and roadblocks so that we can achieve successful policy outcomes more frequently and make real change happen?

Implementing Public Policy is designed to equip policymakers around the world with both the skills to analyze policies, as well as the field-tested tools and tactics to successfully implement them. The program is innovative, and practical. It builds on the traditional executive education program experience through a seven-month engagement that blends online, on campus and applied action learning.


This program follows a blended learning format offering a combination of both online and in-person learning, as well as applied action learning—where new ideas are applied to daily implementation challenges. The program will be delivered over a period of seven months and will include four components.

part 1One Month Online: You will complete an online component that will allow you to reflect on your implementation challenge and consider several issues, such as: are your stakeholders in favor of this change? How will politics affect it? What is your budget?  Participants can expect two to three online modules with readings and video content to review and two to three live peer learning group meetings and live faculty discussion sessions.  Expected time commitment in Phase I is approximately 4-6 hrs. per module.

part 2One-Week On Campus: At Harvard, you and your peers will be immersed in an intense, interactive environment with Harvard faculty and practitioners to discuss your respective challenges, and explore different implementation methods that could help achieve your policy goals.  Participants can expect to be immersed in the program from 7:30-5:30 daily, with three to four class sessions and peer learning groups each day.

part 3Five-Months Action Learning: Once you return to your organization, you will continue to work on your implementation challenge using the tools and tactics you learned while at Harvard. You will continue to engage with faculty and fellow participants in an online moderated environment, sharing your experiences, learning, challenges, and breakthroughs.  Participants can expect one online module with readings and video content to review, one assignment, and one live peer learning group meeting and live faculty session per month. Expected time commitment is approximately 4-6 hrs. per month.

part 4Community of Practice: Members can expect optional monthly virtual events and meetings with Implementing Public Policy alumni and faculty.

Learning Objectives

During the program, you will explore different implementation methods that could help achieve your policy goals, with a focus on Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation.  

  • Plan and Control (Programmed Implementation) – effective when there are low levels of uncertainty and little new learning is needed.
  • Adaptive Management (Agile or Design Thinking) – appropriate when the general direction of the policy is known, but more specifics about the policy product or context is needed.
  • Facilitated Emergence (Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation) – a “learn while you go” strategy used when there are high levels of uncertainty about political support, context and available resources, and a lot of learning is required in the implementation process.

Application Information

​​​​​​Your Implementation Challenge: When you submit your application, you will identify your implementation challenge, which will form the basis of your learning throughout the seven-month program.

View a sample program schedule for Phases I and III.

View a sample program schedule for Phase II.


“It was refreshing that [Implementing Public Policy] focused on the realities of working in government, acknowledging the complexities of that context, and providing strategies that work for approaching the types of big problems government is there to add

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Hear From the Faculty Chair

Matt Andrews discusses why he created the Implementing Public Policy executive program.

Faculty & Research


Matthew Andrews Photo

Matthew Andrews

Edward S. Mason Senior Lecturer in International Development


Monica Higgins

Monica Higgins

Robert Wilkinson Photo

Robert Wilkinson

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Leadership

Alumni Spotlight: Hear from Participants of Implementing Public Policy

Hear from alumni of the Implementing Public Policy executive program at Harvard Kennedy School, led by Faculty Chair Matt Andrews.

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