Upcoming Sessions

Program Overview

Twenty-first century technology and increasing complex global issues are dramatically altering the context in which organizations – particularly those working in development - operate. These challenges require evidence-based policies and programming that are iterative, adaptive, and draw on a range of economic policy solutions. Now more than ever, using smart approaches that allow for quick, data-informed decisions is a critical step in addressing policy issues around the world.

The Leading Smart Policy Design executive program, developed by experienced researchers and practitioners at Harvard Kennedy School’s Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) research program, is for leaders and their teams charged with designing and delivering policies or programs that address social and economic problems worldwide. This online program provides practical frameworks for analysis and hands-on experience using a smart, systematic, and collaborative approach to theory- and data- driven innovation. Both individuals and teams who are interested in sustainable, inclusive development are encouraged to apply.

Program Curriculum

Leading Smart Policy Design will immerse you and your peers in a problem-driven, interactive learning environment that employs our collective expertise to design, test, and refine solutions. Live faculty sessions will review the latest evidence in economic development, providing space to discuss policy topics that are key to your work.

Faculty lecturers will present theory and evidence behind policies for building economies in a sustainable, inclusive way. Sessions will cover a wide range of topics in international development, including gender equity, environmental economics, health, microfinance, education, labor market policies and social protection systems strengthening.

During Leading Smart Policy Design, you will experience interactive faculty sessions, applied action learning, case studies, and small group sessions. During collaborative group sessions you will work with peers to apply lessons to solve real-world problems. These sessions will give you an opportunity to address a specific design challenge facing your organization and present a unique chance for you to gain from the expertise of faculty, teaching fellows, and peers.

Learning Objectives

During the groupwork, participants will learn the Smart Policy Design and Implementation (SPDI) approach, applying it directly to their most pressing challenges. You will learn and follow the six steps of the SPDI process, incorporating economic theory and rigorous evidence at every stage:

  • Identify pressing policy problems
  • Diagnose underlying causes
  • Design high-potential and feasible policy solutions
  • Implement and monitor proposed solutions on the ground
  • Test high-potential solutions with rigorous evaluation
  • Refine those solutions based on continuous monitoring and feedback

Application Information

Prior to arriving at Harvard, you will complete pre-assignments that serve as the foundation of your work in the program.

View the draft program schedule. Note that module titles, speakers, and sequence may change.

Hear from Faculty Chair Rema Hanna

“This program leverages [the Smart Policy Design Implementation] framework, which designs better policies to improve people's lives. You’ll apply this systematic and collaborative approach to your own work to design, test, and refine solutions to critical policy challenges.” Hear more from Rema Hanna about how she developed Leading Smart Policy Design.

Faculty & Research

Rema Hanna Photo

Rema Hanna

Jeffrey Cheah Professor of South-East Asia Studies

Harvard Faculty

Marcella Alsan Photo

Marcella Alsan

Angelopoulos Professor of Public Policy

Matthew Andrews Photo

Matthew Andrews

Edward S. Mason Senior Lecturer in International Development

Shawn Cole Photo

Shawn Cole

John G. McClean Professor of Business Administration, HBS

Gordon Hanson Photo

Gordon Hanson

Peter Wertheim Professor in Urban Policy

Kelsey Jack

Kelsey Jack

Associate Professor of Environmental and Development Economics, UC Santa Barbara

Anders Jensen Photo

Anders Jensen

Associate Professor of Public Policy

Asim Khwaja Photo

Asim Khwaja

Director, Center for International Development
Sumitomo-FASID Professor of International Finance and Development
Eliana La Ferrara Photo

Eliana La Ferrara

Professor of Public Policy

Robert Wilkinson Photo

Robert Wilkinson

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Leadership

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