Examining public administration and budget in Peru

Guest blog by Nohelia Navarrete Flores

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.

There is a phrase that reads “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. After 10 years of managing Public Health projects, I had realized that it was more than just a phrase; it was a fact, and I started reflecting on how to make that weak link stronger.
I first thought of joining the Implementing Public Policy course to complement what I had learnt in Leading Economic Growth. I was looking forward to experiencing a longer and adaptive process to help me developing the policy challenge I had identified in the previous course.

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Lacking access to mortgage credit for family housing in Argentina

Guest blog by Pablo Curat

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.

  1. What were your expectations of IPP Online when you signed up?

I am an economist and for 30 years I have worked in the regulation and supervision of financial, microfinance and fintech entities and in design and implementation of development policies related to access to financing for small and micro-enterprises, agricultural producers, etc. Either as part of the public sector (I was Director of the Central Bank in Argentina) or collaborating as a private consultant.
I had always done it my way, without a specific methodology, contributing my professional capacity and trying to adapt to the different contexts and political and economic priorities and interacting proactively with actors from the public and private sectors.
The need for more tools attracted me from the first moment to enroll in the IPP course 1) By the name itself, it was certainly not a theoretical but a practical course, focused on implementation, excellent news…. 2) However, I had a great uncertainty: the cultural, social, economic and political contexts in the countries are so varied. How can you offer an IPP course that is useful to practitioners around the world? Is it the same to implement public policy in the USA as Argentina or Ethiopia? So I thought there were only two alternatives: the IPP-HKS course was a success or it would be one more academic course, perhaps full of generalities.
My expectations were to incorporate knowledge, methodologies and experiences that would allow me to be more effective and efficient in my work as a policymaker or as an external consultant.

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Addressing Atoyac river pollution in Mexico

Guest blog by Santiago Creuheras

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.

When I signed up for this course I was eager to learn from Matt Andrews and his team about implementing public policies. I was hoping to meet a group of high caliber students from all over the world willing to share their experiences. My expectations were high, and I am extremely pleased with this course’s outcome and results. The personal, professional, and academic quality of my virtual classmates was unique and impressive. Their experiences have built on my own. I am thankful for their support to redefine my challenge. Peer group exchanges have been one of the highlights of the program. Having an informal team of supporters and performing regular check-ins with each other has been very useful. It has kept us motivated and might be something we should continue doing going forward.

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Adventures in Public Policy Implementation: Confronting a Hero Complex in the Quest for the One True Goal

(aka The One with the Giant Marshmallow Monster)

Guest blog by Mario Ivan Martija

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.

“Select a policy you would like to implement in the next six months” said the IPP program’s instructions. Easy. Having previously led programs that benefited a few Baja California’s industries, choosing another program for a successful short-term implementation would be a walk in the park, especially that now I would have the added-value and glamour attached to a Harvard methodology.

Or so I arrogantly thought.

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Using PDIA approach for sustainable and integrated health system strengthening in Nigeria

Guest blog by Aisha Allamin Daggash

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.

My expectations for the IPP Online Program when I signed up was to gain insight into strategies and frameworks that will support my work in getting government to be more effective and efficient in implementing innovative, integrated and sustainable solutions for health systems strengthening in Nigeria. However, this course has exceeded my expectations in combining leadership management and the PDIA, which has equipped me with the right resources, knowledge and skills to build the teams and networks required to succeed in the work that I do.

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Promoting design for global business in Brazil

Guest blog by Isabel Tarrisse da Fontoura

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.

“The flow of life envelopes everything. That’s life: it heats up and cools down, it tightens and then loosens up, it becomes calm and then unrests. What it wants from us is courage”.

João Guimaraes Rosa

1. An act of courage

The Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) program Implementing Public Policy (IPP) is an act of courage. It is so from the day you decide to commit to six months of action learning in the middle of a global pandemic to, today, as we end this journey with 142 peers from 47 countries and the HKS team, and we’re moving ahead working on pressing challenges we care too much about to let go.

The good part is that every ending is a new beginning.

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Public space usage in Bratislava

Guest blog by Lenka Galetova

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.

My journey in the Implementing Public Policy course has been full of changes, surprises and overcoming expectations. In the beginning, there was a nice announcement of by my chief – the mayor of the city of Bratislava, that he selected me as the member of his team to take part in this exciting online course led by Harvard teachers. I felt his high expectations and I imagined that by the end of the course there will be some great innovative fancy policy product which I will create with the help of the course. I was focused on the output of it.

Throughout the course I found that it is the process and a way of thinking which I am going to learn and get familiar with. And it was even better than I had imagined. Some of the learned elements could seem obvious to you – that you should think of your feelings, points of view and the feelings and points of view of your team members and colleagues. But frankly – how often do we really take into account all these “obvious” important elements? And how often we do neglect the stance of our colleagues in order to assure that the delivery of the solution will be swift, quick and straightforward. Or even more common fault – how often do we tend to start the project and deal with the policy challenge with the ready solutions for the problem? Have you ever considered that even your perception of the problem itself could be not the best one or could be even incorrect?

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Using a problem-driven approach in Ethiopia

Guest blog by Abdu Nuru

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Leading Economic Growth Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. 61 Participants successfully completed this 10-week online course in December 2021. These are their learning journey stories.

It was my director in my department who sent the email to us briefing us about the program. It specifically addressed those who were in a more senior leadership level as it would be more important. I read the whole email and I knew it wasn’t meant for me because it said case team leaders and blah blah blah. And I thought who said that? The last thing I could get is rejection and if I am accepted, it would be a great experience. I applied and I was admitted.

That was my journey to the first formal online program, and it ended up being a very important course especially to people who work in a similar sector to me. From defining a regional or national growth problem to devising a high level and inclusive strategy, Leading Economic Growth offered miraculous insights and approaches on how to solve complex problems.

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Using PDIA to Improve Public Education in Brazil

written by Salimah Samji

São Luis, Maranhão, Brazil – December 2021

In August 2021, we began an engagement with Instituto Sonho Grande (ISG) in Brazil to build the capability of public servants working in secretariats of education in the states of Maranhão and Paraíba.  

In this virtual action learning program, 60 public servants working across 11 teams, learned how to use PDIA to solve locally nominated problems, through action-oriented work.

The teams in Maranhão worked on the following problems:

  • Low learning in Mathematics
  • High teacher turnover
  • School dropouts
  • Age-grade distortion
  • School feeding programs

The teams in Paraíba worked on the following problems:

  • Low learning in Portuguese and Mathematics
  • Vacancies for Teachers and Technicians
  • Data for strategic decision making
  • School infrastructure
  • Clarity of roles and responsibilities
  • Budget execution
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Alleviating homelessness in Toronto

Guest blog by Rob Graham

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.

My public policy implementation challenge is the alleviation of homelessness in Toronto. The problem is getting worse as evidenced by the increasing number of homeless, the frequency and severity of their comorbidities and the increasing demand for shelter services like housing support, mental health, addictions, other medical needs, clothing, beds for the night and battling food insecurity.

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