Inclusion of youth in public and private decision-making bodies in France

Guest blog written by Fadila Leturcq

Le savoir est une arme” (“Knowledge is a weapon” in English) is a recurring punchline in French rap lyrics and one that resonates with me when I take the time to reflect on my journey through the IPP program. “Le savoir est une arme ” suggests that learning, acquiring knowledge or making discoveries, is the prerequisite for winning battles, progressing and advancing. This is what the IPP program encourages us to do through a method that is well-constructed and inspiring for many of the challenges we face as professionals or public policy actors.

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Diversifying the ICT market in Brazil

Guest blog by Marcia Matsubayashi

If I could summarize this course experience in one word it is “inspiring”. I am sure all my colleagues who attended this course were inspired by the faculty to mobilize for action, since we feel more empowered (and knowledgeable) to make the impact in our societies.

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Leading Economic Growth: Adapting the Wyoming Energy Industry

Guest blog by Kaeci Daniels

What are some key ideas/learnings that you will take away from this course?

  • 1804 as a communication tool – The 1804 example was a good analogy to get people to understand that the problem is hard to understand. Using this example as a communication tool may be a great way to get buy-in and resources for the growth strategy team.
  • Fishbone Diagram – The fishbone diagram to is a great tool to find entry points on complex problems. Crafting the right team to develop the fishbone diagram is essential for fully grasping the growth problem and its sub-problems.
  • PDIA and SLDC – PDIA is nimble for finding and testing solutions when the problem is not well understood. SLDC can be beneficial when a problem is well defined, as shown in the Singapore example.
  • Inclusion over redistribution – This was significant. Redistribution of resources does not necessarily enable growth and it may even create disincentives for production. If government is to use public funds to promote growth, it should be done in a way that captures people outside of accessible markets and creates opportunity for new markets to emerge or be engaged. A focus on inclusion can mean the difference in a long-term widespread growth policy versus short-term accommodations.
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Youth unemployment in South Africa

Guest blog by Denver Moses

The past 10 weeks participating in the LEG have signaled a period of personal and professional growth. Being part of a global online learning environment was a massive shift from my previous learning experiences which were almost entirely based on face-to-face teaching and group learning exercises. I have engaged in studies with professionals from the African continent, but this was my first exposure to such a diverse student population. Orientation to this approach took a few weeks but being part of a smaller peer learning group assisted greatly with the immersion into the course’s content and participatory dynamics.

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Managing Public Finances for the Future

Written by Matt Andrews

I have been part of a creative team teaching an executive course on public finance for over a decade. This team has spent lots of time discussing the changes we have all experienced in the world in recent decades, and what the main objectives of public finance might be now—in what is an ever-changing world.

Out of this discussion, I propose what I call the Pillars of Public Finance Performance in Our Changing World—the objectives we should be paying attention to when determining how well our public finance systems are working:

  1. How does the system impact equity?
  2. How does it foster fiscal sustainability?
  3. What about the way our public finances impact environmental sustainability?
  4. Do we have a high level of effectiveness in the system?
  5. Do we foster inclusion in the processes and products of our public finance system?
  6. How is our public finance system impacting innovation and growth?
  7. You add yours…
  8. Does our system promote accountability, of politicians to citizens, and bureaucrats to politicians and citizens, and current citizens to each other and future generations?
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Resiliency and sustainability: Key Takeaways from LEG2020

Guest blog by Mathias McCauley

What are some key ideas/learnings that you will take away from this course?

The initial lectures on the “product space” and “PDIA” were fascinating and valuable to me.  Additionally, because of the nature of my organization and the state the region is located in (Michigan), I now believe that the most likely entry point for positive change is located within “acceptance” and “ability,” not “authority.” Beginning with acceptance, my organization and I must (and will) continue framing the issue as critical to the long-term prosperity and health of the region.

Data shows that rural regions like mine are susceptible to the continued decline of wealth without greater integration of a knowledge-based economy, industry diversification, younger workforce, and higher educational attainment. Policymaker and private industry leadership “acceptance” of this will be dependent on the sharing and belief of such information. Then, “ability” can be achieved by creating “acceptance coalitions” of public and private sector institutions that can affect positive change through organizational strategy and policy.

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Nine lessons from LEG 2020: Economic diversification of Gabon

Guest blog by Milaine Rossanaly

This course has benefited me tremendously. My background is in business administration so I intuitively understood concepts of growth, productivity, inclusion, binding constraints and others, but this course allowed me to understand them much better. I have a long list of take-aways from this course that I will apply in the future, but perhaps a few highlights are the following:

  1. It is critical to thoroughly diagnose the problem, identify true binding constraints (and not constraints in general) through a systematic analysis and determine entry points. I really like the use of a fishbone diagram to display these causes in a ‘deconstruction’ of the problem.
  2. I enjoyed learning about “high bandwidth organizations”, particularly the case of Costa Rica.
  3. I learnt about the action-learning oriented iterative approach to pursuing a growth strategy, particularly the example of Sri Lanka, which allows an incremental step-by-step approach aiming to invest in building blocks to build legitimacy and political buy-in as we move forward, while drawing lessons at every stage and showing results.
  4. I understood new concepts like latent practices, positive deviance, gap analysis, complex vs complicated problems and the Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA)
  5. I learnt so much from the Korea and Singapore success stories, about the importance and role of leadership and multi-agent leadership structures.
  6. The role of technology in development and the role of knowhow as the slowest form of technology to transfer between individuals, firms, and societies as the limiting factor on economic growth.
  7. I learnt new sources of data such as the wonderful Atlas of economic indicators.
  8. I learnt new ways to measure success in growth strategies, the importance of inclusion+growth indicators in the post-Covid ear that focus on reorganizing the economy to promote productive relationships, good jobs and more.
  9. A few quotes that I particularly liked: “Society knows more, not because individuals know more, but because individuals know different”, “Copying best practice helps you play, but it does not help you compete. Creating gives you the competitive edge.”

I better understood my growth challenge throughout the course of 10 weeks. I deconstructed the problem piece by piece, looked for alternative solutions, identified new actors and agents to involve in the solution, found new data to support the challenge and measure what success would look like and think about an inclusive growth strategy in the post-covid era that focuses on the development of the local economy and strengthening of business services to create employment and generate positive spillovers for the population. 

My economic growth challenge was centered on economic diversification in Gabon during this course, but I was recently informed of an upcoming lateral move on July 1 when I will start working on Ethiopia. I will revisit this course and the materials to analyze the growth story of Ethiopia to prepare for my transition. I am really looking forward to it. Thank you.

The course was excellent, professors were incredible, the material was great and very helpful. I wish it was longer!

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Leading Economic Growth Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. 65 Participants successfully completed this 10-week online course in May 2021. These are their learning journey stories.

To learn more about Leading Economic Growth (LEG) watch the faculty video, and visit the course website.

Panama Embassy official writes about promoting US-Panama trade ties

Guest blog by Franklin Morales, Head of Commercial and Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Panama in the United States.

A few years ago, I became a diplomat of my country in the United States.  Over time, I gained more responsibility until I became the Head of the Commercial and Economic Section. I am responsible for investment promotion and building partnerships with the American private sector. Although I had previous experience in partnership building, I realized I needed additional tools to tackle some of the policy challenges I was facing.  I wanted to affect change and create public value, but I was uncertain about how to proceed.

Over the last 20 years, Panama has been a success story in terms of economic growth. The country attracted over 150 multinational headquarters, and its income per capita almost tripled in the same period. Although Panama made significant progress in reducing inequality while growing, distribution of income and opportunities remains a challenge in the eyes of most of its citizens and leaders.  Furthermore, growth in the last few years has stagnated, bringing a heightened risk of social dissatisfaction. The same risk that has affected other countries in the region. That is why Panama’s leaders want to promote growth through different avenues.  Two of those strategies include the Digital Hub Strategy and the Advanced Manufacturing Strategy. Both seek to diversify Panama’s exports to advanced sectors. Although these are not the only efforts in place, they are the ones that relate most to my job.  

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“Knowledge can be global, but solutions must be local” lessons from my conversation with Dzingai Mutumbuka

Written by Marla Spivack

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to sit down for an in-depth conversation with Dr. Dzingai Mutumbuka, the first Minister of education of Zimbabwe after its independence, a global education leader and (to our great fortune) the chair of the RISE Delivery Board. 

I had already been fortunate enough to benefit from Dr. Mutumbuka’s insights on the global education architecture, through conversations he’d led with the Board. I also knew his thoughts on the most pressing challenge facing education systems today: the prolonged school closures due to COVID-19 and the risks they posed to further exacerbate the learning crisis. But this was the first time I had a chance to ask Dr. Mutumbuka about his experience as an education leader. Our conversation, which was recorded and is available as the first episode in RISE’s new podcast, touched on a range of issues education leaders face: navigating complex political challenges; setting and sticking to clear priorities; building effective, equal partnerships with donors; and leveraging global knowledge to develop local solutions. 

Negotiating complicated politics

We started our conversation with Dr. Mutumbuka’s reflections on leading the new ministry  of education in the newly independent, post conflict Zimbabwe. Black parents, whose children had been excluded from quality education for decades under the apartheid government demanded a swift move towards equity, integration, and inclusion, but at the same time white parents feared that integration would erode the quality of the children’s education. 

Dr. Mutumbuka knew that negotiating these complicated issues would require consultation and coalition building. He started his tenure by meeting with all relevant stakeholders, white parents, black parents, teachers, trade groups, industrial groups. 

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Learning about Economic Growth in Angola

Guest blog written by  Noelma Viegas D’Abreu 

I: Key Ideas and Learning

LEG helped me demystify something very important: Economy is not only a science of accounting, finance, taxes and interest. Over the years, I was curious about economic theories and some approaches, reading and studying phenomena of leadership, change, growth, politics and development in some countries. I tried to find out why, as some countries did long jumps and others were or are stuck in the middle of their own problems and poverty, for years. 

Not to mention the fact that more inclusive, democratic , with best governance, ethics and better education systems, countries are in a better “shape”, with prosperous economies, than others. 

For this reason, I enrolled this course, with my country in mind and the great discrepancy between the wealth of natural resources and the poverty of the people, above all, poverty of primary goods, basic needs, essentials to life, and also lack of knowledge, education, and culture in the broadest sense. 

At the beginning of the course, I feared that the challenge would supplant my area of knowledge – clinical psychology and management – but I was positively surprised by the approach, because during the 10 weeks Professors showed me how economics is really a social science, valuing the right people, in the right places, complex relationships and the importance of connectivity between people, valuing knowledge as the essence for economic growth

In other words, this course, opened for me a world of opportunity to get different perspectives, learning deep insights, to know how and where to research and connect all “letters”, meaningful knowledge to make better decisions, identifying problems, knowing who should be envolved, framework, remove obstacles, implement programs and plans and make it all work. 

I learnt a broad range of theories, mainly the importance of “productive knowledge”, the analogy or Theory of Scrabble that articulates so well, the valuable understanding that production (both private and public goods) requires many “letters” provided by the markets (consonants) and also needs “letters” provided by the state (vowels), and to write “long letters”, e.g. how important it is to articulate and connect letters so we can evolve to develop economies, as presented by Professor Ricardo Hausmann. 

This makes clear how important is the interdisciplinarity approach, to understand problems and how can we find ways to remove biding constraints. 

I also understand now that some problems are complementary and not necessarily binding, and what we need to understand is how to use problems driven approaches, problem driven sequences and take into consideration authority, acceptance, and ability. 

II: My Progress and Insights

Professor Matt Andrews was very effective in helping me understand how important is Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) as an approach which rests on core principles: local solutions for local Problems (not copy paste of others; pushing problem Driven positive deviance (learn from what we have already achieved trying to get better); try, learn, Iterate, Adapt; and scale through diffusion. That is so usefull, not only for public management or decisions but also for private sector and even for some moments and important decisions in life. 

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