Guest blog written by Cesar A. Mba Abogo
I signed up for the Implementing Public Policy (IPP) course after having completed Leading Economic Growth (LEG), where my understanding of the economic growth challenges facing my country, Equatorial Guinea, had been literally reset. Attending LEG was a bit of cathartic therapy for me, as I had been Minister of Finance, Economy and Planning in a particularly exceptional period. From April 2019 to October 2020, Equatorial Guinea had closed a bailout programme with the IMF and launched a wide-ranging catalogue of macro-fiscal stabilisation and governance improvement measures. In the midst of these far-reaching reforms, COVID19 had emerged as an existential challenge for which humanity was ill-prepared. LEG helped me to sharpen my understanding of economic complexity, to re-examine my tenure as head of my country’s Ministry of Finance, and to understand a notion that now seems like a no-brainer: the change space, this chessboard where reformers struggle between what is feasible in the local ecosystem versus the legitimacy required by external demands.
Throughout LEG, the growth challenge I focused on was the low productivity of the non-oil sector as an obstacle to inclusive growth. The narrative and available data led me to the thesis that this low productivity was an unintended consequence of Equatorial Guinea’s over dependence on the oil sector for more than two decades. I came to a somewhat stark but hopeful conclusion: Equatorial Guinea was crossing a bridge under turbulent waters on a journey into the unknown that required an adaptive strategy that generates knowledge and facilitates evidence-based, sequential and iterative decision-making.
Continue reading Constraints faced by MSMEs hindering economic growth in Equatorial Guinea
Guest blog by Osman Haruna Tweneboah
I was actually excited to start the Implementing Public Policy (IPP) program at Harvard Kennedy School not only because of the brand name of the School, the popularity and the international respect accorded to the School, but I was also looking for a solution to my policy challenge. My policy challenge revolves around, “the creation of jobs through entrepreneurial development for the youth”. The IPP programme actually provided me with the tools not only overcoming the problem but also learning. Upon commencement of the programme, I thought I was going to learn through the usual theoretical way, little did I know and believe that the course was very practical and interesting, though rigorous and time consuming.
Continue reading Creation of jobs for youth through entrepreneurial development in Ghana
Guest blog by Namig Naghdaliyev
One of the common age-old questions we are thinking about is a positional competition between theory and practice. This question is of utmost importance and common in economic policymaking and implementation.
Before taking this course, I was familiar with the Harvard Kennedy School’s advancing role in building threshold points, not only theory but also practice. This course assured me and made me more than confident that HKS is one of the main engines of adding global public policy values.
Continue reading Economic growth transformation in Azerbaijan using real world examples
Guest blog by Raphaël Kenigsberg
Integrate the Millennial generation into strategic decision-making and implementation
During the Covid-19 crazy crisis, I had a dream, shared by many: what would the world look like after this unexpected pandemic? Our landmarks were missing, and adaptation became key. With the support of hundred engaged members of the think tank I am running, we designed a set of 32 ambitions imagining youth expectations for a better future. For two months, during the first general lockdown, daily and after work, we decided to gather and organize ideas with the hope of being heard by policymakers. We designed a 150-page report in French and in English. The main goal of this report was to convince policymakers that youth should be included into designing and implementing public policies. We organized an influence communication directed towards the French President, all members of government, National Assembly, Senate, embassies, European Commission and Parliament, international organizations, and media.
Continue reading An unexpected journey: ‘One fish in your hand is worth more than two in the river’
Guest blog by Levan Karalashvili
That was a great course. A lot of countries are facing major policy challenges due to COVID19 and there is especially high uncertainty on post-covid era. The world simply will be different and any policy-maker needs to be equipped with the best possible tools and be able to efficiently analyze complex problems, which will require unorthodox strategies to develop and implement, with goal to accelerate process of recovery.
I found the provided materials and course dynamics very interesting, widening the understanding of complex problem handling, learning the PDIA approach in action, and sharpening problem understanding and solution development strategies.
Continue reading Examining the secondary education system in Georgia
Guest blog by Pat Jacquez-Nares
This was a journey that I was not prepared for, but I enjoyed the ride. I was given the opportunity from the mayor of the city that I work for, he also is my boss, to take this course, and I did not know what to expect. I was very thankful that he considered me and gave me the opportunity to attend this course. The course was very good and very useful in my daily interactions at work and at home. The key learnings that I will take from this course are the PDIA tools to help solve my problems. The need to identify the problem, then break down the problem, identify where the problems lie, find the solutions to these problems, fix these problems, then reflect on the outcome and keep doing it until the entire problem is solved. The mayor also gave me the problem he wanted me to solve with this training course. The boards and commissions vacancies and the retention of the existing members. This also entailed the youth council for the city I work for.
Continue reading Appointing advisory board, youth council, and commission member vacancies in U.S. local government
Guest blog by Alex Fernandez
Now that we have these pandemic times, at the beginning of this year I decided to continue my studies by studying something totally different from my professional and educational background, a program called Implementing Public Policies at Harvard Kennedy School.
The reason of this decision was to understand how public servants live the challenge of implementing a public policy, the barriers, obstacles, bad things, and good things.
In my current role, I need to connect with the public sector to implement social impact activities in some moments. Some of those practices end in community initiatives with the back up of the local government.
What better way to understand my ally than taking a course full of policymakers and discussing the challenges and best ways to implement public policy?
Continue reading A learning year out of the comfort zone
Guest blog by Nohelia Navarrete Flores
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.
Continue reading Examining public administration and budget in Peru
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.
Guest blog by Pablo Curat
- 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.
Continue reading Lacking access to mortgage credit for family housing in Argentina
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.
Guest blog by Santiago Creuheras
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.
Continue reading Addressing Atoyac river pollution in Mexico