BSC 2020: The Year in Review

written by Salimah Samji

2020 was a challenging year. The Covid-19 pandemic and other crises highlighted the failures of governance and the large economic disparities that exist around the globe. The need to build public sector capability to meet these increasingly complex challenges has never been greater.

Our response to these challenges included convening and training policymakers, as well as practitioners, around critical issues of leading through crises, implementing public policies, inclusive growth, and budgeting in times of uncertainty. Drawing on BSC’s past experience running both online programs and blended learning programs, we put our knowhow into action and pivoted two executive education programs to online. We also provided our students opportunities to work on real-world problems as a way to help them build the muscle memory of solving complex problems.

Some highlights of 2020 include:

  • Trained and engaged with 875 practitioners around the globe (incl. degree programs, online executive education, and direct policy engagements with governments); 
  • Published 89 blog posts; 
  • Recorded 17 podcasts, including a new 4-part series on the 4P model of strategic leadership; and
  • Activated our HKS IPP community of practice.

Here’s a month by month playback of 2020.

January

BSC collaborated with the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative on their Cross-Boundary Collaboration Program, by developing three problem exploratory online modules as part of the pre-work to be completed by participants in advance of their training in New York City. 72 participants across 9 City teams completed these exercises. 

BSC Faculty Director Matt Andrews chaired the executive education program entitled, Public Financial Management (PFM) in a Changing World at the Harvard Kennedy School. 36 PFM practitioners participated in this program.

Matt Andrews and Salimah Samji, co-taught the class entitled, PDIA in Action: Development through Facilitated Emergence at the Harvard Kennedy School. This year we invited alumni of our IPP Executive Education program to nominate real-world problems that the students could work on. You can read more about what student’s learned about dealing with uncertainty, the bias towards finding solutions, the importance of different perspectives, iteration, and team-work.

Class photo taken after final presentations in March 2020.

The process of implementing public policies and solving complex development problems requires working in teams. We released a podcast on building effective teams recorded by BSC Faculty Associate, Professor Monica Higgins, Kathleen McCartney Professor of Education Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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