Featured Courses

Power and Influence for Positive Impact

August and October 2022

Professor Julie Battilana

Power and Influence for Positive Impact is a field guide for individuals at any stage of their career to understand how power really works and develop their own power to gain influence and make an impact—within professional relationships, organizations, or more broadly in society. This course explores the fundamentals of power and the importance of relationships and networks as a source of power for all. Participants will learn how to read power dynamics in organizations and society, influence others, lead change, avoid the pitfalls of power, and hold the powerful accountable.

MLD-617M: Effective Implementation: Learning from Effective Implementers

Term: Spring 2022

Professors Brittany Butler and Francis Hartmann

Producing tangible and measurable results is an important part of work in the public sector. Yet there are many more good ideas about producing results than there are good ideas implemented. This happens for many reasons, among them that no one really stayed with the idea to “make it happen.” This course consists of a case-informed conversation about traits of persons who have been demonstrably effective at translating ideas into action. The objective of the course is to have each of us become more effective in the public service and public policy arena. Each class will address at least one trait that seems to be related to effective implementation, for example: success (knowing what it is); relentlessness (sustained attention); collaboration and bringing out the best in others; setbacks, defeats, and failure; fear, courage, and confidence; help (when does one need it, and what does it look like?); and resilience.

Cross registration is by permission of the instructor only. You must email Prof. Hartmann at frank_hartmann@harvard.edu to request permission.

MLD-831: Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Private and Social Sectors (Business Plan Workshop)

Term: Spring 2022

Professor Richard Cavanagh

In this seminar/workshop students apply the theory of entrepreneurial management in the private and social sectors by creating business plans and presentations for new social enterprises. Through case studies of entrepreneurial ventures and readings, students learn about practical innovation, market research, talent acquisition, intellectual property and financing alternatives.  In particular this spring seminar is designed for students who are prepared to (1) create a business plan for a social venture, or (2) perfect one they have already developed.  Student-created ventures may be in the private or social (not-for-profit) sector, or cross-sectoral joint or hybrid ventures. Students are expected to hone their business plans with an eye towards pitching to funders or strategic partners.

MLD-620M: The Data Smart City: Driving Innovation with Technology

Term: Spring 2 2022

Professor Stephen Goldsmith

The UN estimates that two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050. As more and more residents flock to cities around the world, public leaders will need innovation in order to improve performance and increase responsiveness to changing material and social conditions. The innovations can include changes in existing processes for delivering public goods and services, or for the introduction of new products and services, or for mobilizing and deploying resources to deal with public problems.

This course seeks to equip students who wish to be innovators with the knowledge and skills necessary to imagine and implement innovative solutions to public problems. It will focus on driving innovative change through the application of new technologies including data analytics, social media and the internet of things.  We will look at how cities can become innovative jurisdictions that unleash their potential for public value creation?

MLD-340M: The Fundamentals of Power in Relationships, Organizations, and Society

Next date to be announced soon

Professor Julie Battilana

This course aims to change the way you see and understand power. Power is one of the most misunderstood—and therefore vilified—concepts in our society. Many assume power is predetermined by personality or wealth, or that it’s gained by strong-arming others. Many write it off as “dirty” and want nothing to do with it. Our misconceptions about power, what it is and where it comes from have devasting consequences for all of us individually and collectively. Individually, these misconceptions are frustrating, because they prevent people from having the impact that they wish to have in their life, at work, in their community, and in society. Collectively, they make us less likely to identify, prevent, or stop power abuses that threaten our freedoms and well-being. 

This course is meant to debunk the fallacies that we have in mind about power and to explore the fundamentals of power in interpersonal relationships, in organizations, and in society. In doing so, it will lift the veil on power, revealing to you what it is, and how it works, and unleashing your potential to build and use power to effect change at home, at work, and in society.

Designed for individuals at any stage of their career, this course is about getting things done in the real world, where politics and personalities often seem to hinder rather than help you. It is meant for those of you who want to make things happen, despite the obstacles that might stand in your way. It will also prepare you to use power responsibly, resist its corruptive perils, and exercise it to make the world a better place. As such, it will equip you to leverage power and influence not for personal gain, but to challenge the status quo to address some of the most pressing social and environmental problems of our time, from fighting racism to reducing economic inequalities, saving the planet, and protecting democracy.

The course presents conceptual models, tactical approaches, and assessment tools to help you develop your own influence style and understand political dynamics as they unfold around you. Through a mix of traditional case studies, biographical case studies, exercises, videos, articles, frameworks, and self-assessments, you will evaluate your own bases of power and your own influence style. Exposure to the development and use of power in many different social sectors and in various points in history will allow you to undertake a comprehensive analysis of power in action.

By focusing on specific expressions of power and influence, this course will give you the opportunity to observe the effective—and ineffective—uses of power in different contexts and stages of a person’s career. The subject matter will challenge you to define for yourself what will constitute the ethical exercise of power and influence in your life. You will leave this class with the ability to map power within and across organizations, to shift power dynamics, and to better articulate and persuade others of your vision of change, thus becoming more effective leaders and change makers.