What you'll learn

  • Plan and Control (Programmed Implementation) – effective when there are low levels of uncertainty and little new learning is needed.

  • Adaptive Management (Agile or Design Thinking) – appropriate when the general direction of the policy is known, but more specifics about the policy product or context is needed.

  • Facilitated Emergence (Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation) – a “learn while you go” strategy used when there are high levels of uncertainty about political support, context and available resources, and a lot of learning is required in the implementation process.


Course description

This program follows a blended learning format offering a combination of both online and in-person learning, as well as applied action learning—where new ideas are applied to daily implementation challenges. The program will be delivered over a period of seven months and will include four components.

Course Outline

One Month Online: Complete an online component allowing you to reflect on your implementation challenge and consider several issues, such as: are your stakeholders in favor of this change? How will politics affect it? What is your budget?

One-Week On Campus: At Harvard, you are immersed in an interactive environment with faculty and practitioners to discuss your respective challenges and explore different implementation methods that help achieve your policy goals.

Five-Months Action Learning: Once you return to your organization, you will continue to work on your implementation challenge using the tools and tactics you learned at Harvard. 

You will continue to engage with faculty and fellow participants in an online moderated environment, sharing your experiences, learning, challenges, and breakthroughs.

Community of Practice: Upon completing the program, you will become part of Harvard Kennedy School’s Implementing Public Policy Community of Practice. 

This is a productive network of professionals committed to improving public policy implementation around the world. This network of professionals is a vibrant source of global knowledge on public policy implementation and continues to grow.


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