Oct 21st 2015

Making Government Work in Hard Places (edX)

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Learn from people who have helped build better government in challenging settings around the globe, and develop your own ability to analyze and solve similar problems.

Around the globe, there are public servants and civic leaders who want to create a better future for their fellow citizens. The challenge is how to deliver—how to create new practices, build new institutions, implement new policies, and transform incentives to sustain transformation and achieve sustainability.

This course is about the “hows” of generating institutional change in hard places. Each week we focus on a different kind of challenge. You will read a case study, examine a problem in detail, help create a “solutions" toolkit, and then apply these insights to a second case.

The course introduces concepts and insights from applied political economy and the science of delivery. Topics include:

- Reducing delay, error, and diversion of funds in citizen services

- Using citizen monitoring and community-driven projects to improve services in rural areas

- Preventing conflicts of interest or self-dealing from blocking institutional reform; building trust and community and changing public expectations

- Overcoming capacity traps (what to do when brain drain, political turbulence, or other problems de-skill government)

- Facilitating coordination at the cabinet level

- Developing a strategy and the incentives to sustain change.

Drawn from actual experience around the world, each case starts with the problems a reform leader faced and traces the steps taken to address these. You will have a chance to assess the process and decide whether the solutions might work in your own context, as well as offer new proposals.

Through quizzes and open response assignments, you will be able to share ideas with others and practice what you have learned.