Taught by Paul Brest
GSB graduates will play important roles in solving many of today’s and tomorrow’s major societal problems—such as improving educational and health outcomes, conserving energy, and reducing global poverty—that call for actions by nonprofit, business, and hybrid organizations as well as governments.
This course teaches skills and bodies of knowledge relevant to these roles through problems and case studies drawn from nonprofit organizations, for-profit social enterprises, and governments. Topics include multi-attribute decision making; decision making under risk; psychological biases that adversely affect people’s decisions; methods for influencing individuals’ and organizations’ behavior, ranging from incentives and penalties to “nudges;” designing, implementing, scaling, and evaluating social strategies; systems thinking; and novel financing mechanisms like impact investments and social impact bonds. Students who have encountered some of these topics in other courses are likely to gain new perspectives and encounter new challenges in applying them to solving social problems.