Project Selection Criteria

Variety

We seek to have projects from the widest possible range of sectors and types of institutions each semester. Examples of different types of sectors and institutions we would like to work include:

  • Environmental
  • Health care
  • Sports and entertainment
  • Governance (corporate and state)
  • Labor and employment
  • Family
  • Community relations
  • Energy
  • Media Institutions
  • Government body (federal, state, local and foreign)
  • Community and church organizations
  • Corporations
  • NGOs/ non-profits
  • Organizations with an educational mission
  • Ombuds offices/ ADR program

Location

We want to provide a mix of local, national and international projects each semester. We strive to have:

  • At least one but not more than two international projects each semester
  • At least one local project
  • At least one domestic project outside of Massachusetts

Responsiveness, Helpfulness and Engagement of Clients

We aim to work with clients who:

  • Are responsive to both faculty and students
  • Demonstrate a willingness to work with us to refine a proposal
  • Are enthusiastic and engaged in the project
  • Can secure the cooperation and buy-in of key stakeholders
  • Have client contacts situated appropriately in the organization to deliver what is promised
  • Have a basic understanding of our theory
  • Have excellent English language capability
  • Have a clear idea of what deliverable they want
  • Are not looking for a pre-determined outcome, or Harvard “seal of approval”

In addition, we favor clients who:

  • Can provide resources, research assistance and funding for the projects, including funding for student travel

Complexity of Projects

We aim to select projects which are complex enough for students to have a meaningful experience, but capable of being done by 2-3 students in the time frame of a 3-month semester, or in exceptional cases, over a semester plus January term. In this regard, the following should be considered:

  • Limited number of stakeholders involved
  • Narrow geographic dispersion of key stakeholders
  • Reasonable level of emotional volatility likely to be encountered
  • Low level of familiarity required with technical details
  • Suitability for the semester timeframe
  • Reasonable number of substantive deliverables ( e.g., giving presentations, convening and facilitating meetings)
  • Substantial amount of interpersonal interaction
  • Decent variety of DSD, negotiation, mediation or other dispute resolution skills employed in the project
  • Minimum of administrative, logistical or clerical type work required