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Thinking Firms

Presented in collaboration with
Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School


Twenty-first century innovations have dramatically altered the context in which businesses operate. 99% of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years, with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data now being created every day. This explosive growth of data availability has brought with it increased competition, demand for concrete assessments of effectiveness, and a clear need for evidence-based decision-making.

To succeed in the changing environment, firms must rethink how they conduct business and build systems that effectively utilize rigorous data and evidence in strategic decision-making as well as daily operations.

Thinking Firms

CERP's flagship course, Thinking Firms is an intensive 2-day boot camp-style course that builds participants' ability to leverage data to make strategic decisions and use iterative design to rapidly test and hone their solutions. Designed and led by Harvard faculty, this course provides participants with the tools and skills necessary to solve their companies' most pressing problems, harness growth opportunities and change the socio-economic and industrial landscape of Pakistan. Cross-functional teams from companies working on live projects will receive hands-on project guidance from top tier teaching faculty, and will leave the course with final products ready for implementation.  

What Does This Course Offer?

Packing four days of content into a condensed 2-day schedule for the private sector, Thinking Firms offers an immersive and interactive experience for strategic management to learn how to effectively gather and use evidence to make strategic decisions and develop new products and processes. Using the agile Smart Program Design and Implementation (SPDI) framework developed at Harvard University, this course offers:

  • Cutting-edge pedagogical techniques for a unique learning experience incorporating blended learning and activity-based applied learning
  • The case method, pioneered at HKS and Harvard Business School, bringing in sophisticated theoretical concepts to the real world
  • High-touch mentorship from Harvard University faculty and teaching fellows
  • Key insights into data collection and rapid testing for decision making
  • Collaborative design thinking experiences, emphasizing the power of teams.

Teams will leave the course with their own SPDI Map that will lay out the entire design, implementation, evaluation and re-calibration strategy of their new product or process.

Who Should Attend?

Firms should nominate cross-functional teams of 3-5 participants who are leading an innovation that addresses a key challenge within their organization. These functional areas include (but not limited to):

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Human resources
  • Accounting and finance
  • Production
  • Product development and management
  • Business development
  • Research and development
  • Client service and customer support
  • Consumer insights

Pedagogical Techniques

Lectures and in-class case studies

In-class lectures highlighting key concepts will be delivered by Harvard faculty and business thought leaders. Case studies will provide insights into innovative practices and tactical solutions to pressing business challenges.

Group work

Group work sessions play an integral part of the Thinking Firms workshop. Utilizing the SDPI framework, cross functional teams will collaborate to effectively design new products and processes and refine solutions to their real challenges. Participants will work together under the close mentorship of faculty and teaching fellows to hone their proposals.

Groups will present their final product proposals on the last day of the course. Where applicable, teams will present to their company leadership, ensuring high level buy-in of their products.


Thinking Firms program will be led by Harvard University faculty at the forefront of agile design and new pedagogical techniques. Widely recognized as skilled educators and groundbreaking researchers, our faculty bring a wealth of knowledge on strategic thinking and innovation:


  1. Dr. Asim Ijaz Khwaja
  2. Dr. Teddy Svoronos
  3. Maroof A. Syed


Application Procedures

Applicants are required to fill out the application form by July 20th, 2018.

Logistics and fees

  1. CERP reserves the final right to select applicants
  2. Fee for the course is PKR 200,000 per participant
  3. If 3 or more participants from the same company join, the fee will be reduced to PKR 150,000 per participant.
Last modified on Friday, 27 July 2018 10:43