Baker News October 2, 2018

Baker Roundup – September 2018

by the Baker Center team

Kitchen Table Launch, Negotiation Clinic, and Policy Innovation Workshop

The Baker Center kicked off the school year during the month of September with three interactive, diverse events oriented towards our mission to develop students’ leadership capacities and ability to hold different perspectives on critical issues.

A conversation on corporate philanthropy

We were delighted to have Jim Vella, President of Ford Motor Company Fund, join us on September 12 for dinner at Via Umbria as the kickoff of our Kitchen Table series. Joined by students from the McCourt School, McDonough School of Business, and School of Foreign Service, Jim led a conversation around corporate philanthropy and social responsibility. It was an engaging discussion on the responsibilities that companies have to their communities and the world. We strived to provide a candid, intimate environment that was emblematic of past dinner discussions. One student enjoyed the “the open and honest conversation,” further saying that “the atmosphere chosen also provided quiet and calm and I almost felt like I was in Jim Vella’s living room, lucky enough to pick on his brain for a few hours.”

Building negotiation skills

On September 21, we convened an interactive one-day clinic on negotiation strategies led by Rachel Milner Gillers. Our graduate student participants, coming from a range of degree programs, learned a
framework for negotiation analysis and honed their skills through a series of fast-paced exercises and multiparty negotiations. Students were put to work as they learned to negotiate through a variety of complex situations. One student appreciated the “the oil pricing exercise,” which for them was “a very useful tool for observing vastly different outcomes.”

Exploring the intersection of policy innovation and design

Wrapping up the month, on September 28, Liz Anderson led a policy innovation workshop that explored the intersection of policy innovation and design. Students learned about the key elements of user-centered design, including cultivating a beginner’s mindset and reframing problems, and applied them in an interactive team exercise that centered on policy solutions for issues of urban development in D.C.’s Wards 7 and 8. One student appreciated the opportunity to think about issues from a different perspective: “[I enjoyed] being asked to put myself in a user/stakeholder’s shoes and ideating based off that experience.” Another student said that they “thoroughly enjoyed the practical activities and exercises that allowed us to implement what we learned today and use it in real-life examples.”

Thank you to all of our student participants, guests, and event facilitators! We look forward to welcoming new and returning students for future programming over the course of the year.