• British Council

Ideas for a Better World: Leading Change Through Policymaking

Learn about policymaking and leadership from experts and inspirational leaders, and create your own policy action plan.

45,334 enrolled on this course

blue swirl image for Ideas for a Better World course
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • Digital upgrade


Become a leader and start making a difference in the world through policymaking

Policy change can affect billions of lives. What if you could create policies to enhance societies, transform lives and change the impact we have on the world? On this course you will build knowledge and awareness about policymaking and leadership.

You will learn from global policy experts and hear innovative perspectives from policy leaders creating change all around the world. Listen to guest speakers from the United Nations, UK House of Lords, and The Elders, and learn to create your own policy action plan.


  • Week 1

    Transforming your passion into policy

    • How to make the most of the course

      In this section, you will find out more about the course, how we are going to learn together and how to maximise the resources available to you over the next four weeks.

    • Defining passion and purpose

      Passion provides part of the momentum we need to shape change - but to make sure this has the direction and sustainability we want, it must form part of a clear purpose. We will learn more about the link between the two here.

    • What is policy?

      Now we understand our passion and purpose, we need to discover a vehicle for change. We're going to look at policy - what it actually is and how it can perhaps provide you with the opportunity to create the change you are seeking.

    • My passion into a policy

      Some young leaders who have seen their policy visions grow into implemented policy share their experiences - and then we ask you to share with us what your policy vision could be in response to the change you are passionate about.

    • Summarising the week

      As we finish the first week of the course, let's take some time to consider what we have learned and reflect on key lessons.

  • Week 2

    Insight and evidence

    • Introduction to the week

      Find out what we are going to be looking at in the second week of the course, including how we build evidence to show our visions are worth engaging with and how we can navigate the challenges of working to create major change.

    • The principle of evidence-based policy

      In this part of the course, we look at the reasons for basing policy on evidence, the challenge of balancing ideology and objectivity and become familiar with some of the methodology behind evidence-based policymaking.

    • Policy in action

      In this section we will take a look at some examples of how policies have been created. We will explore both successful and unsuccessful examples to see what we can learn from both outcomes.

    • Evidence in policy

      Now that we have seen how important evidence and data is, we’re going to take a look at actually gathering data and the ways we approach it, getting to know a few terms and practices along the way.

    • Summarising the week

      Now we have reached the end of our second week, let's look at what we have covered.

  • Week 3

    Collaborating and influencing

    • Introduction to the week

      Get ready for our third week together as we learn about the difference between the theory and reality of policy development, and the ways in which we can build influence which leads to the success of our policy visions.

    • Policy in the real world

      Hearing from the experiences of others, we will look at some of the reality of policy development and begin to explore some tactics we can use to create impact.

    • Why me?

      As you try to influence change, a question that you will be asked by others (and by yourself) is "why you?" In this section we will briefly examine how we can consider this question and how to make sense of the answers.

    • What does everybody else want?

      As we lead change, we need to be aware of the needs of others that we are responding to. To do this we need to practise empathy, understand how we communicate and recognise how people are influenced.

    • Who has the power?

      In order to make changes, we need to understand how to recognise and navigate power. In this section we will hear some practical perspectives on how to work within the power systems we encounter.

    • Summarising the week

      Congratulations, we are approaching the end of Week Three. In this section, we will reflect on what we have learned and review some of the highlights from your discussions.

  • Week 4

    Creating your policy action plan

    • Introduction to Week Four

      In this final week we are going to transform your policy visions into concrete action plans. We will share some tools and approaches which you can use to create genuine and sustained impact.

    • How to create impact

      Having an idea to make a better world is only the beginning. The critical step is turning that idea into an action plan that can be felt in your community. In this section, we will look at how to achieve impact through policy.

    • Crafting your vision

      We started this course thinking about our passions and the changes we would like to make - now is the time to expand this into a clear vision which you can use to shape a successful action plan.

    • Planning action by action

      A successful action plan depends not just on a strong overview of what needs to be done, but an understanding of how each action helps you to implement your plan effectively. We will explore this in detail here in more depth.

    • Summarising the week

      As we finish 'Ideas for a Better World', let's look back at what we have done this week before we close the course.

    • Closing the programme

      Before we close the programme we are going to take a look back at the journey we have taken over the last four weeks, hear some final thoughts from global policy experts and make sure you are ready to take your next steps.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the passion which drives your ambition to shape policy change
  • Reflect on how your policy idea ties in to your wider purpose
  • Explore what policy is and how it can lead to change in wider society
  • Assess the importance of different types of evidence in creating policy
  • Identify who your stakeholders are and learn how to influence them effectively
  • Develop your confidence and skills around policy leadership
  • Design an action plan that will set your policy idea in motion

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at people who see themselves as future leaders in the field of policymaking.

Who will you learn with?

I'm the Head of Knowledge & Learning at the Møller Institute in Cambridge where we specialise in developing leaders who understand how they can make positive difference in the world.

Who developed the course?

British Council

The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.

We work on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2019-20 we connected with 80 million people directly and with 791 million people overall, including online and through our broadcasts and publications.

What's included?

British Council are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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