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About Skills Lab

When asked about the capacities that matter most for new hires, employers put “foundational” skills like teamwork, leadership and decision-making ahead of “hard” technical skills. While there is enormous interest in foundational skills, we know relatively little about how to measure them, whether they can be effectively taught, or whether they transfer across jobs and social contexts.

The Harvard Skills Lab creates new, performance-based, scalable measurement methods for foundational skills. We contribute to the basic science of human potential by defining and measuring concepts like teamwork, leadership and decision-making skills within experimental frameworks. Our initial work has focused on a methodology for identifying “team players”, people who make extraordinary individual contributions to group performance. We have ongoing experiments measuring leadership and decision-making skills, as well as work trying to understand how diversity affects team contributions.

The Lab is part of the Harvard Kennedy School. We're funded by a grant from Schmidt Futures and the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.

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