LKY School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore
Mondays in MM-SR 2-2 from 2 to 5 pm
Office : OTH Level 3/Wing A
Tel. : 6516-7031
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
About the course
This course is about Innovation and Information and Communications Technology (ICT). This sector is important for two reasons. First, it is a tool and an equalizer since its use depends on human ingenuity. As a result, many impactful applications of ICT have emerged in developing countries. Countries such as the Philippines and India are influential players in this sector and while mobile payments emerged in the Philippines, they really took of in Africa. This is good news for developing countries. Secondly, the ‘technology’ part of ICT is almost becoming irrelevant and both governments and Internet companies are increasingly relying on ‘information’; governments to make policy decisions and companies to make money. This creates a new set of policy challenges relating to privacy and data protection. Both these areas are presently in a state of evolution and there differences across jurisdictions, which are likely to influence the evolution of industry and the ability of countries to rely on the ‘tech sector’ to build prosperity.
The course is divided into three parts. The first relates to network industries and two-sided markets (also known as platform mediated networks). Scale and value appropriation are the major challenges for innovators in networks. The complex nature of these industries poses a huge policy challenge both in terms of regulation and antitrust but also in terms of what actions governments can take to promote these industries.
The second part of the course is about ‘innovation in context’ or innovation in developing countries, some of which may be transferable to developed countries (reverse innovation). This part emphasizes the need for tailoring innovation. In other words, the game is no longer about diffusion of innovation from developed to developing countries; it is also not about imitation. Governments in developing countries can, by removing some basic barriers, have a huge influence on outcomes and the ability of firms to leverage gains for society.
The third part of the course is on information. It covers both private and public data as well as open innovation and crowdsourcing. Relying on information to create prosperity or to tailor the delivery of private and public services requires tackling the issues of privacy and data protection. The debate is currently under way and given differences in societal values, it is unlikely that there will be policy uniformity or standardization across countries. The bigger question is whether some societies are better positioned to take advantage of the ‘information’ age.
Students will learn the basic concepts of network industries and develop an appreciation of how the economics differs from traditional industries, as do the policy interventions. They will understand the role of ICT in the development process. They will become intelligent consumers of (and hopefully contributors to) regulatory policy as it relates to network industries and informed contributors to the debates about privacy and data protection in their respective countries. They will also have the opportunity to interact with invited speakers from the ICT industry.
Pre-requisite (or concurrently)
Introductory Economics course.
Individual class participation worth 50% and five very short written assignments worth 50% in total.
This course deals with a complex subject and is taught using the case method. The case method and the learning value of peer interaction and discussion require extensive advance preparation by participants for every class.
PRE-reading on case method
John S. Hammond “Learning by the Case Method” HBS 9-376-241
Most of the readings and all the cases can be downloaded from the HBSP course website. Further supplementary reading will be assigned (and provided) later. The course blog is: cloudpower.ws