IGA-523: Innovation for Global Development

Semester: Fall

Credit: 4.0

Syllabus: Click here for syllabus

Faculty: Calestous Juma


Day Time Location
Term Start Date 8/30
Meet Day T/Th 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM Littauer Bldg 332 (HKS)


Global development is increasingly being understood as a result of the interplay between technical innovation and institutional change. The interplay involves the generation and application of new knowledge in economic development. These interactions occur in the context of continuously evolving systems of innovation at regional, national, and international levels. This view is a significant departure from traditional economic approaches that treated technological change as an exogenous factor in economic transformation. The aim of this course is to analyze the historical and theoretical underpinnings of innovation systems, provide examples of how those systems functions, and outline the policy implications of adopting a systems approach to economic change. The course is offered in three units. The first unit covers the historical origins and theories of innovation systems from a public policy perspective. The second unit involves learning from contemporary case studies of innovation systems at the regional, national, and international levels. The third unit analyzes the policy implications and limitations of adopting a systems approach. The course is taught largely using the case method involving reading and discussion. Each reading of the case is guided by a set of study questions. The final output of the class is a 5,000-word policy paper. Through class discussion and the final paper, students are expected to show understanding of the concept of innovation systems, its applications to specific settings, and its relevance to public policy. Training in science, technology, or engineering is not a requirement for the course.

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