Africa Platform, Management, Strategy & Innovation Q2 2016

August 29, 2016

First of a kind Online Course Prepares Managerial Talent for Digitizing Africa

Traditional educational programs face challenges in keeping pace with the rapidly changing training demands of a digitizing Africa. This is particularly true for managerial expertise related to digital platform business models that are growing in popularity to find and purchase goods, get rides, find accommodations, access movies, make payments, locate jobs and much more.

To meet these new training needs, The Center for Global Enterprise recently concluded its first short, interactive, applied management course, which brought together top platform scholars with a diverse and talented group of entrepreneurs, professionals and business school students from across Africa.

The Micro-course, “Africa Platform Management, Strategy, & Innovation,” was funded with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and ran for 5-weeks from May to June of 2016. “The response was greater than we could have hoped,” said Olayinka David-West, co-course leader and Professor at Lagos Business School. “The course drew participants from all over Africa eager to learn about platform business models and what it takes to launch their own organizations.”

The course covered key elements required to launch and sustain platform companies.  This included a focus on platform architecture, governance, and funding, but also explored issues of entrepreneurship, culture and the historical challenges of innovation in Africa.  One assignment looked at the potential for platforms to boost low productivity of African agriculture. Currently billions of dollars are remitted back to Africa each year.  Participants where challenged to offer advice on how some of these flows could be tapped to support platforms that match providers of remittances to farmers or farm cooperatives seeking to purchase small tractors.

Peter Evans, VP of CGE’s Emerging Platform Economy research and co-course leader with Dr. David-West, suggests that platforms are providing solutions that are helping facilitate market development at a rate that might not otherwise happen.

“Platform business models are helping to accelerate the pace of digital technology adoption throughout Africa,” says Evans.  He also points outs that micro-course models, like the one offered by CGE, demonstrate how real-time, real-world business learning experiences are helping educate and prepare managers for today’s global marketplace. “They have the interesting feature of being both intimate and global at the same time.”

For more information about CGE’s next “Micro-course” visit CGE’s Global Scholars page for a list of upcoming offerings.

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