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DIGITAL AFRICA: Platform Management, Strategy, & Innovation

Olayinka David-West, Professor, Lagos Business School
Ira Sager
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DIGITAL AFRICA: Platform Management, Strategy & Innovation is a 5-week online course designed for managers, executives, and entrepreneurs who are seeking to improve their skills in a rapidly changing business environment where new leadership capabilities are needed.

The Internet, smart devices, and a host of other digital capabilities are enabling new ways of doing business and opening up new business opportunities across Africa. Driving this trend is the rapid rise of platform businesses that connect people, organizations and resources in ways that make it easier to find and purchase goods, get rides, watch movies, locate jobs and much more.

At the same time, platform businesses require a different approach to nearly every aspect of management--strategy, business processes, metrics, branding, supply chain, IP protection, and many others.

Course Objectives

  • Understand platform definitions and key concepts
  • Apply principles of platform architecture, governance and launch strategy
  • Design strategies for integrating local and foreign entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Assess the future of African platform businesses
  • Establish a network of individuals across Africa and beyond interested in building and operating digital businesses
  • Create a community of professionals committed to advancing platform management and innovation for Africa


  • Learn from the leading academic experts in platform business models
  • Collaborate and learn from a diverse group of peers
  • Receive a certificate upon course completion


  • Introduction to platform definitions and key concepts
  • Principles of platform architecture, governance and launch strategy
  • Strategies for integrating local and foreign entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Overview of what's ahead for platform businesses in Africa

Designed for

  • Platform managers/executives
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Aspiring platform founders
  • Business students

Participant Expectations

  • Plan to commit at least 4 hours per week for 5 weeks
  • Participants must complete short individual weekly assignments and at least one group project

Technical Requirements

Access to a computer or smart device connected to the Internet. All assignments and group projects are submitted via an Internet-connected device.

Professional Conduct

All work submitted must be original. Any and all material that is obtained from the Internet or other sources must be properly cited and all copyrights and IP restrictions must be respected.


  • "I would highly recommend anyone who is passionate about Africa's rising and positioning in the digital economy to take part in the program and become a catalyst in accelerating Africa's digital enterprising." - Theko Makhoalibe, South Africa
  • "The course allows participants from various countries to experience what it would be to work together in a real platform company. This course will guide role-players in new and existing platforms to make better decisions to expand and become more sustainable." - Chris Maakal, South Africa
  • "I am grateful to have been under the tutelage of world class platform experts. The course leaders were passionate and their research works are resources that are relevant and I will keep using." - Ayobami Oladejo, South Africa

Center for Global Enterprise (CGE)

CGE is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution devoted to the study of global management best practices, the contemporary corporation, economic integration, and their impacts on society. The Center was founded by Samuel J. Palmisano, former Chairman of IBM, to advance the management science that fosters successful global companies and to make these best practices available to the current and next generation of business leaders.

For any questions, please contact Jesse Ryan (

Course Leaders

Olayinka David-West

Professor, Lagos Business School

Dr. David-West has over two decades experience in the Nigerian IT industry. Dr. David-West is currently a senior fellow in the Operations, Information Systems and Marketing Division of Lagos Business School. She is also academic director at the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan-Atlantic University. Dr. David-West holds a doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from Manchester Business School; an MSc in Business Systems Analysis and Design from City University, London; and a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Lagos. She is the author of numerous academic papers and case studies.

Ira Sager

Vice President, CGE Global Learning Initiatives

Mr. Sager has held several senior editorial roles in 21 years with Bloomberg Businessweek. Recently, he was Director of Special Projects. In that position, he developed strategy and content for editorial projects, realigned coverage in several areas and helped launch Bloomberg Businessweek's award-winning iPad app. He was a member of the editorial team that redesigned and repositioned Businessweek online, launched the publication's first blogs and worked extensively with third-party content providers. He also served as Managing Editor of eBiz, a monthly supplement to Businessweek that chronicled the dot-com era. He has written and edited numerous articles on all aspects of the computer industry. Mr. Sager has extensive experience with digital media and knowledge of the technology, management consulting and education industries.

He has a B.A. in English from Baruch College, City University of New York.

Course Instructors

Geoffrey G. Parker

Director, Master of Engineering Management Program, Dartmouth College

Dr. Geoffrey G. Parker, also known as Geoff, is the director of the Master of Engineering Management Program at Dartmouth College's Thayer School of Engineering. He is a Visiting Scholar and Research Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Initiative for the Digital Economy. Dr. Parker has made contributions to the theory of network economics as co-developer of the theory of "two-sided" networks. His current research includes studies of distributed innovation, business platform strategy, and technical/economic systems to integrate renewable energy. He received a B.S. degree from Princeton University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT. He has been a member of the GE Africa Learning Advisory Board since 2013. Dr. Parker is co-author of the book "Platform Revolution."

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

Associate Professor, MIT

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga is an associate professor of science, technology, and society (STS) at MIT. He arrived at MIT fresh from grad school as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2008 and was awarded tenure as associate professor in 2015. His research is located at the intersection of African history and STS, specifically approaching issues of science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship from African perspectives and experiences. He is the author of Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe and editor of What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa? Mavhunga earned his PhD from the University of Michigan; MA at the University of the Witwatersrand; and BA Honors at the University of Zimbabwe.

David Rogers

Faculty, Columbia Business School

David Rogers, a member of the faculty at Columbia Business School, is a globally-recognized leader on brands and digital business strategy, known for his pioneering model of customer networks. He is author of four books, including “The Network Is Your Customer," and the forthcoming, “The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business to Adapt and Thrive in the Digital Age."

At Columbia Business School, David teaches global executives as the faculty director of Executive Education programs on Digital Marketing and Digital Business Strategy. His recent research with Columbia's Center on Global Brand Leadership has focused on Big Data, the Internet of Things, in-store mobile shoppers, digital marketing ROI, and data privacy.

Head Teaching Assistants

Timothy Aluko

Research Assistant, Lagos Business School

Timothy is a Project Administrator with previous experience in management research at Lagos Business School. He has successfully engaged in several projects that have resulted in the production of case studies, technical notes, and journal articles. Before joining LBS as a research assistant, Timothy was a background check expert with Dragnet Solutions Ltd where he managed large-scale verification exercises for various scholarship schemes across South-West Nigeria. He has experience as a facilitator with the Project Management Professional Institute (PMPI) where he facilitated classes on the various project management knowledge areas. Timothy's expertise in technology-related management research has him collaborating projects relating to e-commerce and digital financial services in Africa. Also, he is currently pursuing his MBA at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Francine Beleyi

Founder & Digital Strategist, nucleus of change

Francine is a Digital Strategist, Venture Advisor, Change Enabler, founder of nucleus of change, specialising in helping corporates, entrepreneurs and governments to adapt and thrive in the digital economy.She is passionate about promoting digital literacy and enabling digital entrepreneurship ecosystems to support economic and social progress.

She has a multidisciplinary and international experience across Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia, leading and supporting multimillion pounds' projects for multinational corporations such as Total, Bnpparibas and Axa, and supporting entrepreneurial endeavours, not-for-profit and governments initiatives.

Francine is bilingual, French-English, and holds a Masters' degree in organisational consulting and change management, a Bachelor degree in accountancy & finance and a degree in computer science applied to management. She also possesses a diploma in multimedia journalism and a certificate in technology entrepreneurship from Stanford university.