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Management and Digital Innovation - the inside story

Dr Steve Smithson and Dr Antonio Cordella from LSE describe how our new study programmes will benefit the next generation of graduates.

Written by Keith McDonald |

Dr Steve Smithson, academic co-ordinator
Dr Steve Smithson, Academic co-ordinator for our new LSE programmes.

This programme provides an excellent platform for graduates who wish to form or join technology start-ups.

Steve, you spoke to us a number of years ago about the growth in e-business technologies. Was this the thinking behind the new programmes?

The tremendous popularity of our current course unit, Management and Innovation of E-Business, certainly gave us confidence to launch the new programme.

The success of this was a clear signal of student interest in better understanding the factors that shape the digital economy.

To satisfy this demand, the new programme provides a unique approach to the study of the digital economy. Students will learn how different managerial, technological, organisational, and economic factors shape the opportunities offered by the modern business environment.

Moreover, students will understand how new phenomena, such as ecosystems and platform organisations, structure the dynamics of contemporary business activities and trends.

How will the new Management and Digital Innovation suite differ from the previous Information Systems and Management programmes?

The new programme is much more attuned to current business and employment markets where firms, large and small, are eager to hire students with a solid knowledge of digital business.

The programme emphasises the importance of digital infrastructures, social media and electronic commerce as fundamental backbones of the contemporary economy. It will help students to understand why the digital economy has favoured the emergence of dominant companies like Google, Facebook and Alibaba.

This is a management programme rather than a technical one. We foresee graduates developing management careers in a wide range of industries in both the private and public sectors

Competing programmes may describe these phenomena but the new BSc provides a solid theoretical base to understand why these phenomena occur and to anticipate the emerging trends in digital business. The course will also help students to apply the relevant theoretical knowledge to real-life cases and practising relevant skills.

There is clear emphasis on the 'digital' here. What are the main benefits of digital methods of management?

Digital methods drastically change the way in which organisations undertake their daily activities and require new managerial practices to be effective in this new environment. 

Specific managerial skills are needed to exploit the potential offered by the new techniques to engage with customers, the new opportunities for revenue growth, the development of new business models, improved cost-efficiency and better employee motivation.

We have a piece in our new Alumni Magazine about the use of information systems to govern food poverty in India. How important could digital infrastructures become for growth and/or development?

As we have seen with the success of the M-Pesa mobile banking network in East Africa, the ease of connecting to these infrastructures is crucial in situations where traditional infrastructure is poor.

Entire ecosystems can be built easily, cheaply and effectively on these relatively low-cost infrastructures and can facilitate growth and development across the world.

What sort of career paths will graduates be able to pursue?

This is a management programme, rather than a technical one, and we foresee graduates developing management careers in a wide range of industries in both the private and public sectors, wherever there is a demand for innovating and harnessing digital technologies.

Every business activity is now mediated by technological artefacts. This programme will offer a deep understanding of how contemporary businesses are run and hence the foundation knowledge that every manager must have to be competitive in today’s economy.

This programme also provides an excellent platform for those graduates who wish to form or join technology start-ups.

The Graduate Diplomas are for a slightly different audience. Can you tell us a little about the new diplomas?

The two new Graduate Diplomas are aimed at graduates from any discipline who wish either to change their career path or to improve their existing promotion prospects by moving into management and digital innovation.

Nearly every organisation and area of employment has been affected by the growth of digital infrastructures and social media. Throughout the private and public sectors, organisations are trying to understand and harness the power of these tools and they are keen to recruit people with the required knowledge and skills.

The world of business and employment internationally has changed greatly over the last 20 years. It’s important that you have the knowledge and skills for new employment opportunities

The Graduate Diploma in Digital Innovation is aimed more at graduates working in, or aiming at, a corporate environment, as well as those with a fairly firm footing in a particular application area, such as health or banking.

This diploma features a compulsory dissertation which provides the student with the opportunity to develop their digital skills in a specialist area of their choice while also providing a comprehensive programme in the application of digital technologies.

On the other hand, the Graduate Diploma in E-Business and Social Media is aimed at graduates who are moving into digital innovation more generally, perhaps through a technology start-up or through an existing organisation’s new business function which is targeting the development of e-business, social media, new business models or new ways of working.

Do you have any words of advice for prospective students who might be considering the new courses?

The world of business and employment internationally has changed greatly over the last 20 years and it’s important that you have the knowledge and skills for the new employment opportunities. The Management and Digital Innovation suite provides the solid grounding needed to succeed in management in this environment.

We have a similar internal LSE programme at Master’s level which has been very successful whereby its graduates have secured promising positions in a wide range of organisations internationally.