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The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research

Industrial Policy in the 21st Century: The Challenge for Africa


To take the findings from a decade-long research project and deliver them as a six-hour free online course for policymakers and professionals in the development community – thereby ensuring a lasting legacy.

Industrial Policy in the 21st Century, the Challenge for Sub-Saharan Africa was a project led by John Page of the Brookings Institute, for the United Nations University (a research arm of the UN). 

At the end of the project, John Page did a lecture tour in six countries to share the findings (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Finland, the UK, and the US). Our CEO Bob Denham was asked to film the six lectures and then design and edit a series that would work as a standalone course on EdX as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Academy group of courses.


We worked collaboratively with the UNU-WIDER project team and John Page to fully establish all objectives, audiences and considerations for the course at the outset of the project. We agreed an educational and production approach as well as a timetable and outline of all roles and responsibilities. 


Our expert team led on editorial decisions on content and editing, ensuring all content met the wider educational objectives while being clear, accessible and engaging. 

In line with industry best-practice, we broke the course down into hour-long lectures and then into accessible 10-12 minute video modules with key takeaways. 

We were involved across all areas of the course: including using motion graphics to visually represent complex information, sourcing relevant archive footage and conducting interviews to accompany the lecture course. These included interviews with Nobel Prize Winner Joseph Stiglitz and then-Chief Economist of the World Bank, Penny Goldberg.


Our team managed all aspects of production, including the planning and filming of the shoots and interviews across six countries. This included scripting support and working closely with the expert contributors on their performance and delivery. 


Since launching in 2019, completion rates are among the highest on SDG Academy. The course has the highest participation among African learners at SDG Academy – the target audience.

Because of this success, the course has been relaunched with a tutor and continues to run every year. 


Learning Design, Course Production, Project Management

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