MGA students help shape public policy in Mexico

Most students wait until after graduation to apply what they’ve learned in class to the real world. But Master’s students in the Innovation, Governments and Growth seminar at the Munk School of Global Affairs earn grades by informing real policy across the border.

Taught by Professor Dan Breznitz, Munk Chair of Innovation Studies and co-director of the School’s Innovation Policy Lab; the Innovation, Governments and Growth class is an immersive, hands-on course where second-year students take on clients from around the world and help them tackle real issues surrounding global innovation.

“The idea behind the course is to get us to understand how innovation fits in to everything else that we’ve studied,” says Irene Ferro Colmenares (MGA ‘15), who graduated from the Master of Global Affairs program this spring. “We tend to think of innovation as technology-based, but that’s always not the case. Innovation can be lots of things.”

This year’s class project allowed students to work closely with the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, a newly established branch of government in Jalisco, Mexico. Acting as both adviser and client was Dr. Ruy Cervantes Fergoso, the Ministry’s director of innovation, society and knowledge economy. Working together with Breznitz and Cervantes, students were given four project areas and three months to develop research reports intended to help the State of Jalisco shape innovation policies, programs and laws. In October, select students from the class traveled to Jalisco’s capital Guadalajara to present their reports to government officials at the inaugural Public Policy Innovation Seminar.