Dr Carla Bonina
Academic and research departmentsSurrey Business School, Centre of Digital Economy, Department of Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Centre for Social Innovation Management.
Carla Bonina is Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (with effect from Jan 2021) at Surrey Business School. Her research interests lie in the intersection of technology innovation, entrepreneurship and policy with a focus on sustainable development. Her current projects revolve around open data and innovation, the developmental value of digital platforms and sustainable business models in the digital economy. She provides strategic advice on digital transformation, open data and sustainability of the digital economy to governments, international organisations and donors, such as Avinas Americas, the OECD, the IDRC and the World Bank among others. She is considered a Latin American expert.
In July 2020, she's been given the Impact Award prize at Surrey Business School for outstanding contributions to impact in her research on digital government transformation in Latin America.
Carla is founding member of the Surrey Center of Digital Economy and Principal Researcher at the Latin American Iniciative of Open data (ILDA). She is Strategic Advisor to the Veterinary Health Innovation Engine (vHive), member of the Center for Social Innovation Management and the Surrey Law and Technology Hub. She is also member of Sandbox, a global network of young entrepreneurs, and shares a passion for social entrepreneurship.
Prior to joining Surrey Business School, she held a Research Fellowship in LSE Tech, a research team at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) active in the area of innovation and technology management. Carla holds a PhD in Management from the LSE, an MSc in Public Administration and Public Policy from CIDE in Mexico City, and a BA in Economics from the University of Buenos Aires.
Areas of specialism
Surrey Business School’s research on digital innovation in government improves policies and practices across Latin America
CSIM and CoDE webinar series: Rethinking sustainability and the digital economy in times of Covid-19
In the media
My research agenda revolves around asking the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions of digital innovation in private and public enterprises and its effects at societal level—questions that are at center of the Surrey Centre for the Digital Economy (CoDE). I work mainly in three related streams:
Open data and international development
A big part of my current programme of research examines how open government data—data released by government in digital format, publicly available for anyone to use—can contribute to economic and social development in Latin America. It employs a multi-method approach using several case studies in the region to answer two related questions:
- How do open data platforms enable innovation in Latin America?
- How can social innovation ventures exploit the benefits of open data in a sustainable and inclusive way?
On completion, this research will provide governments with practical guidelines to grow and nurture an ecosystem of innovators needed to unlock the developmental value of open data. It will also equip tech entrepreneurs, NGOs and social innovators in Latin America with powerful tools to generate or escalate ventures based on open data in a sustainable way.
Key partners to develop this research in the region include the Latin American Open Data Initiative (ILDA), Avina Americas and the InterAmerican Development Bank, and the Government of Argentina, among others.
Digital government, ideologies and public values
This programme of research explores how digital innovation contributes to the enactment of public values in government on one hand, and what role ideologies play in the design and implementation of digital government initiatives. It applies social theory in information systems and publicness theory to study the way governments generate value within their contexts. The empirical setting is Mexico and Argentina, with expected contributions to the field of management of information systems and practitioner advice to governments in Latin America seeking digital transformation.
Other areas I'm working include reappraising notions of value in the digital economy, emerging business models in FinTech and the creative industries, and critical discourse analysis in digital economy related themes. Within this stream, a highlight project is the EU-funded AudioCommons, where I work with David Plans on understating emerging business models for the audio industry.
Postgraduate research supervision
Civil society and governments around the world have recognized the potential developmental benefits that data released in open format could bring to the Global South. This open data, released in digital format, publicly available for anyone to use—promise to contribute to global development goals, such as economic growth, job creation, social and economic inclusion, and access to public services such as healthcare. Although emergent, there is growing evidence that in the right circumstances, open data could contribute to these goals (see Verhulst and Young 2016, as well as chapter 10 in this volume).
Despite the potential, there is also a body of literature suggesting that most open data initiatives are not having the desired impact, particularly in the Global South, for a variety of reasons. These include poor-quality or incomplete data, data in hard-to-use formats, and a mismatch between the data that are published and the data that are actually needed (World Wide Web Foundation 2017). Thus, it is becoming paramount to understand how to improve the connection between making the data available, sharing it, and fostering the actual uptake of open data to solve developmental problems. Recent evidence has shown that the governance relationship is an important factor in this equation. For example, in a review of twenty-three digital monitoring platforms of public services, Peixoto and Fox (2016) show that the existence of institutional arrangements increases the use and responsiveness of these initiatives. While valuable, these studies show broad patterns of the overall picture. In this chapter, we aim to delve into these patterns in detail.
Koskinen, Kari, Bonina, Carla, & Eaton, Ben. (2018, October 30). Digital Platforms in the Global South: Foundations and Research Agenda. DIODE Working Paper No. 8, Centre for Development Informatics, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester.http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1566694
Aguerre Carolina, & Bonina, Carla. (2018, Dec). Por Mi Barrio. Lecciones, Hallazgos y Futuro (Por Mi Barrio. Lessons, Findings and Future). Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2531028
OECD (2017), Assessing the Impact of Digital Government in Colombia: Towards a new methodology, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, OECD Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264283282-en (written chapters 1 and 2)