PP411M      Half Unit
Political Entrepreneurship

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Valerio Riavez


This course is available on the Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-University of Toronto), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course will offer a unique opportunity to students who have a passion for politics and don’t know where to direct it. In the last decade electoral start-ups, new forms of activism, and disruptive political technologies have completely reshaped the international political landscape. Having an impact through politics today requires an understanding of entrepreneurship and of digital technologies, and the mastery of the basic unit of politics: electoral campaigning. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to frameworks drawn from multiple disciplines ranging from management to political science, from communication to grassroots organizing, from data analytics to leadership, enabling them to understand how modern politics works and what it takes to enter the political arena. The students will draw from first-hand examples of the most disruptive political endeavours of the decade, and will readily apply their learnings to a campaign of their choosing, for which they will be asked to craft a strategy memo and an action plan, dedicating a special focus on the use of data and new technologies.


This course is delivered through a combined lecture-seminar format totalling a minimum of 30 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year teaching for this course will take place in-person where possible and where conditions allow.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce a short, 2-page business memo to present the campaign they chose, to highlight some early elements of their campaign strategy and to flag any potential barriers they anticipate.

Indicative reading

  • McNamara, M - The political campaign desk reference.
  • Haidt, J - The righteous mind
  • Westen, D - The political brain
  • Cialdini, R.B. - Influence: the psychology of persuasion
  • Issenberg, S - The victory lab
  • Ignatieff, M - Fire and ashes
  • Mayer-Schoneberger, V. and Cukier, K. - Big Data
  • Lindstrom, M - Small Data
  • Ganz, M - Leading change
  • McAlevey, J - No shortcuts


Project (30%) and memo (60%) in the MT.
Class participation (10%).

Project (30%): an Excel campaign planner where students unpack all activities they need to complete during the 18 months prior to launching their campaign. Given that this assignment format may be new to many students, at the beginning of the course they will be provided with examples of effective campaign planners and will be given ample opportunity to workshop its content and receive feedback on it ahead of its submission 

Memo (60%): a strategy memo of approximately 3,000 words, where students outline the main features of their campaign strategy 


These two assessments and the formative assessment will revolve around a political campaign of the student's choosing.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills