UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Nai Lee Kalema

Nai Lee Kalema is a PhD student at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and is supervised by Professor Rainer Kattel and Dr Kate Roll.

Nai Kalema
Nai Lee Kalema is a PhD student in Innovation and Public Policy at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (UCL IIPP). Nai’s research is supervised by Professor Rainer Kattel, Professor of Innovation and Public Governance, and Dr Kate Roll, Associate Professor in Innovation, Development and Purpose. At UCL IIPP, Nai serves as a PGTA for the UCL IIPP’s Digital Transformation module led by Dave Eaves, Associate Professor in Digital Government, and Mike Bracken, Visiting Professor of Practice and founding executive director of the UK Government Digital Service (GDS).

Priorly, Nai was a PGTA for the UCL IIPP’s Transformation by Design module led by Rowen Conway, Visiting Professor of Strategic Design, and Dan Hill, Professor of Design and Director of Strategic Design for Vinnova (The Swedish Government’s innovation and research agency) (fmr). Finally, Nai served as an RA for the UCL Urban Lab with Ben Campkin, Professor of Urbanism and Urban History.

Nai gained meaningful experience at Harvard Medical School (HMS), MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and the National Innovation Service (NIS). Her work experience has centred on cultivating global innovation networks, public-sector innovation, and public-sector design. Also, Nai was a co-instructor for the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (DGHSM) at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Nai also volunteers for Public Health Pathways, a UK public health charity that uses co-design, co-learning, and community-led interventions to promote health equity.

Nai holds a Masters concentrating in International Relations and a Postgraduate Certificate in Social Justice from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts from George Washington University. Also, Nai performed university coursework at Howard University and graduate coursework at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Research summary

Nai’s research explores global governance’s influence on public-sector digital transformation processes, orienting of emergent digital states, and its institutional and societal implications. Specifically, her research explores these themes through global digital identity initiatives in Kenya and Uganda. The research’s policy aim is to develop guidance on how public-sector digital transformation can be better oriented towards maximising public value.