This course offers an introduction to social impact strategy and social entrepreneurship, including key concepts, an overview of the field, and tools to get started as a changemaker. Students will learn how to innovate and design new ideas and new organizational forms to implement those ideas. Students who take this course will be better prepared to launch social impact
organizations of their own invention.
By moving through four stages, Define, Design, Pilot, and Scale, students will turn their passion for changing the world into concrete plans for launching a nonprofit or for-profit venture designed to achieve a social goal. This course will allow students to systematically think through problems; develop and test an innovative solution; assess risk, competition, and performance; and spread impact in a way that is financially sustainable.
Students who complete the course become eligible to apply for an in-person educational experience, called the Global Social Impact House. GSIH is a seven-day residential program that provides fellows with the tools, community and training they need to advance their ventures. Workshops are customized to the needs of fellows and explore advanced concepts in business models, design thinking and leadership. The program is also designed to help fellows build meaningful, global connections while living together in an inspirational host location. For more information on the Global Social Impact House, please visit: socialimpactstrategy.org/residential/gsih
Learn about the key qualities of social innovation, social enterprise, and social entrepreneurs. How do social entrepreneurs approach problem solving? How might we identify social initiatives that are truly innovative in their approach to delivering on their mission, sustaining their venture, or scaling their impact? This module introduces the topic and offers examples of initiatives you might study as cases organizations throughout the course.
Define and Design
Learn the inputs and basic blueprints of a well-articulated vision. Develop an understanding of the design process, and learn to use an empathy map and a mind map for client-oriented innovation. Learn to build a logic model, which will help you articulate your innovation's theory of change from resources (inputs) to activities to impact. We encourage students to apply these tools immediately, to an active or idea-stage social initiative, that you are working directly on or that you admire.
Pilot and Scale
We must test our ideas in the real world, early and often, to determine if they can truly deliver on either their social or financial mission. Learn to build and use the balanced scorecard, a key tool to assess the real-world performance of a social innovation. The scorecard will allow you to measure and articulate both the initiative's current reach and health, as well as the work that is left to be done. An innovation achieves the intended social impact in a way that is financially supportable may be a candidate for scale. Learn to assess whether and how to approach scale for your social innovation.
Sector Selection and Business Models
This course concludes with an exploration of the organizational forms and modes of delivering impact across the business model spectrum.