This course takes a policy-oriented approach towards the new dynamics of private social action. It explores innovation mechanisms of financing, organisation and delivery, including impact investing, new coalitions for social impact (for instance, social impact bonds), venture philanthropy and social enterprise. A central focus is the opportunity created by bringing together market and business mechanisms and the social – but also the consequent challenge and complexity of achieving social impact through hybrid organisations, hybrid funding streams and hybrid mechanisms of coordination.
Cross-cutting themes are how to design incentive structures which respond to the complex web of motivations of actors in this field, and the organisational tension inherent in responding to double or triple bottom lines. Using analytical frameworks drawn from economics, sociology and political economy, the course will critically evaluate the challenges and advantages of these emerging institutions and mechanisms. The course will feature professionals and practitioners working in the social impact field who will share their journeys and experiences.