MG4G2      Half Unit
Social Innovation Design

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Harm Barkema NAB 4.24


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The course provides a rigorous overview of insights, concepts, frameworks, methods and tools for social innovation design, ranging from business model innovation to social innovation.  The pedagogy implies interactive class and FB discussions (with other students and our social innovation and enterprise alumni), cases, videos, and most importantly, synthesizing insights and relating them to real life social (or environmental) problems by designing a new social enterprise. This course – in the Lent term – directly builds on the MT courses MG4G1 Understanding Social Problems for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and MG4F8 Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship I. This course will have the same student teams as in MG4G1 Understanding Social Problems for Innovation and Entrepreneurship that culminated in developing an actual, initial idea/ proposal for problem-based intervention. This proposed idea is the starting point for the management design project in this course.

More specifically, students learn:

  • Key theoretical approaches (insights, concepts, methodologies/frameworks, tools) related to social and economic goals, value propositions, revenue models, partners/alliances/ ecosystems, own organizational characteristics) for designing social innovations;
  • Empirical findings – typically from recent management research and related fields; this is a young field – on social implications of a variety of social innovation designs; moderators; how these implications differ across contexts (cultural, economic, sociological, political);
  • A rigorous framework synthesizing insights, concepts, methodologies/frameworks, and tools for social innovation design, including for extreme affordability (based on the course material developed at the LSE over the past ten years in MG437 and MG438, and other LSE courses);
  • Synthesizing and relating theoretical and methodological insights, concepts, and frameworks for social innovation and enterprise to real world phenomena and problems, by designing an actual social enterprise;
  • How social innovation designs are contingent – and can vary strongly – depending on the identified social problem.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of classes in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

The formative essay is a voluntary ‘pre-run’ of the summative essay, where the academic insights of the course are combined and synthesized with new insights sourced from the academic literature by the student to design an actual social enterprise. Students receive feedback on their formative essay in the same way they get feedback on the summative essay (although for the summative essay, they are not allowed to select the same design again).

Indicative reading

Abrahamson, E., 1996, Management Fashion, Academy of Management Review, vol. 21, 254-285

Abrahamson, E. and Fairchild, 1999, Management Fashion: Lifecycles, Triggers and collective learning processes, Administrative Science Quarterly, 708-740.

Ana María Peredo and James J. Chrisman, Toward a Theory of Community-Based Enterprise, ACAD MANAGE REV April 1, 2006 31:2.

Johnson, M. W., Christensen, C. M., Kagermann, H. , 2008. Reinventing your business model. Harvard Business Review 86(12), 50-59.

Yunus, M., Moingeon, B., & Lehmann-Ortega, L. (2010). Building social business models: lessons from the Grameen experience. Long range planning, 43(2), 308-325.

Dees, J. G., Anderson, B. B., & Wei-Skillern, J. (2004). Scaling social impact. Stanford social innovation review, 1(4), 24-32.

Seelos, C., & Mair, J. (2005). Social entrepreneurship: Creating new business models to serve the poor. Business horizons, 48(3), 241-246.


Project (45%), essay (45%, 1500 words) and class participation (10%) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills