MG4G2      Half Unit
Social Innovation Design

This information is for the 2018/19 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, tools and evidence for social innovation design.  The pedagogy implies interactive class and FB discussions (with other students and our social innovation and enterprise alumni), cases, and most importantly, applying and synthesizing insights and relating them to real life social (or environmental) problems by designing a new social enterprise, with your group. This course – in the Lent term – directly builds on the MT courses MG4G1 Understanding Social Problems for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The 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, based on an in-depth understanding of a key social problem. This proposed idea is the starting point for the management design project in this course. Student teams also present parts of their social design in class at subsequent stages, for feedback. As part of their evidence-based design, students will have the opportunity to go over for field work and data collection (i.e., those students who did not go on the first field trip in MG4G1).  

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 innovative social organizations for major social impact;

• Empirical findings and evidence-based insights – 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.

• How to scale up your social enterprise for major social impact.


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

In addition to 15hrs of lectures and 15hrs of seminars of standard teaching, students will attend a 3hr group dynamics workshop.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

Ana María Peredo and James J. Chrisman, Toward a Theory of Community-Based Enterprise, Academy of Management Review 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.

Battilana, J., Sengul, M., Pache, AC., Model, J., 2015, Harnessing productive tensions in hybrid organizations; The case of work integration social enterprises, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 58, no. 6, 1658-1685

Elsie Onsongo, 2017, Institutional Entrepreneurship and social innovation at the base of the pyramid: the case of M-Pesa in Kenya, Industry and Innovation

Joel Matthew, 2017, Understanding indigenous innovation in rural West Africa: Challenges to Diffusion of Innovations Theory and Current Social Innovation Practice, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 18:2, 223-238.


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

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2017/18: 48

Average class size 2017/18: 24

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

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