MG4G2      Half Unit
Social Innovation Design

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Harry Barkema and Dr Lamees Tanveer.


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 designing a new business model for a social enterprise.   The pedagogy implies interactive lectures, classes, guest speakers on selected core topics for the course, FB posts and discussions, cases, and most importantly, applying and synthesizing insights from all these sources and relating them to a real-life social problem by designing a new social enterprise, with your group. This course – in the Lent term – directly builds on – and complements – the MT courses MG4G1 ‘Understanding Social Problems,’ leading to the design of a fully-fledged, evidence-based social enterprise. The course will have the same student teams as in MG4G1, 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 business model design project in this course. Student teams will present parts of their design in class at subsequent stages, for feedback, culminating in ‘pitching’ the full-fledged social enterprise design for an external panel of experts in the last session. 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 – 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);

• Synthesizing and relating theoretical and methodological insights, concepts, and frameworks for social  enterprises to real world phenomena and problems, by designing an actual social enterprise;

• How social enterprise designs are contingent – and can vary strongly – depending on the identified social problem.

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

Like MG4G1, each week of the present course consists of:

- Preparation: A set of core readings (journal articles, cases, etc.) for that week

- A lecture (2.0 hours) where key insights are shared and discussed

- An interactive seminar (1 hour), starting with a mini-lecture, followed by in-depth discussion in student groups (5-6 students), and a plenary discussion

- Student-moderated group discussions of a case or key topic of the week (30 mins, groups of 5-6 students) with a short summary of insights and conclusions to be posted online

- Reflection log, a short impression of your personal key learnings of the week (‘Aha-moments’), posted online in the form of a 3-minute video or PPT.


20 hours of lectures, 10 hours of classes and 5 hours of classes in the LT.

In addition, students will attend a 3hr group dynamics workshop.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

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



Project (35%), class participation (10%), class participation (10%) and learning log (10%) in the LT.
Essay (35%, 1500 words) in the ST.

The project (35%, 5000 words) will be a group piece of work, while the essay (35%, 1,500 words) will be an individual piece of work.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2020/21: 44

Average class size 2020/21: 22

Controlled access 2020/21: 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