MG4J2      Half Unit
Designing Innovative Social Enterprises

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Nadia Millington NAB 3.14


This course is available on the Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (CEMS MiM) and Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course can be broken into two parts:

The foundation (weeks 1-5)

During the foundational element, students will be provided with a theoretical overview of this young field, including but not limited to: definitions / taxonomies of social entrepreneurship /business models for social innovation/ understanding beneficiaries via the theory of change/ minimum viable offer approaches for social change/ social intrapreneurship/ drivers of success, social impact and impact measurement for social mission organizations. Throughout the course, examples are given of real social entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurial organizations in order give practical insight to complement the theory covered in these 5 weeks.

Developing a new innovation social enterprise (weeks 7-11)

Over the 5 interactive teaching sessions students will focus on unravelling the problem/ opportunity, developing / assessing viable solutions, testing and developing a new business model.

As an overarching approach, students will be using a human-centred, action-oriented approach to real world problem solving working in collaborative teams to actively create solutions directly with users through prototyping and visualisation techniques in creative spaces. They will progress from an introduction to design thinking principles of problem solving to creating an enterprise through an iterative design process, including imagining, prototyping, testing, building, modelling, pricing, branding, marketing, resourcing, analysing financial viability and obtaining proof of concept. An additional benefit of the course for students will be their opportunity to discover that design thinking is an approach to problem solving that spans all disciplines and can be used by social scientists, engineers, policy makers, creative designers, entrepreneurs or anyone seeking an effective, human-centred focus to create a solution to a problem.

This approach strengthens the problem-solving competences of sense-making, designing, analysis, and decision-making.  The pedagogical approach is problem-solving and students will be informed of ethical guidelines and considerations which they must employ to guide their projects in line with LSE standards and policy.


30 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

40 contact hours

In addition, in lieu of 10 hours of seminars, students will also be expected to attend

• Three 30-minute group sessions to help refine the scope of the project and develop the innovative solution

• An introduction to your project session which lasts approximately 2 hours after class. This is usually held after class in the 4th week of the semester but further details will be provided

-A dress rehearsal at the end of the term where the student teams will exhibit their progress and will get feedback from the faculty team

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Students will be allocated to teams to undertake an Open Innovation consulting project. Whilst some class time is allocated to help teams progress their projects, as with any group project, student teams are expected to work independently beyond class times on their projects. 

COVID-19 protocol- students who are not in London and therefore  unable to attend class, are expected to view the  lectures online and will have a weekly 1-hour Q&A zoom session with the Lecturer to briefly review the material and answer any pending questions

Formative coursework

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

The formative essay is 800-1000 words based on the evidence of initial field research. We recommend that each team keeps a field work journal (electronic or printed) with dates of field work, names of interviewees, places visited, observations with photos etc to support the formative assessment.

Indicative reading

Essential readings (weeks 1-5)

• Hervieux, C.; Voltan, A. (2018).  Framing Social Problems in Social Entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics, 151(2):79-293

• Margolis, J. D.;  Walsh, J.P. (2003). Misery Loves Companies: Rethinking Social Initiatives by Business. Administrative Science Quarterly.48 (2): 268–305.

• Mair,J.; Marti,I.(2004). Social entrepreneurship: What Are We Talking About? A Framework for Future Research. IESE Research Papers D/546, IESE Business School.

Essential readings (weeks 7-11)

• Maurer, I. and Ebers, M. (2006). Dynamics of social capital and their performance implications: Lessons from biotechnology start-ups. Administrative Science Quarterly, 51(2): 262–292.

• Ozcan, P., & Eisenhardt, K.M.( 2009). Origin of alliance portfolios: Entrepreneurs, network strategies, and firm performance. Academy of Management Journal, 52: 246-279.

• Prahalad, C., & Ramaswamy, V. (2008). The New Age of Innovation: Driving Cocreated Value Through Global Networks, McGraw-Hill.


Essay (50%, 1800 words) in the MT and Project (50%) in the LT.

The project assessment comprises an oral presentation (business pitch) and submission of PowerPoint slides with detailed appendices which provide evidence in support of your business pitch.

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: 24

Average class size 2020/21: 23

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