MG4J2      Half Unit
Social Business Design

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Nadia Millington MAR 5.37


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

This course focuses its attention and imagination on teaching students how to turn a vision into reality; how to design a social business/ initiative which aims to achieve social good in a financially sustainable way. It combines academic theory, contemporary practical frameworks and student action learning to educate and influence a rising generation of leaders and managers who want to be part of the solution to global challenges.

The course can be broken into two parts fusing theory and practice:

The theory: The foundation (4 weeks) 

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.

The practice: Designing a social business  ( 5 weeks)

Over the 5 interactive teaching sessions students will focus on idea generation, identification of a social problem, opportunity assessment  viable solutions testing and ,developing a new business model and business plan.

Dress rehearsal –( week 11)

In the final week of the term, student teams will exhibit their progress and will be given an opportunity to receive comments from the faculty team.

As an overarching approach, students will be using a combination of opportunity centric and human centric , action-oriented approach to real world problem solving working in collaborative teams to actively create solutions They will progress through an iterative design process, including ideation, prototyping, testing, building, modelling, pricing, branding, marketing, resourcing, analysing financial viability and obtaining proof of concept. 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.

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

• Two compulsory 30-minute group sessions/ surgeries to help refine the scope of the project and develop an effective business model and theory of change. Groups will also be offered 2 additional but optional 30-minute sessions/ surgeries which they can utilise to get support in the development of their social business

•  An introduction to your project session which lasts approximately 2 hours, 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.

Very importantly, Whilst every effort will be made to dedicate some class time to help teams progress their projects, as with any group project, student teams are expected to work independently beyond class times on their projects

Formative coursework

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

Students will be expected to produce an 800 word essay in the MT

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.
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.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2021/22: 22

Average class size 2021/22: 22

Controlled access 2021/22: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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