What is the course about?
Social innovations, i.e. new social practices, are everywhere and largely influence our lives: they change the rules of the game in business, civil society and politics. With social innovations, we can design social practices that are more beneficial, sustainable or just.
But what are social innovations? And what effects can they have? This course is an introduction to the topic. You will gain an overview of what social innovations are, how they function and how they can be developed.
What will I learn?
You will learn what social innovations are and understand how they can help solve societal problems. You will get an overview of important literature and debates on social innovation.
You will also learn and apply methods to develop, implement and scale social innovations. Exercises will allow you to apply the methods, develop your own ideas and gather first-hand experiences.
What do I need to know?
This is an introductory course. Previous knowledge is not required. The course is designed for people interested in understanding and/or designing societal change.
This is a self-paced course. This means that once the course initially begins, you can make your way through the course chapters at your own pace, without time pressure or deadlines.
Chapter 1: A New Innovation Paradigm
In this chapter, you will learn what “social innovation” means. You will get an overview of how social innovations can be developed and implemented. Also, we explain the differences between all the “social” something-concepts like social business, social entrepreneurship, and corporate social responsibilities.
Chapter 2: The Spectrum of Social Innovation
There are different forms and formats of social innovation. Gain an overview of the variety of social innovations in this chapter. Specifically, you learn about social innovations that origin in civil society, business, and the social sector. Moreover, you will learn about cross-sector social innovations.
Chapter 3: Broaden your Horizon: Questioning the Existing and Recognising Challenges
Social innovators see opportunities where others see problems. Learn to change your perspective in order to recognise opportunities to solve societal problems with social innovations.
Chapter 4: Designing and Implementing Social Innovations: Tools
Design Thinking and Lean Start-up will help you to design social innovations together with your (future) beneficiaries. Furthermore, you learn how you can convince others by using effective storytelling.
Chapter 5: Designing and Implementing Social Innovations: Learning from Others
You will learn how others developed and implemented social innovations and how they learned to overcome resistance. Also, you learn about typical mechanisms of social value creation.
Chapter 6: Impact and Vision
In this chapter, you learn how to analyse the impact of social innovations and how you can increase the impact of social innovations using specific strategies of scaling and replication. Also, our experts will provide some suggestions and tips for future social innovators.
Nicholas Wenzel is co-founder of InternsGoPro, a social enterprise certifying the quality of internships in Europe.
Between January 2012 and 2014 he worked at the World Vision Center for Social Innovation at the European Business School (EBS), Germany. At EBS he led the development of the Social Innovation MOOC.
Nicholas holds a Master degree in Sociology from the London School of Economics and a Master in Social Sciences from the Humboldt-University Berlin. Before joining EBS, he worked as a policy consultant with a focus on green finance policy.
Christine is a Master's student of International Economy and Governance at the University of Bayreuth and a student assistant at EBS Universität für Wirtschft und Recht.
From March to September 2014 she worked at World Vision Germany on social innovation and inclusive business. Before that she also acquired work experiences in responsible investment.
In 2013 she finished her Bachelor degree in Business Mathematics at the University of Mannheim.
Dr. Susan Mueller is a senior researcher at the Swiss Research Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Gallen. Her research topics are social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship education.
Between 2012 and fall 2014 she worked at the World Vision Center for Social Innovation at EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht, Germany. At EBS she was leading the project "Social Innovations in Germany" sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Susan holds an MBA degree from the University of Pittsburgh and received her doctoral degree from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. Between 2001 and 2007 she worked as a business consultant with a focus on marketing and organization.