Coursera Social Entrepreneurship course – week 1

This new course offered by some Wharton professors looked interesting, and I know that there have been a lot of changes in the field since I took classes with Greg Dees in 2001-2003 (recent Duke MBA grads I see at networking events are often talking about examples which are completely unfamiliar to me). Looking at the course overview, I see that there is an emphasis on design thinking that was definitely not part of my coursework. I’ve picked up a lot of that informally, and I think it’s a natural addition.

Reviewing the core concepts of social innovation and social entrepreneurship, their chosen definition of social innovation was not around in 2oo3:

“We contend that social innovation is the best construct for understanding and producing lasting social change. We redefine social innovation to mean: A novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.”

Source: Phills, Deiglmeier, and Miller (2008)

This was familiar, and I think draws on some of the same sources Greg used for defining innovation (Shumpeter and/or Drucker, iirc?). The social entrepreneurship definition was very familiar, it’s Greg’s. Later on in this portion of the video there is a “who/what is a social entrepreneur” portion where Peter Frumkin gives his criteria as innovation, financial sustainability, impact and scale. I have some questions regarding the inclusion/emphasis of scale, as well as around whether financial sustainability might include some traditional philanthropic funding as part of the SE’s revenue stream.

The design process is given in overview as inspiration -> ideation -> iteration -> implementation. Showing an example of the songwriting process was very illustrative of using what sound like business processes in a clearly creative/artistic endeavor.

Inspiration is defined as listening and dreaming. Listening leads to brainstorming, and a mindmap is recommended as a tool to organize the results of that brainstorming.

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