Social innovation has become increasingly popular as technical innovations have proved insufficient in dealing with the larger global challenges such as climate change, resource shortage, poverty, increased migration, and improving the quality of life in today’s society. 30 new social entrepreneurs are now ready to create tomorrow's society! As of today, 30 social entrepreneurs are now ready to create tomorrow's society!
“I am impressed by the way students engage in the social and environmental problems that the world faces today. Meeting them in this course gives me hope for a sustainable future”, says Caroline Wigren-Kristoferson, who is responsible for the course at Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship.
Based on academic research, the course ‘Social Innovation: a strategy for sustainability’, organised together with the School of Social Work and the accelerator SoPact, aims at providing students with knowledge on how to investigate and evaluate social innovations in theory and practice. During the course students get to initiate and implement a smaller project.
“The course gives you a great understanding of social and environmental issues and the mix of case studies and the different people and organisations involved is great” says Jeffery Kieffer who’s been working on a project called Airbnbible together with Natalie Langemar. Based on user-generated content, Airbnbible is a travel guide with tourist information on how to act and behave when visiting new countries and cities. “Many cities around the world encounter several issues when tourists visit” says Natalie Langemar. With providing easily accessible information, they hope to solve this problem.
Another group of students: Rebecca Dippon, Martin Molin, Camille Drouin, Christie Collins, Florine Dubaut, and Markus Rankka has been working on a project called NLighten. NLighten is a programme on how to deal with mental health issues in schools. The group wants to change the way we talk about mental health issues, and to make it less stigmatised. “It should be a part of the education in schools just as education about sex and information about drunk driving” says Rebecca Dippon. They found it to be a problem when people don’t know how to deal with for example a classmate or a friend going through a depression. This new programme will solve that problem.
During the course, the students are provided with a framework and tools on how to make assumptions, and how to best present their social business ideas in a short and concise manner. The Theory of change is one framework used that helps entrepreneurs answer questions such as: What environments do I want to effect? What activities should I focus on in order to affect the people and society? What is the outcome?
The framework and the tools makes it possible to cross-fertilise entrepreneurship and social work. Students come to realise that social innovation is not only based on NGO’s and charity work, but could be turned into a sustainable social business. Markus Knutagård from the School of Social Work at Lund University states: “In this course students can be part of creating tomorrow’s society and unite sustainable innovations with social entrepreneurship.”
Read more about the course here.