BUU44623 Designing Social Innovation and Delivering Social Impact 2023/24

(10 ECTS)

Lecturer: Prof Gemma Donnelly-Cox

Email: gdnnllyc@tcd.ie

Office Hours: By appointment only

Module Description:

Social innovation is the creation and implementation of a novel concept, idea or organization, that benefits society and is achieved through community, business, institutional and/or behavioural change. If you are interested in thinking differently and making a difference, whether your focus is climate action, or marriage equality, you are interested in social innovation. Whether you want to change the world, or help make your neighbourhood a better place to live, your desire to make a difference needs to be matched with the knowledge and skills to develop workable solutions, to deploy them effectively and to assess their impact. This module will guide you in understanding how processes of social innovation work and how to develop yourself to play a role within them. You will learn how processes of social innovation are used to address key societal challenges. This module introduces concepts for and approaches to social innovation and value creation, linking social innovation theory, business practices learned throughout the business degree and new strategies for defining, delivering and measuring social impact. You will learn about global and regional approaches to social innovation, how to develop a theory of change and use logic models, and how to intervene in a process of social innovation. You will learn how to engage with key individuals within the fields of social innovation and social change in Ireland and abroad, including academics,  practitioners and activists.

Module Level Learning Outcomes: 

  • LO1 Demonstrate the ability to describe and apply the key theories / frameworks / debates in the field of social innovation and social impact.
  • LO2 Evaluate a social innovation in an Irish / international context with respect to the potential for sustainable impact and systemic change.
  • LO3 Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences, in both oral and written presentations.
  • LO4 Demonstrate the capacity to understand, assess and address social and environmental challenges locally and globally.
  • LO5 Demonstrate the capacity to use teambuilding assignments to develop the capacity to work effectively in multinational, multidisciplinary teams.

Textbooks and Required Resources:

The required readings are drawn from relevant academic and ‘grey’ literature which will be provided to students via the Blackboard site. The readings for each lecture topic are provided in the module schedule below.

The first chapters from a book of readings on social innovation are used in the first weeks of the module. It is available as a pdf under a creative commons license, which means you can download it free of charge.

It is Nicholls, Alex; Julie Simon and Madeleine Gabriel (2015). New Frontiers in Social Innovation Research. Palgrave MacMillan.  You can download this collection at this address: https://www.oapen.org/search?identifier=1002117


Assessment will be based on a series of assignments: 

  1. Semester One - Team 'Commnunicating Social Impact' Project [25%]
  2. Semester 1 - Two Hour Exam in Christmas Exam Period [25%]
  3. Semester 2 - Team Social Innovation Ecosystem Project [25%]
  4. Semester 2 - Two Hour Exam in Summer Exam Period [25%]