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BUU44622 Delivering Social Impact

(5 ECTS Taught Module – Semester Two)


Professor Mary Lee Rhodes

Module Content

Building on the new concepts and approaches to social innovation and value creation introduced to students in the module “Designing Social Innovation” (BU44622), this module links social innovation theory, business practices learned throughout the business degree and new strategies for defining, delivering and measuring social impact.  Students will learn about global and regional approaches to defining, delivering and measuring impact, how to apply different theories of change to social innovation initiatives, what impact investing is and how to tap into different sources of social finance.  The SISI project (begun in the preceding module) will be developed further to enable students to apply their knowledge to a practical example of social innovation and to reflect on their own role in generating impact.

Learning and Teaching Approach

The core learning activity in the module is the application of knowledge to the practice of delivering social impact through working with existing or proposed social innovation projects and organisations via the ‘Social Innovation and Social Impact” (SISI) project.  Students will work in teams with social innovators and/or organisations to propose specific initiatives aimed at increasing the social (and/or environmental) impact of their work.  Lectures will introduce students to the core ideas and approaches underpinning social impact and social finance and students will be given the opportunity to discuss and debate different SISI strategies that might apply to their project (or not).  Seminars will be held on a bi-weekly basis and will be structured as ‘workshop’ time for students to develop, present and receive/provide feedback on their evolving projects.

In addition to the project work, students will be asked to reflect on their own and other groups’ learning and engagement with the core ideas of the module and practical implications of these for the selected social innovations.  At the end of the term there will be an exam based on Social Innovation cases that students will be provided in advance.

Learning Outcomes

Having completed the module, you should be able to:

  • Describe and apply the key theories / frameworks / debates in the field of social impact and social finance;
  • Evaluate a social innovation in an Irish / international context with respect to the potential for sustainable impact and systemic change
  • Design practical interventions to create social/environmental impact in a socially innovative organization;
  • Apply principles of social innovation, impact measurement and social finance to problem solving, analysis and social impact evaluation;
  • Demonstrate the capacity to understand, assess and address social and environmental challenges locally and globally.

Module Pre Requisite

Pre-Requisites: BUU33590 Business in Society (JS Year) or BUU33690 Social
  Entrepreneurship (JS Year) or equivalent

Designing Social Innovation (BU44621) is a pre-requisite for this module

Recommended Texts/Key Reading

Required core course textbook:     None

General Supplemental Readings:   There are a range of readings drawn from relevant academic and ‘grey’ literature which will be provided to students via the Blackboard site

Student preparation for the module:  The main preparation for this module is the completion of the pre-requisite module, “Designing Social Innovation”.  In that module students will be assigned a range of relevant readings as well as beginning their SISI project which will extend into this module.  Students should reflect on the feedback they receive on Stage 1 of their project and come to some conclusions about what their next steps might be prior to attending the first lecture.


SISI Group Project – Final Recommendations (60%)

Final Exam – 2 hour case exam (40%)