Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Social Entrepreneurship, Policy and Systems Change: How to Drive Real Impact on Social Problems
MLD-835 Instructor: Alan Khazei Email: Alan_Khazei@hks.harvard.edu firstname.lastname@example.org Schedule: Mondays, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Semester: Spring Location: Littauer 230 Credit: 1.0 Course Overview This seminar is designed for students with a strong interest in social entrepreneurship who would like to explore how social entrepreneurs can affect policy and become systems-changers. The course will explore action tanking, combining the best of what a think tank does generate and promote policy ideas and proposals with what a direct service organization does put ideas into action and achieve demonstrable results. The course will also explore different models of collective action, coalition building, and movement building. As part of the course, students will be exposed (through occasional site visits and guest lectures) to leading social entrepreneurs looking to engage the class about how to ratchet up impact. The focus of the course will be on United States based organizations, but will try to draw some insights from a few international examples. Students will work ideally in teams or individually to produce an important written work product -- a draft business plan for a social enterprise action tank that presents in some detail a systems change strategy. The course will culminate with presentations of these plans to peers and special guests for feedback and discussion. Thematic questions include:
1. How does social entrepreneurship theory manifest in practice? What are the key methods, strategies, and models for path-breaking social entrepreneurial organizations to succeed?
2. How can social enterprises leverage their work and impact to influence policy and systems change?
3. What does it take to become a successful social entrepreneur? What does that career choice entail for those who choose it?
By the end of this course, students will have achieved the following learning goals:
1. Understand the elements of a successful action tank, and design and produce a business plan that demonstrates the translation of theory into practice.
2. Be able to articulate models of collective impact and the pathways from proof of concept to policy change.
3. Develop a working knowledge of fundraising and venture philanthropy.
Course Format This seminar course is designed to emulate an intensive workshop or boot camp for social entrepreneurs. Each two-hour session will be focused around participatory group discussion and activity, based on readings, student experience both from their own professional experience and from this courses assignments and hands-on learning opportunities, including occasional guest speakers and site visits to leading social entrepreneurial organizations in the Boston area. In addition to the weekly class seminar, students will be organized in small groups for weekly, self directed hourly sessions to discuss the readings and prepare for class. Students are expected to attend each session, having completed all readings and assignments, in order to participate actively and thoughtfully in a collaborative learning experience. In order to have enough time for class presentations of students final papers, the two last classes of the year will be extended until 7:30 pm (with pizza dinner included).
Assignment: Due date: Percent of
1. Reflection writing assignment: Write a two-page paper (single-spaced) describing a social entrepreneur or a social entrepreneurial organization that you admire, and explain why. This is intended to be a creative, narrative assignment, so do not be too concerned about case study structure or hard definitions. Focus on the attributes, innovations, and impacts that are most compelling to you. Also tell me about yourself your background, why you enrolled in this course, and what you hope to get out of this class. If you already have an idea for an organization you want to start, note that as well. This first assignment is designed to help all of us in this course to get to know each other quickly, and to share the variety of individuals and organizations that make up the field of social entrepreneurship so interesting. These papers will be shared with the class, so we can all learn about each others interests and backgrounds in advance of the class discussion on Feb. 3rd.
Thurs, Jan. 30
(For class discussion on
2. Short paper #1: Students will read a selected book written by a social entrepreneur, and write a 3-5 page paper (single spaced) on the key insights and lessons learned from that social
- Book selection:
entrepreneurs experience. See the Reading List below for selected books. To ensure that all books are covered, we will have a sign up list where you can rank your first, second, and third preference. We will assign the books and do our best to ensure you get one of your top choices.
- Paper due:
Wed, Feb. 26 (for class discussion on March 3)
3. Short paper #2: Students in small groups will independently arrange and conduct a site visit to a selected social entrepreneurial organization in the Boston area. They will focus the inquiry of the site visit to write a 3-4 page paper (single spaced) that discusses the following: - What are the mission and goals of the organization? - How do they measure and report on their impact? - Does this organization have an action tank strategy? If
they do, what is it, how effective is it, what is it doing? If not, what could it be, what are your recommendations for how it could develop one?
- What are the keys to the organizations success? - Is the organization part of any type of collective impact
work? Describe. Students will receive a list of selected organizations from which to choose, and will rank their top 3 choices. They will be assigned an organization in order to ensure that all are covered. Papers will be shared with the whole class in advance of the class discussion. Students must be prepared to discuss their own paper, as well as integrate and synthesize information from their classmates papers.
- Site visit
selection: Feb. 3
- Paper due:
Wed., Apr. 2 (for class discussion on Apr. 7)
4. Action Tank Business Plan and PowerPoint presentation: Students will develop a business plan of 15-20 pages for a social entrepreneurial venture they would like to develop. They will also develop a PowerPoint presentation that outlines the key elements of their business plan that they can use to pitch their idea to prospective funders, champions and supporters. Students are encouraged to develop the plan for their organization with a partner(s), if they would like.
March 10 - In-class
presentation: Apr. 21 or 28
Final written plan: May 8
The course will culminate with the presentations of the business plans to their peers and special guests for feedback and discussion, held over two class periods. The final business plan will be due on Thursday, May 8th. 5. Class participation and contributions to group discussion:
Reading List Readings for the course will include articles, case studies, and books that provide the theoretical background for the concept of social entrepreneurship, as well as real-life examples and analyses of social entrepreneurship in practice. Students will also explore class topics through web-based media and technology such as TED Talks and data visualization tools. Readings will be available via the course page or in hard copy (provided by the instructor, or to be purchased by students). Excerpts from the following books will be provided through the course page:
Peter Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Greg Dees, The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan, The Power of Unreasonable People
The following books will be available on reserve at the library, or students will be asked to purchase their own copy:
Jim Collins, Good to Great for the Social Sector David Bornstein. How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New
Ideas David Bornstein and Susan Davis, Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to
Know Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McCleod, Forces for Good Alan Khazei, Big Citizenship (copies will be provided by the instructor)
In order to learn directly from leading social entrepreneurs experience, students will select and read JUST ONE of the following books by a social entrepreneur for Short Paper #1 (due on February 27th) and the class discussion on March 3rd.
Wendy Kopp, One Day All Children Geoffrey Canada, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun Bill Shore, Revolution of the Heart Gerald Chertavian, A Year Up Darrell Hammond, Kaboom
Muhammed Yunis, Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty
Bill Strickland, Make the Impossible, Possible Bill Milliken: From the Rear View Mirror:Reflecting on Connecting the Dots
Class Topics 1. Monday, January 27th Introduction, Goals, and Key Concepts: What is social entrepreneurship and action tanking? Readings due today:
- J. Gregory Dees, The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship, Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, 30 May 2011.
- J. Gregory Dees, Social Entrepreneurship is About Innovation and Impact, Not Income, S