About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3870-3877
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

CURRICULAR APPROACHES TO SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP THROUGH DESIGN: EDUCATING STUDENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGE

A. Rabinowicz1, D. Derryck2

1Parsons the New School for Design (UNITED STATES)
2Milano: The New School for Management and Urban Policy (UNITED STATES)
As the field of Social Entrepreneurship grows, this necessitates developing new curricular initiatives that communicate its fundamental principles to students. What distinguishes social entrepreneurship from entrepreneurship is the social mission that is central to these ventures (Dees, 1998). Our working definition of social entrepreneurship involves the creation of sustainable products, services, or processes that deliver social value.

Our supposition is that the skills and knowledge to be able to become a social entrepreneur are teachable and linked to teams. According to Paul Light, a professor at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, “…social entrepreneurs do not always act alone. Lone-wolf social entrepreneurs can and do succeed, but so do teams, networks, and communities. Even as the field concentrates on finding heroic individuals, the research suggests that teams of experts often hammer together big breakthroughs.” (Light, 2009).

At The New School, we are in the highly unusual position of linking a world-class design school (Parsons the New School for Design) with a renowned program in nonprofit management (Milano: The New School for Management and Urban Policy). In this context, design is viewed as an agent of social change.

One manifestation of our educational initiative in Social Entrepreneurship is a course entitled “Practicum in Social Entrepreneurship through Design”, which we have co-taught for the past five years. This course brings together such disciplines as design, management, and manufacturing, along with the range of skills from finance to marketing. What is particularly unique to The New School is that, across the university, there is a mandate that students are required to work with a nonprofit organization.

Within the extremely diverse New School community, teambuilding is a challenging exercise. Parsons students play the role of “innovators”, providing the creative input; Milano students are the “implementers”, forming management teams that have the ability to make the ideas real. In its most successful incarnation, the innovator and the team come together as one.

In structuring these teams, students raise questions about the nature of ownership, and who is working for whom. Answering these questions is part of the critical process of experiencing this course; success is predicated as much upon the process followed as the end result. The entire team participates in decision making regarding the financials, the marketing plan, and the management/legal structure.

Outside advisors from industry are crucial to this discourse. Engineering advisors work with student teams to clarify ideas around product refinement and testing, pricing, and production. Financial advisors provide guidance about the business plan and how to procure funding.

The cornerstones of each team are top projects developed by Parsons design students. Such projects have included Accessible Aircraft Seats for the disabled; the Aqualoop, a safe water container for distribution in Africa by relief agencies; and Clothing for a Lopsided World (since renamed Be-Well), addressing the needs of women with breast cancer.

The implications of creating sustainable educational programs in Social Entrepreneurship are many. These kinds of programs will ultimately empower students to break traditional patterns to effect social good, either within an existing organization, or within a new company of their own devising.
@InProceedings{RABINOWICZ2009CUR,
author = {Rabinowicz, A. and Derryck, D.},
title = {CURRICULAR APPROACHES TO SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP THROUGH DESIGN: EDUCATING STUDENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGE},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {3870-3877}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Rabinowicz AU - D. Derryck
TI - CURRICULAR APPROACHES TO SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP THROUGH DESIGN: EDUCATING STUDENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGE
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 3870
EP - 3877
ER -
A. Rabinowicz, D. Derryck (2009) CURRICULAR APPROACHES TO SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP THROUGH DESIGN: EDUCATING STUDENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGE, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 3870-3877.
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