Becoming a Systems Entrepreneur - Implementation, Scaling and Systems Impact

Creating positive impact is the ultimate purpose of social innovation. It’s time to get serious about solutions that match the scale of the problems we face.

  • How can successful but isolated innovations be amplified and scaled?
  • How can change agents shift the fundamental structures and culture at the root of social problems?
  • How can you as an innovator better create and capitalize on political opportunities for impact?
  • In this module, you’ll dive deeper into your potential as a systems entrepreneur to redirect resources, influence policy and shift cultural beliefs. You’ll develop a social innovation strategy canvas—revisiting the different change levers and leadership roles in your context, preparing to implement change when system conditions are ripe, and honing strategies for embedding innovation and achieving scale.

    Among the key themes you’ll explore are brokering innovation into institutions, business models to scale impact, policy change, and the important role of evaluation and organizational learning (including developmental evaluation). Since effective communication is critical for social impact, you’ll learn how to structure and deliver compelling pitches for your innovation. You’ll also listen to other pitches, gain from the insights and feedback of your peers, and leave inspired by the network of social innovators of which you’re now a part.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
3 TBA $995.00 0 -

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Understand the roles played by a systems entrepreneur
  • Identify levers for change in your system, including financial, legal, policy and cultural opportunities
  • Develop strategies to apply during different phases of your social innovation initiative
  • Differentiate between scaling out (replication, franchising), scaling up (policy change) and scaling deep (cultural change) and clarify the array of strategies available for widening impact
  • Understand when and how different kinds of evaluation and organizational learning processes can be used to hone and scale social innovations
  • Succinctly and compellingly communicate about your social innovation/systemic change work
  • Analyze and provide real-time feedback to peers on strategies for deepening impact
  • Use somatic, awareness-based and experiential practices in support of social innovation

How will I learn?

  • Advance readings
  • Individual and group exercises
  • Case studies
  • Mini-lectures
  • Group discussion

Who should take this course?

This course is suitable for those in the public, private and non-profit sectors who want to deepen their impact, measure and communicate the value of their social innovation and identify levers for change in their system.

How will I be evaluated?

You will be evaluated based on your class participation, in-class assignments and a post-class reflection assignment.

If you are taking this course as part of the Social Innovation Certificate program, you may need to complete additional assignments outside of class time in order to graduate.

Textbooks and learning materials

The following books are strongly recommended for certificate students and for individual registrants. The required readings will be provided through Canvas, your online learning platform. 

brown, adrienne maree. Emergent Strategy: Shaping change, changing worlds. AK Press, 2017.

Etmanski, Al. Impact: Six Patterns to Spread Your Social Innovation. Orwell Cove Publishing, 2015.

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions, 2015. (We suggest the audiobook, read by the author to capture the beauty of the storytelling and oral tradition).

Sutherland, Kate. We Can Do This! 10 Tools to Unleash Our Collective Genius. Incite Press, 2017.

Hear more about this course

Related program(s)

Look at other courses in