MBA Emphasis in Social Innovation

three students in a classroom setting

Social Innovation is a relatively new field focused on applying business skills and innovation capabilities to meet society’s unmet needs. Social innovators need the ability to work seamlessly across business, government, and non-profit organizations to integrate the skills and perspectives of each sector. Social innovation focuses on the processes of innovation, incorporating perspectives such as design thinking, systems thinking, and collaborative management.

This skills-oriented emphasis is designed for social entrepreneurs, and for early to mid-career professionals working in businesses, social change organizations, and other organizations, hoping to develop business skills to address social problems and opportunities.

Participants in this emphasis learn to:

  • articulate the business case for social innovation to senior management or in one's own entrepreneurial organization
  • promote creativity/innovation in an organization
  • apply the tools and concepts of creative problem formulation/solving to complex social challenges and opportunities
  • communicate findings to diverse audiences
  • Implement social innovations in new or existing organizations

In addition to the core MBA requirements, students complete three emphasis courses and two electives approved by a Social Innovation Emphasis adviser.

Core Courses

  • IBUS 841: Creativity for Managers-A Global Perspective - Recognize, analyze, and support the value-adding determinants of creative behavior in global context; techniques for enacting and fostering productive creativity. Basic design thinking and problem formulation and solving theory and skills.
  • MGMT 863: Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship - Exploration of how entrepreneurial individuals and companies find innovative methods to leverage scarce resources in the pursuit of social values.
  • MGMT 858: Innovation for Sustainability - Focus on business innovation to meet society's emerging needs. Application of design thinking and innovation to the challenges of creating a more sustainable society and the emerging opportunities for business to become an innovative force in addressing social and environmental problems.

Suggested Electives

  • BUS 899: Independent Study. Applied social innovation project.
  • IBUS 868: Strategies in Emerging and Developing Economies
  • MGMT 855: Emerging Issues in Business: Ethics in Decision Making
  • MGMT 855: Emerging Issues in Business: Business Models for Social Innovation
  • MGMT 848: Seminar in Leadership Patterns and Opportunities
  • MKTG 888: Product Development and Management

Faculty Advisers

  • Bruce Heiman
  • Geoffrey Desa