About this Course
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Beginner Level

Approx. 9 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week...


Subtitles: English

Skills you will gain

Market AnalysisBusiness ModelBusiness ModelingSocial Entrepreneurship

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Beginner Level

Approx. 9 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week...


Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

2 hours to complete


Learn about the key qualities of social innovation, social enterprise, and social entrepreneurs. How do social entrepreneurs approach problem solving? How might we identify social initiatives that are truly innovative in their approach to delivering on their mission, sustaining their venture, or scaling their impact? This module introduces the topic and offers examples of initiatives you might study as cases organizations throughout the course.

9 videos (Total 39 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
9 videos
1.1 Introduction to Social Innovation6m
1.2 Traditional approaches to public problem solving4m
1.3 A social entrepreneur's approach to problem solving6m
1.4 Introduction to the social enterprise and the social enterprise spectrum6m
1.5 The Importance of the business model1m
1.6 Traits of social enterprise across the spectrum6m
1.7. Meet Carlos and Coco2m
1.8. Anatomy of a Social Entrepreneur2m
1 reading
Recommended Readings for Week 1. Introduction10m
1 practice exercise
Week 1 Quiz: Introduction to Social Innovation, Enterprise, and Entrepreneurship40m
2 hours to complete

Define and Design

Learn the inputs and basic blueprints of a well-articulated vision. Develop an understanding of the design process, and learn to use an empathy map and a mind map for client-oriented innovation. Learn to build a logic model, which will help you articulate your innovation's theory of change from resources (inputs) to activities to impact. We encourage students to apply these tools immediately, to an active or idea-stage social initiative, that you are working directly on or that you admire.

13 videos (Total 70 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
13 videos
2.2 Why is Design Thinking Important for Social Innovation?4m
2.3 How to Design Part 1: Spark Useful Insights by Listening with Empathy5m
2.4 How to Design Part 2: Identify the Most Powerful Insights and Potential Solutions by Building a Mind Map6m
2.5 How to Design Part 3: Prototyping3m
2.6 Embracing Creativity and Innovation3m
2.7 Articulating your Roadmap to Impact: The Logic Model3m
2.8 The Logic Model: Critical Elements6m
2.9 The Logic Model: How to Use It7m
2.10 Three Examples of Logic Models10m
2.11 Tips for Building a Strong Logic Model2m
2.12. Carlos and Coco Define and Design (Part 1: Listening with Empathy, Empathy Maps, and Mind Maps)7m
2.13. Carlos and Coco Define and Design (Part 2. Prototyping and Logic Models)4m
1 reading
Recommended Readings for Week 2: Define and Design10m
1 practice exercise
Week 2 Quiz: Finding Innovations and the Road to Impact30m
2 hours to complete

Pilot and Scale

We must test our ideas in the real world, early and often, to determine if they can truly deliver on either their social or financial mission. Learn to build and use the balanced scorecard, a key tool to assess the real-world performance of a social innovation. The scorecard will allow you to measure and articulate both the initiative's current reach and health, as well as the work that is left to be done. An innovation achieves the intended social impact in a way that is financially supportable may be a candidate for scale. Learn to assess whether and how to approach scale for your social innovation.

11 videos (Total 52 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
11 videos
3.2 A Third Approach to Measuring Performance: The Balanced Scorecard4m
3.3 Examples of Balanced Scorecards7m
3.4 How to Develop a Balanced Scorecard - Overview2m
3.5 How to Develop a Balanced Scorecard - Detail7m
3.6 What is Scale?3m
3.7 The Importance of Scale in the Social Sector2m
3.8 Five Approaches to Scale - Overview3m
3.9 Five Approaches to Scale - Details and Implications5m
3.10 Approaching Scale Critically4m
3.11. Carlos and Coco Pilot and Scale (Scorecard, Marketing Matrix, and Customer Segmentation)5m
1 reading
Recommended Readings for Week 3. Pilot and Scale10m
1 practice exercise
Week 3 Quiz: Performance Measurement and Scale28m
2 hours to complete

Sector Selection and Business Models

This course concludes with an exploration of the organizational forms and modes of delivering impact across the business model spectrum.

15 videos (Total 73 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
15 videos
4.2 Features of the Business Model3m
4.3 Business Models along the Business Model Spectrum4m
4.4 Choosing a Model - Introduction5m
4.5 Choosing a Model - How to Choose5m
4.6 Drilling Down on Assessment 2: Competitive Positioning6m
4.7 Competitive Positioning: Market Characteristics and Differentiation4m
4.8 An Example of Competitive Positioning: Blue Avocado5m
4.9 An Example of Competitive Positioning: Jolkona4m
4.10 Key Criteria of Competitive Positioning Assessment2m
4.11 Choosing a Model - Pathways Lead to Many Organizational Forms that Can Result5m
4.12 Balancing Mission and Profit1m
4.13.Carlos and Coco Choose a Business Model8m
4.14 The bottom line54s
4.15. Key Questions all Social Innovators Must Ask5m
1 reading
Recommended Readings for Week 4. Sector Selection and Business Models10m
1 practice exercise
Week 4 Quiz: Sector Selection and Business Models26m
96 ReviewsChevron Right


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Top reviews from Social Impact Strategy: Tools for Entrepreneurs and Innovators

By ANov 2nd 2017

Wonderful!!! A great way to organize your thoughts and make your plan more efficient if you want to make a social impact. Thanks Coursera for offering this great tool for social entrepreneurs!

By LHMay 30th 2017

Very informative with lots of practical touch points and examples! I genuinely enjoyed taking part in this online course and it has significantly shaped my own research for my master's degree.



Peter Frumkin

Nonprofit Leadership Program, School of Social Policy & Practice

About University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn) is a private university, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. A member of the Ivy League, Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and considers itself to be the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

  • This is the only Coursera class that invites students who complete the course to apply for an in-person educational experience, called the Global Social Impact House: http://socialimpactstrategy.org/residential/gsih.

  • The course is available on the following dates:

    Oct 3 - Nov 7

    Oct 31 - Dec 5

    Nov 28 - Jan 2

    Dec 26 - Jan 30

    Jan 23 - Feb 27

    Feb 20 - Mar 27

  • No, you do not have to pay for the certificate. You simply have to complete the course and apply for consideration. For more information on the Global Social Impact House, please visit: socialimpactstrategy.org/residential/gsih

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