BSEO 2012: Social Entrepreneurship: Inclusive Innovation and Urban Economic Development

BSEO 2012 – Social Entrepreneurship: Inclusive Innovation and Urban Economic Development – 1.5 credits

Paul T. Harper, Clinical Assistant Professor of Organizations and Entrepreneurship (ptharper@katz.pitt.edu)

This course is designed for MBAs who are interested in using social, political, and cultural analysis and understanding to initiate or innovate commercial organizations. The phenomenon of social entrepreneurship has grown in its visibility over the past couple of decades. This is true in the US and across the globe. Fundamentally, social entrepreneurship is about using business acumen and problem-solving techniques to tackle social, environmental, and political issues. While non-profit organizations are considered a part of the field of social entrepreneurship, many of the most interesting challenges remain in the establishment of companies and institutions that are successfully producing economic profit as well as increasing social well-being and decreasing negative environmental impacts. Since this course is taught in the graduate business program its emphasis will be on financially sustainable models as well as non-profits and government organizations and private/public partnerships aimed at growing the commercial sphere. What will distinguish this course among the group of social entrepreneurship offerings available across the PITT campus is its reliance on “Inclusive Innovation” as its intellectual frame and also its practitioner methodology. Inclusive innovation represents the leading edge of social innovation and is becoming prominent in regional and global economic efforts, for example those led by The World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Inclusive Innovation as a concept allows for a deeper engagement with the humanity of those who have been excluded from the social and economic fabric of a given municipality. The concept pushes those who have power and resources to use that platform to give “voice” to those who cannot be heard, “visibility” to those who are generally not seen, “recognition” to those often pushed aside, and “esteem” to those who are generally treated with condescension and marked with stigma.