Social UP - Design thinking for sustainability of ..
Social UP - Design thinking for sustainability of social enterprises
Start date: Sep 1, 2016,
End date: Aug 31, 2018
Nowadays, the "social economy" employs over 11 million people in the EU, accounting for 6% of total employment. The burgeoning interest in social entrepreneurship across Europe has been driven by the recognition of the role social enterprise can play in tackling societal achallenges, the global economic crisis, austerity measures and ongoing withdrawal of public agencies from supplying social services in tandem with new and growing social needs. With social enterprises focusing on a number of state-related services, their increasing number is expected to result in widespread gains for public budgets. According to European Commission, social enterprises in Europe is expected to constitute a dynamic entrepreneurial movement encapsulating the drive for new business models that combine economic activity with social mission, and the promotion of inclusive growth. However, the survival and growth of social enterprises is still hindered by several internal key constraints encompassing lack of viable business models, high reliance on the public sector as a source of income, lack of entrepreneurial spirit, skills and spesialised advisory services. With startup survival rates very low mainly due to being unable to target a real market need, creating a sustainable startup business model continuously ranks among the top-5 support needs of social enterprises, especially given social entrepreneurs’ innovative business ideas or plans based often on non-proven concepts, that investors often consider too risky. Clearly, there is a growing need to bring about new perspectives, tools, and approaches to strengthen social start-ups to survive and have access to investment markets. Constituting a human-centered, experimental interdisciplinary approach, offering entrepreneurs create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs, design thinking, specifically adapted for social enterprises, can unclock real impact.In this respect, the project will develop a design thinking-based training material in the form of a “Design Thinking Field Guide for Social Enterprises” that will provide target learners with all the necessary knowledge to motivate design thinking within social enterprises and thus, support them to grow, scale–up and prosper.The course will be structured in modules, in view of addressing the following objectives:• Raising awareness about the value and methodology of nurturing design thinking culture• Enabling social entrepreneurs to act as in-company design thinking facilitators and make use of the design thinking approach in view of creating and establishing sustainable business models with a proven concept • Upskilling and enabling design thinking practitioners, VET trainers and advisers of social enterprises to motivate innovation and design thinking to social enterprises, expanding their services• Cultivating entrepreneurial spirit and competences for social entrepreneurs • Broadening the horizons of the target learners to experience other innovative design thinking-led approaches The project and course will address the following target groups, either directly or indirectly:The direct target groups consist in: Social entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs; design thinking experts and practitioners; advisers of social entrerprises; VET trainersThe indirect target groups consist in: Social sector-related authorities and institutions; social partners; policy makers; members of the design thinking community including academics and researchers; end consumers (society). During the course of the project implementation, the following steps will be followed: an Inspiration Synthesis Report on needs, methods, tools and best practices, including the methodological framework for the training course will be drafted by partners (O1); based on O1 methodological framework the content of the training course in the form of a “Design Thinking Field Guide for Social Enterprises” will be developed and translated in all partner languages (O2); the “Design Thinking Field Guide for Social Enterprises” will be uploaded in the online interactive learning and training platform and validated through pilot workshops (O3). In a long-term perspective the project will:• Help social entrepreneurs have access to finance and impact investments and create sustainable revenue, grow and scale up • Enable social entrepreneurs, advisers and prospective advisers of social enterprises act as design thinking facilitators for social enterprises and, thus expand their services and career perspectives• Support local development and growth • Increase employability of staff in the social sector By its nature, social entrepreneurship creates value predominantly for the society as it tackles social issues and thus, supporting social entrepreneurship, the project will have a direct positive impact on the whole society.
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