Explore the work of a transformative entrepreneur or startup,


Students will work individually towards a 2200-3000 word essay to be submitted by 21 March 2019, 4pm. This essay is a summative form of assessment and will comprise 100% of the final mark. The essay will focus on one of two tasks chosen by the student:

1)    Case Study: explore the work of a transformative entrepreneur or startup, building on the questions, frameworks and insights from the module, as well as on secondary data and/or original interviews (where possible). The goal is to analyze the transformative dimensions of the person or enterprise, and provide insights into the scalable nature of the activity. The Case Study option can also be used on your own start-up.

2)    Feasibility Analysis: identify and explore the nature of an addressable problem within a specific context. The starting point could be a country, an SDG, a social problem, a global challenge. You will use tools from the course to drill down and find the boundaries of an opportunity, and examine the feasibility of a solution (s). This will require you to display understanding of how a context (social, cultural, institutional) shapes the entrepreneurial opportunity.


Transformative dimensions=如何造福社会。

Scalable Nature=扩展性,比如能否用于其他国家或地区用Ansoff Matrix分析

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SESSION 1: How can startups change the world?

Session overview:

This session will provide the introduction to the module and the overview of the theory of transformative entrepreneurship through lecture, discussion of case studies and group exercises. What is transformative entrepreneurship? How does it differ with more conventional, dominant forms of entrepreneurial action or with “transformational” Silicon Valley entrepreneurship that changes markets and behaviours through scalable technologies? What is it that we should set out to change in the world? And what are some key examples of transformative ventures? The session will look at the landscape of different forms of entrepreneurship (traditional, social, sustainable) along with examples of entrepreneurial practices to critically explore the notion of transformative entrepreneurship. It will be argued that the values and philosophy of sustainable global prosperity can offer a profound compass for transformative entrepreneurship. Students will be challenged to develop and deepen their own understanding of transformative entrepreneurial objectives and of how to link such objectives to tangible business models that, while typically departing from local activities and underpinnings, can extend and grow to address global challenges.   


Key readings:

Dees G. (2001) ‘The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship’. Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, available at: https://centers.fuqua.duke.edu/case/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2015/03/Article_Dees_MeaningofSocialEntrepreneurship_2001.pdf

Marmer M. (2012) ‘Transformational Entrepreneurship: Where Technology Meets Societal Impact’. Harvard Business Review, 23 April 2012, available at: https://hbr.org/2012/04/transformational-entrepreneurs


Other readings:

Bornstein D. (2013) ‘Beyond Profit: A Talk With Muhammad Yunus’. New York Times, 17 April 2013. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/beyond-profit-a-talk-with-muhammadyunus/?_r=0

Dean T.J. & McMullen J.S. (2007) Toward a theory of sustainable entrepreneurship: Reducing environmental degradation through entrepreneurial action, Journal of Business Venturing 22(1): 50-76.

Doherty B., Haugh H. & Lyon F. (2014) Social Enterprises as Hybrid Organizations: A Review and Research Agenda, International Journal of Management Reviews 16(4): 417-436.

Flannery M. (2007) Kiva and the Birth of Person-to-Person Microfinance, Innovations 2(1-2): 31–56.

Harry N. (2015) Pioneering the Youth and Technology Movement in Africa and Beyond (Case Narrative), Innovations 10(1–2): 61–73.

Jackson T. (2016) Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet (Revised Edition). London: Routledge.

Marquis C. & Park A. (2014) Inside the Buy-One Give-One Model, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2014: 28-33, available at: http://www.people.hbs.edu/cmarquis/inside_the_buy_one_give_one_model.pdf.

Naudé W. (2010) Entrepreneurship, developing countries, and development economics: new approaches and insights, Small Business Economics 34: 1–12.

Nicholls A. (2010) Fair Trade: Towards an Economics of Virtue, Journal of Business Ethics 92(S2): 241–55.

Pedersen E.R., Gwozdz W. & Hvass K. (2016) Exploring the Relationship Between Business Model Innovation, Corporate Sustainability, and Organisational Values, Journal of Business Ethics: 267-284.

Surman M., Gardner C. & Ascher D. (2014) Local Content, Smartphones, and Digital Inclusion, Innovations 9(3–4): 63–74.

Yunus M. (2003) Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty. New York: Public Affairs.

Zahra S.A, Gedajlovic E., Neubaum D. & Shulman J.M. (2009) A typology of social entrepreneurs: Motives, search processes and ethical challenges, Journal of Business Venturing 24(5): 519-532.

SESSION 2:  How can small companies address global challenges?

Session overview:

This session will mobilize a lecture, discussions, city walk and a group exercise to explore how entrepreneurial approaches can be used to help tackle the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the urban context. How do entrepreneurs identify the addressable problem that forms the centre of an enterprise? How do they arrive at transformative business ideas? The lecture will look at the interplays between global challenges and local entrepreneurial practices. Students will learn about the theory behind searching for business models that will drive the most positive impact and also create profitable solutions. City walk and group work will be used to identify key challenges and devise entrepreneurial problem statements. Groups will explore different areas in Bloomsbury and develop approaches to tackle challenges within them.


Key readings:

VOLANS (2016) Breakthrough business models: exponentially more social, lean, integrated and circular. London: Business and Sustainable Development Commission, available at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/aws-bsdc/Volans_Breakthrough_Business_Models_Report_September-2016-updated-4-Oct-2016.pdf

UN (2015) Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities, available at: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-11-sustainable-cities-and-communities.html


Other readings:

Moore H.L. (2015) Global Prosperity and Sustainable Development Goals: Global Prosperity and SDGs, Journal of International Development 27(6): 801–15.

Shane S. (2000) Prior Knowledge and the Discovery of Entrepreneurial Opportunities. Organization Science 11(4): 448–69.

Shepherd D.A. & Patzelt H. (2017) Trailblazing in Entrepreneurship: Creating New Paths for Understanding the Field. Cham: Plagrave MacMillan.

Visser W. (2017) Innovation Pathways Towards Creating Integrated Value: A Conceptual Framework, International Humanistic Management Association, Research Paper Series No. 17-41.


Video clips:   

1.    Carolyn Steel on TED: How Food Shapes Our Cities https://www.ted.com/talks/carolyn_steel_how_food_shapes_our_cities

2.    Dan Pallota on TED: The way we think about charity is dead wrong https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong

3.     Michael Green on TED: How we can make the world a better place by 2030 https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_green_how_we_can_make_the_world_a_better_place_by_2030

SESSION 3: How to launch an impactful business

Session overview:

This session will comprise a lecture and a field trip. It will explore what it takes to start an organisation, raise finance and navigate regulatory environments. It will examine where how entrepreneurs change ideas into opportunities, how they operate in different environments and mobilise entrepreneurial networks. What are the first steps in launching an enterprise? How does one go about securing finance and resources?  How do enterprise frameworks hold up to the multi-layered challenges typically tackled by transformative entrepreneurs? How can entrepreneurs partner effectively to build value around their idea? What skills and attitudes do they require to achieve that? Following the lecture students will map the process of setting up an enterprise in a real life environment. They will visit Growing Underground, a subterranean urban farm located 100ft under the streets of London. One of the co-founders of the company will introduce them to some of the necessary steps and challenges involved in launching a business. 


Key readings:

Belz F.M. & Binder J.K. (2015) Sustainable Entrepreneurship: A Convergent Process Model, Business Strategy and the Environment 26(1): 1-117.

Osterwalder A. and Pigneur Y. (2010) Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons [pages 15-41]


Other readings:

Albert L.S., Dean T.J. & Baron R.A. (2016) From Social Value to Social Cognition: How Social Ventures Obtain the Resources They Need for Social Transformation, Journal of Social Entrepreneurship 7(3): 289–311.

Austin J., Stevenson H. & Wei-Skillern J. (2006) Social and Commercial Entrepreneurship: Same, Different, or Both?, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 30(1): 1-22.

Dorado S. (2006) Social Entrepreneurial Ventures: Different Values So Different Process of Creation, No?, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship 11(4): 319–43.

Prahalad C.K. & Krishnan M.S. (2008) The New Age of Innovation. Driving Co-Created Value through Global Networks. London: McGraw-Hill

Yunus M., Moingeon B. & Lehmann-Ortega L. (2010) Building Social Business Models: Lessons from the Grameen Experience, Long Range Planning 43(2-3): 308-25.

Zott C. and Nguyen Huy Q. (2007) ‘How Entrepreneurs Use Symbolic Management to Acquire Resources’. Administrative Science Quarterly 52(1): 70-105. 

SESSION 4: How to understand the market: business analysis and customer insights

Session overview:

This session brings together a lecture, discussion of case studies and group work to familiarize students with customer development methods. Students will learn how to shape and refine ideas using a variety of tools. They will work in groups to test an idea for a company – a dream company of their own, an imaginary concept or an existing one. A set of easy steps including the use of business analysis tools, qualitative research methods and rapid quantitative surveys will take each group from an initial idea to its validation and customer development. Students will learn how to detect need states, trace cultural trends and build narratives of change, as well as how to create empathy with consumers, their journeys and experiences.


Key readings:

Almquist E., Senior J. & Bloch N. (2016) The Elements of Value, Harvard Business Review, September 2016: 46–53, available at: https://hbr.org/2016/09/the-elements-of-value

Alvarez C. (2014) Lean Customer Development. Building Products Your Customers Will Buy.  Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly [Chapters 2-4].


Other readings:

Bhide A. (2009) The Venturesome Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 

Blank S. (2006) The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Lulu.com [Chapter 2, p. 15-26].

Brinkmann S. & Kvale S. (2018) Doing Interviews. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [Chapter 5, p. 57-72].

Cooper B.  & Vlaskovits P. (2010) The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A cheat sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Menlo Park, CA: Cooper-Vlaskovits.

Holt D. & Cameron D. (2010) Cultural Strategy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Horowitz B. (2014) The Hard Thing about Hard Things. New York: Harper Business.

Neergaard H. & Parm Ulhøi J. (2007) Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Entrepreneurship. Cheltenham and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Osterwalder A., Pigneur Y., Bernarda G. & Smith A. (2014) Value Proposition Design. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Ries E. (2011) The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses. London: Portfolio Penguin.

Thiel P. & Maters B. (2014) From Zero to One. New York: Crown Publishing.


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