A summer school with a difference: How to design “good” innovations

This summer, SOAS will hold its first full-fledged summer school on social entrepreneurship, running from the 6th to the 24th of July. Full details and application instructions can be found here. The official long title of the summer school is Social Entrepreneurship: Enlightened Organisational Frameworks for Sustainable Prosperity’. Applications are expected from a diverse range of prospective students (including mature students and science & engineering majors) from around the world, some of whom will be completely new to the world of social innovation and impact while others will have significant entrepreneurial and/or non-entrepreneurial work experience.

Tuukka is excited to act as the main coordinator of this year’s programme. Beyond delivering a highly accessible ‘crash course’ on social entrepreneurship and innovation theory (based on a review of leading journal articles and books), a key purpose of the programme is to help students develop their own approach to distinguishing between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ innovations. While it may at first glance seem almost an impossible task to evaluate economic activities in such seemingly moral terms–especially at a time of immense dynamism and complexity–the point is to begin to understand in more detail how the organisational design choices we make can lead to dramatically different social and ecological consequences.For example, a bank that offers standard services to savers and borrowers can choose to invest most of its money into social impact projects (as in the case of Triodos Bank); a new tech-driven taxi service can make pro-active choices on how to contribute positively to local communities and the environment; and an online marketplace can promote the sharing of unused electronic appliances (such as power drills or amplifiers) between neighbours as opposed to just selling more stuff for stuff’s sake.

The summer school proposes that developing a strong innovation literacy is an important priority for students who wish to positively contribute to today’s dynamic hybrid economy that offers abundant possibilities for both value creation and value destruction. How we ‘format’ our entrepreneurial organisations–and indeed how we choose our future employers–matters a great deal socially, ecologically and economically. Unpacking their organisational designs (and the socio-technical assemblages that make them work) is an endeavour that can empower those who wish to bring about sustainable futures around the world.

Students who enroll in this year’s summer school will benefit not only from the critical, even radical, academic culture of SOAS, University of London, but also from proximity to the wider social innovation ecosystem of London. Accordingly, an impressive cast of leading academic experts and practitioners are currently being invited from institutions such as the University of Oxford, University College London (Institute for Global Prosperity), London School of Economics (Department of Management), the New Economics Foundation, Nesta and Impact Hub Islington to share their work with students, and tours will be organised to take students to important “hotspots” and interesting events beyond the classroom.

At least two to three summer school sessions will be dedicated to clarifying how impact can also be achieved through the organisational designs of so-called impact labs and hubs, important cases of which can be found not only in Europe and North America but also in Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.

*This post was originally published in slightly different form on Tuukka’s website at

Please find below an abbreviated version of the schedule for the summer school.

Week 1 (starting 01/07/15)

Monday: Welcome Day.

Tuesday: “What is Social Entrepreneurship?”.

Wednesday: “(Digital) Social Innovation in Action: The case of GovFaces” Guest Speaker Connor Sattely from GovFaces

Thursday: “Designing Business Models with Purpose”. Guest Speaker Chris Busch from LSE. Followed by a Thames river cruise.

Friday: Personal Study. Afternoon “Hub Crawl” at London’s 3 Impact Hubs


Week 2 (starting 13/07/15)

Monday: “Systems Change: Disrupting the economy for social good”.

Tuesday: “Sustainable Finance”. Guest Speaker Tony Greenham from the New Economics Foundation

Wednesday: “From Social Impact to Sustainable Prosperity”. Guest Speakers Dr Konrad Miciuiewicz and Dr. Mary Davies of UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity

Thursday: “The Social Investment Market: Opportunities & Challenges”. Guest Speaker investor and venture capital expert Shantanu Bhagwat

Friday: Activity.


Week 3 (starting 20/07/15)

Monday: “’Good’ vs. ‘evil’ in economic life and philosophy”.

Tuesday: “’Good’ vs. ‘evil’ enterprise models: SE cases”.

Wednesday: “’Good’ vs. ‘evil’ enterprise models: Digital startups”.

Thursday: “Creating the next economy: Sustainability transitions”. Guest Speaker Dr. Le-Yin Zhang presents on Carbon Transitions. Followed by a farewell reception.

Please find below a selection of profiles of the guest speaker.


Profile of the coordinator and main lecturer Dr Tuukka Toivonen (@Tuukka_T)

Tuukka Toivonen, born in Finland, holds a PhD in social policy from the University of Oxford and works as an assistant professor of international management at the Department of Financial and Management Studies, SOAS, University of London. Prior to joining SOAS he served as the Director of the MA in Social Entrepreneurship programme at Goldsmiths, University of London. His organizational research examines innovation hubs, labs, and youth startups to better understand their transformative potential in the face of global sustainability challenges. Tuukka is the author of Japan’s Emerging Youth Policy: Getting Young Adults Back to Work (Routledge, 2013) and a member of Impact Hub Westminster as well as a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts. He co-founded the Entrepreneurial Spaces & Collectivities research group with Lidia Gryszkiewicz, Nicolas Friederici and colleagues in mid-2014. Earlier, he co-founded the large-scale youth entrepreneurship community Kansai RISE in Osaka, Japan. Tuukka’s work has been published in outlets such as the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, Social Politics, Japan Forum and Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Christian Busch

Dr. Christian Busch is the Associate Director at the London School of Economics’ (LSE) Innovation and Co-Creation Lab, where he works with governments, enterprises, and social enterprises to develop scalable inclusive business models, and he teaches several MSc- and exec. ed.- courses at LSE. He was co-founder of Sandbox, where as Head of Community Development he developed the hub-based structure and expanded it into 20 countries. He has been named as one of Diplomatic Courier’s “Top 99 Influencers under 33”, JCI London’s “Ten Outstanding Persons”, a TEDster. A recent talk on “Integrating profit & purpose” can be found here:, and a recent interview on The Guardian here: Previously, he worked in consulting & business in Kenya, S. Africa, Mexico, Russia, Germany, the US, and guest-lectured at ESADE (Spain), Peking University (China), and Strathmore (Kenya). He received his PhD from the LSE, and his work has been published by journals such as IJEV & featured by Le Monde, AP, Guardian, Der Spiegel, France24, WIRED, Harvard Business Review.

Shantanu Bhagwat

Shantanu Bhagwat has spent almost 15 years in venture capital, including five years looking at exciting opportunities in the impact investing space. Currently a Venture Partner with Nesta Impact Investments, Shantanu remains active as an angel investor and advisor/board member at several startups. Shantanu lectures about a wide range of topics at universities in London, including: how to start and scale a social business/enterprise; how to seek social investment; and how to think about some of the natural tensions between (social) investors and (social) entrepreneurs.

Connor Sattely


Connor Sattely, the COO of GovFaces, has been working with emerging “civic tech” for several years in the UK, Europe, Switzerland. He advocates internationally for the role technology can play in improving governance and civic society. GovFaces is a Swiss political social network dedicated to creating better communication between citizens and politicians. After a successful launch during the 2014 European Parliament elections, during which the platform was used by 100 politicians from 21 countries, the platform has now launched domestically at the United Kingdom.

Konrad Miciukiewicz



Dr Konrad Miciukiewicz – is Research Associate at the UCL Institute of Global Prosperity. Before joining UCL he worked as a strategist and a copywriter at several advertising agencies and as a researcher at the Global Urban Research Unit in Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. His research interests concern social innovation, transdisciplinary urban studies, participatory planning, and qualitative methods of social research. He has published in Urban Studies, Cities, International Planning Studies and Journal of Urban Design.

Le-Yin Zhang


Le-Yin Zhang has a first degree (BSc in Geography) from the Beijing Normal University and a PhD (in Planning Studies) from the University of London. Before joining UCL in 1997, She had previously worked on full-time basis for: Zhejiang Institute of Education, PRC; Constance University, Germany; University of Greenwich, UK. She has also served as a consultant for a variety of international organisations and national and local governments. She is a development economist specialising in economic development and the management of cities. Her publications range from inward foreign direct investment, industrialisation and clustering; Chinese economic reform, the central-local fiscal relationship and economic development in Shanghai; relationships between climate change, industrialisation, the green economy, low-carbon transitions and city development strategies (see Publications list for full details). She has teaching, research and consultancy experiences in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany, Egypt, Iran, Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, as well as the UK.

Tony Greenham

Toni Greenham

Tony is Associate Director, Economy and Finance at NEF, leading the programme of research into reforming the financial sector and aligning the interests of society and business. In addition to the programme areas of banking reform, monetary policy, community currencies and sustainable financial markets, he has research interests in local and regional development, and post-growth economics.


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