We designed and tested a new service concept to help social enterprises become sustainable.
Enable more young people to become social entrepreneurs. This challenge was part of a human-centered design course created by Acumen and IDEO.org.
We developed a funding concept and got attitudinal validation from social entrepreneurs.
My eclectic teammates were:
Shikha Mittal (Master of Social Work Student)
Ismail Sayim (Master of Social Work Student)
Victoria Gray (Industrial Designer)
Jacob Lay (Acupuncturist)
What I Did
Designed network mapping activity
Facilitated ideation and idea selection
User interviews in context
Video editing for prototype
We sought to understand how social enterprises progress from idea to sustainability.
We interviewed social entrepreneurs in their workplaces.
I designed a relational mapping activity. When we used it in interviews with social entrepreneurs, we (and they!) uncovered fresh insights about their support networks.
After the interviews, we downloaded memorable quotes and observations.
We grouped them to identify patterns and insights.
We uncovered this key insight:
You can make an impact without making an income.
We reframed the problem around our key insight:
How might we help social entrepreneurs who are making an impact—but not making an income—move to financial sustainability?
A service that matches social entrepreneurs with corporate sponsors. Its value is providing sustainable income for social entrepreneurs to achieve their mission while giving companies the opportunity to enhance their brand by backing projects.
We brought our concept to life with this video:
We emailed a link to the video along with a survey to several people in different stages of social entrepreneurship. The results were positive, with a healthy dose of skepticism about whether funders would value the service as much as entrepreneurs.
If I were starting over, I would explore non-philanthropic pathways to sustainability. If this project were continuing, we would need to conduct research with potential funders, because viability depends on recruiting sponsors, so. Competitive analysis would be critical, because someone else might already be doing this.