Social Entrepreneurship: A Beautiful Mess

FOSTERING A CULTURE OF CREATIVITY THROUGH TRANSDISCIPLINARY EDUCATION
Author:
Mindy Magyar
Company/School:
Rochester Institute of Technology

Mindy Magyar
Rochester Institute of Technology

1.     introduction

This paper describes a Social Entrepreneurship course taught during the Fall 2014 semester at University [name withheld for blind review]. With most of its students identifying as either business or design majors, the course evolved into a truly transdisciplinary course. The students, both undergraduates and graduates, worked closely with one another throughout the entire semester, sharing knowledge and building solutions together to address societal problems. The educational outcomes were extremely favorable and, in some ways, surprising. While the instructor encouraged collaboration and peer learning, the extent to which students learned from one another was unanticipated. Design and business students alike gained a deep understanding of design thinking and its relationship to social entrepreneurship by sharing their perspectives both inside and outside of the physical classroom. Furthermore, their interest in extrapolating the benefits of design methods to scenarios beyond social entrepreneurship was also impressive.

Horst Rittel coined the term "wicked problems" in the 1970s to describe the complex problems associated with open societal systems. "The problems of governmental planning—and especially those of social or policy planning—are ill-defined; and they rely upon elusive political judgment for resolution" (1973). While wicked problems are by definition unique, they all share common characteristics. For instance, they are difficult to formulate, open to interpretation, and symptomatic of other problems. Furthermore, their solutions are never right or wrong, but rather better or worse (1973). They are...read more.