As the final show of the postgraduate courses at the London College of Communication is beginning to unfold, I’d like to share the outcomes of the work that I’ve done during the past few months as part of the MDes Service Design Innovation course. The aim of my project was trying to understand what drives social entrepreneurs to undertake their entrepreneurial journeys and finding ways to support them in their early stages. Social ventures have the potential to address some of the major social and environmental challenges facing us both today and in the future. Yet, only a small number of new businesses choose to take this route, and there might be ways of encouraging more people to do so.
Through interviews and observation I’ve identified four key ‘personas’ commonly involved in creating a social venture. They may be involved as founders, employees or even mentors. They could be found working on the same venture, or perhaps each working on one of their own while sharing the same working environment. Out of the four personas, Miriam, the idealist, is the one that can really drive a social innovation project towards its intended goal. Her commitment to the social issue at hand will provide the necessary energy to persevere when times get tough, and keep focus on social impact. At the same time, she may lack the necessary skills to bring the project to fruition, which is where the other three can step in to help.
My proposed solution, Good Point, was developed to support people like Miriam in their early efforts and help them harness the knowledge and experiences of a wider entrepreneurial community. It is a service with an online platform at its core. It will allow inexperienced entrepreneurs to share their social innovation concepts with an online community of entrepreneurs, mentors, developers, and others involved in social innovation for feedback and support. It will help them think through ideas by presenting them with a series of questions provided by the community. As part of the service, they will be able to download a supporting toolkit and go through a similar process off-line.
You can read more about my research and development of the solution in my final report. You’re also very welcome to try out the interactive prototype of the Good Point platform. I would love to hear your thoughts about the project, so please, feel free to share in the comments below.