How can I get involved in social & cultural entrepreneurship?

What sets social innovation apart from other forms innovation and entrepreneurial thought are the understanding of complex social issues and the actions that individuals and teams take to create meaningful and lasting change on the world around us.

Additionally, over the past several years, design thinking has emerged as an iterative and innovative tool in social innovation work around our campus and around the world. Historically, designers have traditionally focused on enhancing the appearance and function of things. Now, designers are using their tools to tackle more complex problems like homelessness, poverty, transportation, and healthcare. Design thinkers look for a work-around and improvise solutions that others might not easily see. They hypothesize solutions, ideate and create, and maintain a constant feedback loop.

At Illinois, the new Siebel Center for Design (SCD) is one component of a larger, cross-campus multidisciplinary effort to harness the potential of design thinking and design learning. SCD channels students’ outstanding talents to develop expertise, passion and creativity toward issues and lives of consequence. Students from across campus and all field of student have the opportunity to explore ideas and master skills through action by immersing, designing, making and doing.

Interested in diving deeper in the social innovation, impact and design thinking? The following are just a sampling of courses that that students at Illinois can take advantage of to sharpen their skills in these impact areas:

  • ART 310: Design Thinking
  • BUS 199: Marketplace Literacy and Social Innovation 
  • CMN 312: Communicating for Innovation
  • FAA 102: Design Beyond Boundaries
  • GCL 145: Social Justice and the Arts
  • IT 490: Entrepreneurial IT Design
  • IT 490: Playful Design Methods
  • SOC 160: Global Inequalities and Social Change
  • SOCW 321: Social Entrepreneurship and Social Change
  • TE 401: Design Thinking for Social Innovation