Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course introduces students to conceptual and practical perspectives on social innovation. The relationship between social enterprises and co-operatives is explored, and how these can be contributors to social innovation identified. Students are introduced to the central concept of social value, the Theory of Change tool, and to practices in social value accounting. Through exploring different types - incremental, institutional and disruptive - the role of social innovation in reshaping markets to bring about social change, and to move beyond extractive market relationships, is analysed. Alternative ways of organising to achieve this potential are explored, with particular reference to: design thinking and 'co' processes; platform co-operativism and 'tech for good'; legal identities; and social procurement. A framework for thinking about and planning for cycles of development in social innovation will also be provided. The course builds on and complements GSBS6411 and LEGL6005.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Trimester 3 - 2020.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the relationship, differences and similarities between social enterprises and cooperatives.

2. Understand the historical roots and contemporary trajectories of social innovation as a concept and as a field of practice.

3. Demonstrate an understanding of key social value concepts and practices, including the Theory of Change.

4. Analyse how different types of social innovation can contribute to reshaping markets in ways that bring about social change.

5. Explain key challenges in social innovation development cycles and identify potential strategies to manage these.


The topics in this course include the following:

  1. What are social enterprises; and how are they different from and similar to cooperatives?
  2. What is social innovation? An introduction
  3. Understanding ‘social value’ and Theory of Change concepts
  4. Accounting for social value: An introduction
  5. Rethinking markets: Beyond extractive relationships
  6. Social innovation case studies: Incremental, institutional and disruptive
  7. Alternative organising for social innovation (1): Introduction
  8. Alternative organising for social innovation (2): Design thinking and other ‘co’ processes
  9. Alternative organising for social innovation (3): Platform Co-operativism and ‘tech for
  10. Alternative organising for social innovation (4): Legal identities
  11. Alternative organising for social innovation (5): Social procurement
  12. Adaptation and resilience: Cycles of development in social innovation

Assumed knowledge

GSBS6411 Introduction to co-operative organisation and management - the co-operative advantage

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Generating a Social Value Statement Report

Written Assignment: "Alternative Organising" Case Study Essay

Presentation: Peer to Peer Learning Assignment

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.