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Social Innovation Consultants

Module titleSocial Innovation Consultants
Module codeGEO2453
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Michael Leyshon (Convenor)

Miss Antonia Coppen (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

How can we build socially sustainable and resilient communities? That is the key challenge of this module. Following the economic downturn stemming from the 2008 global financial crisis, the UK Government has implemented a range of austerity measures. These are affecting the ways in which local authorities meet the demands placed upon them. With the constraints of reduced budgets, local authorities are now exploring ways in which to work with the voluntary and third sector to provide support to communities by stimulating new forms of social innovation and a culture of volunteerism. Despite these efforts, the challenges of training, organising and retaining volunteers in communities are highly complex. Furthermore, how to provide services through the voluntary and third sector, especially in remote or rural locations like Cornwall, is a huge challenge. Acting as trainee consultants you will learn how to interact and consult with professionals, and how to influence the management of key resources by conducting social asset evaluations to enable communities to identify priorities for places. You will help to introduce strategies to manage resources and places more effectively, increase the geographical reach of scarce resources and positively affect communities. The module reflects the interdisciplinary nature of research on the campus and is complimentary to a variety of other modules that focus on the community more widely.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the Social Innovation Consultants module is to enable students who have an interest in working in the social sustainability and community sector to develop the technical and transferable skill sets required through a formal learning process before embarking on work experience with a relevant organisation. You will gain an invaluable experience of the sector and develop a range of transferable career skills.

Social Innovation Consultants involves facilitated experiential learning with a multi-disciplinary student body drawn from range of degrees and year groups. Here it offers you the opportunity to apply learnt consulting skills in a real community setting by working alongside real clients in small consulting teams to deliver live social outputs on campus. Following on from this you will capitalise on these skills and experiences by undertaking a suitable industry-based placement.

The sector can be highly competitive so if you take the module you will also experience a realistic selection process prior to the training to enable this learning experience.

As a trainee consultant you will learn how to carry out social asset audits as well as develop a skill set as a change agent. Moreover, as this programme is socially and community-orientated, your professional and voluntary skills will also be further developed. Understanding and learning how to effect sustainable change in a business is another key part. The Social Innovation Consultants programme provides you with an amazing opportunity to develop your CV and build a greater understanding of this field of work making this a very competitive programme.

The Social Innovation Consultants programme is designed to give you:

  • An awareness of selection methods for roles in the sector
  • Basic level knowledge on social auditing
  • Techniques for instigating organisational and behavioural change
  • Skills and knowledge to be effective change agents within organisations
  • An opportunity to apply learned materials in a business setting delivering real tangible business outcomes
  • The chance to develop consultancy level skill sets and experiences
  • Increased confidence and effective approaches to operating in a professional context
  • Valuable experience and opportunities within the voluntary and community sector
  • Access to a support network of like-minded individuals passionate about creating social change

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Consult effectively with a client and develop a project brief
  • 2. Conduct basic level social asset evaluations
  • 3. Complete a local project delivering live social outputs
  • 4. Write a professional consultancy report, and deliver a formal presentation of your project findings to senior stakeholders

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Identify and influence organisational and staff drivers
  • 6. Describe the interaction of resources and social outcomes
  • 7. Apply the place-standard tool
  • 8. Use behavioural profiling and successfully engage different personality types
  • 9. Explain how cause and effect of social processes impact on the use of social innovation

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Work confidently with professionals via face-to-face meetings, Skype and e-mail etc. to set up the project, and provide feedback and updates on project progress to the programmes clients and staff via formal meetings
  • 11. Manage time and communicate effectively through having to deal with multiple stakeholders, managers, and the challenges associated with booking meetings and project creep, as well as managing client expectations
  • 12. Work effectively in a team and deal with challenges such as motivation, time management, awareness, communication, responsibility and achievement of project deadlines
  • 13. Act professionally in a business setting via the delivery of formal presentations to senior campus staff and clients and interaction with Social Innovation Consultants programme managers
  • 14. Create your own professional network and gain awareness via interaction with external professionals as part of the syllabus, on group projects and internships
  • 15. Gain insight into the selection processes of the voluntary and third sector and engage support in finding placements from the programmes careers consultants

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Autumn Term

Application and selection processes

  • Completion and submission of Team role model questionnaire

3-day training programme in December, including:

  • How to approach meeting a client
  • Social auditing
  • Social innovation and enterprise
  • Funding social innovations – crowdfunding
  • Creative planning – business model canvas
  • Change management and influencing people
  • Working up a project brief
  • Team exercise – preparing and presenting recommendations

Spring Term

1-hour webinar

  • Introduction to professional report writing

35-hour group project

A five day local project undertaken with the voluntary and third sector to put into practice what you have learnt during the training. Working in small consultancy project teams you consult directly with a number of clients to develop a project brief, set up and attend management meetings and feedback progress to your clients and the Social Innovation Consultants management team. You will also produce a business report and give a formal presentation to the client and the University of Exeter Penryn campus staff. Please note these are live projects with time critical and service dependant delivery.

Summer Term


The final part pf the programme is a placement. This must be for a minimum of three weeks, completed by the end of July  and must have a social innovation focus. It can include working for a voluntary or third sector agency that has a direct community focus (e.g. Volunteer Cornwall, National Trust, Age UK etc), or working with a company that has no direct social innovation focus, where you can set up a voluntary-related project, (e.g. producing a plan to enable employees to become volunteers as part of their working practice).

The placements won’t be provided directly by the programme. This requires you to start to use social media, Linked In and other platforms to look for opportunities, explore the sector and establish professional networks. Support is available from the Career Zone.

Once the placement has been completed you will then undertake an online video interview which will require you to reflect on the experience, skills and knowledge you gained, your insights into the sector, the growth of your professional network and future career planning. 

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching24Assessment centre and three-day Social Innovation Consultants training programme
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Client and Social Innovation Consultants management meetings for project updates and support, internship sourcing
Guided independent study23Local group projects
Placement/study abroad100Individual internship


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Team role model questionnaire No more than 2 hours15Oral
Webinar workshop on ‘Introduction to professional report writing’1 hour4, 6, 10Oral
Group project brief update 20 minutes 1, 5-9Oral
Group project management (Trello)Updated Trello boards reflecting the activity of the group during the Group Project1, 3, 10-12Written
Group interim project report1000 words1-12, 14Oral
Group interim project presentation 20 minutes 3-5, 8, 10-14Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group final project presentation2020 minutes3-5, 8, 10-14Oral
Group final business report402000 words1-12, 14Written
Individual online video interview reflecting on the placement undertaken in relation to: Experience and knowledge gained Insight into the sector and growth of professional network Development of skills and professionalism in the workplace Career planning and future action4030 minutes11, 14-15Oral


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group final project presentation Individual presentation3-5, 8, 10-14Case by case basis – normally as soon as is practical
Group final business reportIndividual analysis of the group final business report1-12, 14Case by case basis – normally as soon as is practical
Individual online video interview for placement reflectionIndividual online video interview for placement reflection11, 14-15Case by case basis – normally as soon as is practical

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to resubmit work as stipulated above. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Cote, S. & Healy, T. 2001. The Well-Being Of Nations - The Role Of Human And Social Capital. Paris: Organisation For Economic Co-Operation And Development.
  • D’souza, J., Low, N., Lee, L., Morrell, G. & Hall, J. 2011. Understanding The Drivers Of Volunteering In Culture And Sport: Analysis Of The Taking Part Survey. London: The National Centre For Social Research.
  • Drever, E. 2010. 2008-09 Citizenship Survey: Volunteering And Charitable Giving Topic Report. London: Department For Communities And Local Government.
  • Hussein, S. 2011. Volunteers In The Formal Long-Term Care Workforce. Social Care Workforce Periodical.
  • Mundle, C., Naylor, C. & Buck, D. 2012. Volunteering In Health And Care In England. A Summary Of Key Literature. London: The Kings Fund.
  • Paik, A. & Navarre-Jackson, L. 2011. Social Networks, Recruitment, And Volunteering: Are Social Capital Effects Conditional On Recruitment? Nonprofit And Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40, 476-496.
  • Sabatini, F. 2009. Social Capital As Social Networks: A New Framework For Measurement And An Empirical Analysis Of Its Determinants And Consequences. The Journal Of Socio-Economics, 38, 429-442.
  • Woolcock, M. 2001. The Place Of Social Capital In Understanding Social And Economic Outcomes. Isuma Canadian Journal Of Policy Research, 2, 11-17

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

The programme has a supporting ELE page offering additional learning as both pre-course reading and materials that support the 3-day training programme, you interactions with your clients, internship opportunities and recruitment and selection processes of the voluntary and third sector. In addition the Social Innovation Consultants have a closed Linked In page which all trainees are added to promoting jobs opportunities with in the sector, access to Social Innovation Consultants alumni and up to date sector specific information to increase commercial awareness and opportunity.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Social Innovation Consultants, work experience, volunteering, project brief, social auditing, creative planning, enterprise, organisational analysis, change management, work experience, internship, assessment centre, presenting your results and recommendations, consulting

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date