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Social Innovation Consultants

Module titleSocial Innovation Consultants
Module codeGEO2453
Academic year2020/1
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.

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
  • 5. Identify and influence organisational and staff drivers

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. Describe the interaction of resources and social outcomes and apply the place-standard tool
  • 7. Describe and evaluate approaches to our understanding of social innovation with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 8. 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...

  • 9. 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
  • 10. Use behavioural profiling and successfully engage different personality types
  • 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.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Autumn Term

Application and selection processes

  • Completion and submission of online assessments to reflect on teamwork and organisational skills

Lecture and training programme:


  • Introduction to key concepts and ideas in Social Innovation

Skills training

  • 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 consultancy strategy
  • Introduction to professional report writing

Practical application

35-hour group project

A five day local project undertaken with a voluntary or third sector organisation to put into practice what you have learnt during the training. Working in small consultancy project teams you consult directly with a client to develop a project brief, set up and attend management meetings and feedback progress to your client. You will also produce a business report and give a formal presentation to the client and the module lecturers. Please note these are live projects with time critical and service dependant delivery.

  • Group client presentation
  • Group consultancy report-writing
  • Individual online video interview

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 Teaching15Lecture and training seminars designed to provide the knowledge and tools to use and develop hands-on experience of real-world situations
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Client and Social Innovation Consultants management meetings for project updates and support
Guided independent study130Group consultancy projects with local organisations Additional reading, research and preparation for module assessments Self-reflection and action planning


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reflective skills assessments No more than 1 hour15Oral
Group project brief updates 1 hour1, 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 minutes3-5, 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 consultancy work undertaken in relation to: Development of skills and professionalism in the workplace Experience and knowledge gained Insight into the sector and growth of professional network 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 – self-reflection on consultancy experienceIndividual online video interview – self-reflection on work experience11, 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

  • 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.
  • Moulaert, F et al (eds) 2013. The International Handbook of Social Innovation. Edward Elgar Press, Cheltenham.
  • 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.
  • Sgaragli, F (ed) 2014. Enabling Social Innovation Ecosystems for Local Community-led Territorial Development. Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini Press, Rome.
  • 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 lecture and training programme, your interactions with your clients, placement opportunities and recruitment and selection processes of the voluntary and third sector.

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, presenting results and recommendations, consulting, report writing, team work

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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Last revision date