Affordable Design And Entrepreneurship

EPS4515 Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE)
4 General Credits

**Students must be Juniors or Seniors to take this course

1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day (The Millennium Development Goals Report, 2009). While the problems afflicting the poor are great, there is power in thinking small - how a simple, focused innovation can change an individual life, a personal choice or a system.

Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE) is an international, experiential social entrepreneurship and design course where students work in partnership with communities in India, Ghana, Morocco and Alabama to co-create and test innovation concepts and sustainable business models. The focus is on income generation and meeting daily human needs through new product and service design and development, but the scope considers the cultural appropriateness of design choices and their impact on social venture success. This includes how design can impact the desirability and viability of innovations in different problem-opportunity contexts, examined in the innovation phases of observation, conception, strategic planning and implementation.

A joint offering by Babson and Olin College, the course integrates core elements of user-oriented collaborative design and engineering design with entrepreneurial opportunity shaping and venture strategy. Babson and Olin College students work collaboratively in cross-functional teams to exploit their respective expertise and strengths. Starting with ethnographic research, venture teams collaborate first-hand with local communities on focused issues to identify addressable problems and to evaluate and test potential innovation solutions. Mixing entrepreneurship and design pedagogies, the course takes a systems view considering how design choices in product/service design and business model design can enhance-or diminish-a social venture's impact.

The course is run as a virtual firm where students work on distributed teams to develop social ventures by engaging with partner organizations, prioritizing programs, and setting and pursing goals while deploying modest amounts of seed capital. The course is time-intensive but rich and immersive. Students travel once per semester to partner sites to build relationships, learn about local culture, understand and map needs, identify stakeholders, perform experiments and tests, and collect information on local infrastructure and value chains.

Prerequisites: FME1000

  • Program: Undergraduate
  • Division: Entrepreneurship
  • Level: Advanced Elective (UGrad),Advanced Management (UGrad)
  • Course Number: EPS4515
  • Number of Credits: 4