Realising Impact: Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Systems Change


Increasingly, we are becoming aware of the need for all sectors and members of society to try and have a positive rather than a negative impact on their community and the planet. Every day, there are 'ominous' updates on the gravity of wicked problems such as climate change, growing inequalities, wars, lack of fair and sustainable access to food, healthcare etc. that require complex, cross-sector solutions to be tackled. Established institutions and strategies to address these social and environmental issues seem to be 'too little, too late'. For this reason, in the past twenty years, new approaches have been tried and adopted to generate and sustain positive impact. Among these are social innovation, social entrepreneurship and, increasingly, the catalysis of systems change.

This online, interactive day school aims to introduce these three approaches and some of the tools and insights to adopt them. During the day, we will explore together what impact, social innovation, social entrepreneurship and systems change mean and how they are enacted, through both theoretical definitions and practical examples. We will also reflect on the strengths and limitations of each of these approaches and you will have the chance to reflect on which approach, among them, might make most sense for you or your organisation, given the impact you would like to realise.

After having introduced and explore these approaches during the morning, the afternoon will have a more 'workshop' feel. We will work on tools, such as stakeholders mapping or the Theory of Change, that can support the realisation of impact through any of the approaches discussed; we will review common challenges that hamper the realisation of the desired impact, and ways to prevent or manage them; and we will reflect on ways for both you and your organisation to understand if you are achieving your desired impact. The day will end with an inspirational note through the testimony of a social entrepreneur generating impact and dealing with some of the challenges discussed.

Please note: this event will close to enrolments at 23:59 BST on 27 September 2023.

Programme details

All times BST (UTC+1)


The meaning of impact 

Social innovation, social entrepreneurship, catalysing systems change 


Q&A and sharing of reflections 

Case study introduction 

Lunch Break 

Mapping key stakeholders and developing a Theory of Change 


Group exercise and General discussion 

Generating impact in practice – inspirational testimony from Paola Masperi with Q&A

Wrap up

Course ends 



Description Costs
Course Fee £90.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Tanja Collavo

Tanja acts as Course Director for the Master’s in Sustainability Leadership, Flexible Route and for the Postgraduate Certificate (Organisational Stream) and Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. She has taught and tutored courses in social entrepreneurship, strategy, general management and collaborations, and has knowledge of design and systems thinking as processes to develop sustainable solutions to complex social and environmental issues. Before her current role, Tanja has supported collaborations between researchers and businesses for the realisation of impact, and has completed a PhD in Management Studies at Said Business School, Oxford University. In 2022, Tanja published the textbook “Foundations of social Entrepreneurship: Theory, Practical Tools and Skills”.

Ms Paola Masperi


Paola is an impact entrepreneur and founder of award winning, responsible fashion label Mayamiko, which counts Meghan Markle amongst its fans. Paola is also the founder of women empowerment charity Mayamiko Trust, working in Malawi delivering economic and social empowerment programmes with women and for women. Malawi is where much of the production for Mayamiko takes place, creating a sustainable economic model for local partners. 

Paola’s background combines digital innovation and marketing, linguistic and communication, and international development. More recently Paola has been creating Madeby, a technology solution developed based on her fashion industry experience, aimed at increasing trust and transparency, and combatting greenwashing.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

IT requirements

The University of Oxford uses Microsoft Teams for our learning environment, where students and tutors will discuss and interact in real time. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

If you have not used the Microsoft Teams app before, once you click the joining link you will be invited to download it (this is free). Once you have downloaded the app, please test before the start of your course. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer, you will also be offered the option of connecting using a web browser. If you connect via a web browser, Chrome is recommended.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.