Methodologies for sustainable fashion and social entrepreneurship as role play to learn problem solving, critical thinking and time management
In this part of the module, you will read about social entrepreneurship, will see some examples, get to know some best practices, and find some inspiration from companies who are already making a social impact. You will also have the chance to try out in practice how to put into action a project idea, while practicing certain skills that are crucial for social entrepreneurs.
What is a social enterprise?
A social enterprise is a business focusing on solving issues that concerns our society and the environment we are living in. Such businesses aim not only to maximize profit but their goal is to have a great impact on society. Creating a positive social impact while creating a business in the 21st century should not be a question – but a basic requirement for business owners!
Listen and watch these TED Talks carefully – with an open mind and heart!
Why is social entrepreneurship important in the 21st century?
As we (humanity) are facing daily challenges in different levels – both individuals and as a society – we need to rediscover the personal and common responsibility and how we can turn our values into acts. It is important that companies also take action and create impact with their own businesses instead of destroying environmental and social values, by supporting society in building new solutions, and in finding solutions to issues we are facing nowadays.
How does it work?
Social impact can be created in many ways and forms. The most important thing is that you – as a creator – find your inner drive /motivation for it! What is the core value that helps you to realize all that you want!
In order to be able to realize your own values and goals, we have a little activity for you!
- To be more conscious about your own learning style
- To be able to realize what your goals are and what are your strengths and values
In this activity, you are going to create your own User Manual. You will need to answer a set of questions about yourself. Make sure that you reflect on the question, think it through, and be honest with yourself.
The questions are the following:
- My biggest dream/s (maximum 3)
- My motivation/s
- My strengths are (at least 3)
- How do I learn?
- What I promise myself is…
Paper, pen or marker
What is social impact and how to measure it?
Social impact assessment is one of the most difficult areas of social entrepreneurship. It is hard to measure and it usually has a long/er term impact (not sudden).
Read the following article in order to get an insight of the difficulties of impact measurement and some practical tools that you can use:
- To get familiar with social impact and the measurement of it
- Find a social enterprise from your country that has a goal that you can relate to – which supports a cause that is important for you or is working on an area that you think is crucial
- Make a research on what they do and how they communicate about the social impact their business makes
Essential skills for social entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship itself is a complex concept that is the core of the creation of businesses which requires specific knowledge and skills. Adding the social aspect of entrepreneurship is making this concept even more complex.
There are three specific skills that are especially crucial for social entrepreneurs that you can develop through practicing.
Critical thinking is the ability to identify issues, to think about things from different aspects, to be able to question the topic of a conversation and thinking about different possibilities. It requires the willingness to collect information and openness to different ideas and experiences. In order to be a good critical thinker, one also has to acquire different methods of rhetorics and reasoning.
Why is critical thinking important in social entrepreneurship?
Since it is the core value of a social enterprise to solve issues that are affecting the society, it is crucial for a social entrepreneur to be able to to think critically on social issues. They have to communicate the reasons for the social impact their businesses make and in order to really make a change, they also need to be open to the ideas of change and that a certain issue has a lot of different aspects and solutions as well.
How can you boost critical thinking?
- Debate – discuss topics in an organized form! Organize debates with the groups you are working with in order to give them space to do research on topics, to be able to put reason behind their idea and to help them in being more open minded
- Self-assessment tools – use tools for your own learning and growth that can support you to reflect on what you said, did, how you reacted on certain situations or topics. Use these tools also in your work with young people in order to give them opportunities to be more aware of their own processes.
- Don’t be afraid to share! – talk about topics that are interesting for you, issues that you think should be solved! Ask questions, require feedback from people around you, and encourage others to do it as well! A really important part of developing critical thinking is to be able to identify mistakes and receiving feedback can be a big support in that.
In a business, there are a lot of situations where problems arise. In all different areas of entrepreneurship, there can be issues related to diverse fields, therefore for an entrepreneur, it is really important to have the skill set to solve issues.
How to solve problems?
- Analyze the issue – look at the problem from all different angles. What is causing the problem? Collect data, organize them, in order to get a full picture of the problem
- Generate alternative solutions – collect possible solutions for the issue. Try to list many different ones in order to have options. You can also include others in the brainstorming process for solutions, this way you will have different points of views and might come up with better solutions.
- Evaluate alternatives and select the right one – look at each of the alternative solutions and go through them one by one. Evaluate each option, and choose the one that offers the best solution for the issue – taking into consideration your goals, values and priorities.
- Implement the solution – put into action the chosen solution
- Follow up – evaluate to what extent the action solved the initial issue. Follow up on the process after the action and if needed, adjust the action or go back to the second point and choose another alternative solution.
Time management is the concept used for the measurement of the changing of time. Time can be divided into three different types:
- Useful time = quality time → this is the time that you spend on tasks that are important to you and you can finish them with adequate work efficiency
- Unnecessary time refers to time spent on activities that do not have meaningful results → time is wasted here most times
- Loss of time – forced happening such as accidents or illness which can not be planned
The goal of time management is to extend the useful time in one’s life. With the right time management the time spent on work and personal life can be more balanced, more time can be spent on freetime activities, regeneration time and for personal development. It can therefore in general reduce stress and contribute to a more healthy lifestyle.
The right time management is especially important for entrepreneurs since in case someone owns a company with a cause that is important to them, they tend to spend more time on work than employees and can put extra tasks on themselves.
Fortunately there are a lot of tools that you can use in order to develop your time management skills! Let us introduce you to some!
List all your tasks and put them in the following categories:
“fires” – issues that you need to solve right now.
You need to take action NOW
plan, set goals and milestones (personal and long term goals).
Schedule time to do it
Who can do it for you?
Don’t do it! Or do it in your free time
You can find possible solutions for the different types of tasks that you need to do. In case you put your tasks in these categories, it will be easier for you to decide what you need to do first, prioritize your actions and to be able to delegate and delete tasks that might not be so important.
There are also several more simple methods that can support you in tracking time and manage it better, some examples:
- Bullet journals
- Using calendars
- Creating checklists
- Using a weekly/monthly planner
The most important thing is that you find the method and tool that works for you! Try out different ways and make sure that you pick the ones that are the most suitable for you. For most of these tools, there are applications for phones as well, so if you can find your way easier in the digital sphere, check out these applications too!
The best way to develop these skills is to put them into action, so we prepared an activity for you where you can have an insight into how to create your own product – just like a real entrepreneur! During this activity, you will get to practice all the skills that were introduced before, so make sure that you find a way to involve what you learned!
- To experience first hand how to create a project idea out of a simple material
- To practice how to design a product
- To learn about project management and how to bring an idea into life
- To practice entrepreneurial skills, time management, critical thinking and problem solving
The goal of the activity is to create a product out of fabric. Find some fabric at home that you would not like to use anymore. Your task is going to be to create a product out of fabric with the method of upcycling. This means that you can give a different form and use of the material and turn it into something completely else! You need to design a new product out of the material that is useful and can be used for another purpose other than a piece of clothing.
- Make a research on the material and how it is usually used! Also try to find some examples how they use this material for different purposes
- Create a plan on what product you would like to create. Make sure that your idea is original and innovative. Find a way to create a product that is useful and solves a problem!
- Create a “shitty prototype” of the product. Prototyping is required for both internal and external validation of your product. A prototype does not need to be as perfect as you intend the final product to be, but it should be built keeping in mind for whom you are building it for. So make sure that you find a way to show how your final product would look and function, but it does not need to be perfect or the most beautiful thing you ever made.
- Create a product photo of your prototype
- Write a 1 minute long “Elevator pitch” about your product. Elevator pitch (also known as an elevator speech) is a short, persuasive speech you can use to introduce yourself, your product, or your company. Its purpose is to explain the concept quickly and clearly to spark interest in who you are and what you do. Make sure that your pitch fits within the 1 minute and emphasize your product’s main features.
Fabric, paper, pen, smartphone or laptop with internet connection
Learning to the maximum!
In the last part of this module, you will have some time to reflect on what you have learned and to plan how to use your new knowledge and skills in the future.
Please answer the following questions. You can do it in a journal as well. Before answering the questions, read again what you put in your User Manual. It will help you in directing more your focus on what you would like to focus on and you can make a more conscious plan on how you can continue your learning process.
Self reflection questions
- What were the most important learning points for me in this module?
- What is it that I want to know more of?
- What skills do I want to practice more? How do I want to practice them?
- Do I need any support? Where can I get it?
- What do I need to do in order to reach my learning objectives?
Part 3: Methodologies for creative tinkering
Part 5: Integration of previous methodologies