Executive Seminar

Social innovation

The scale of social and environmental problems is driving a sense of urgency and a frustration with old solutions. These challenges have legitimised a collective quest for new answers—innovations! With this focus on innovation has come a tendency to adopt the language of markets and business, such as social ventures, hybrid business models, and impact investing. But innovation is not a holy grail.

This course reviews current debates in the field of social innovation and aims to provide tools and develop an understanding of how and when innovation can be a driver of social change. Delving deep into the realities of organisations operating across issue domains and geographies, participants analyse business models and impact strategies.

Participants will be able to understand the dynamics of different approaches, to develop business models and to assess the relevance of social innovation for their respective organisation.

This course can also be completed as part of the Certificate in Leadership and Management, the Certificate in Intersectoral Management, the Certificate in Public Sector Innovation, or the Certificate in Managing International Cooperation and Development.

Target group

Professionals from all sectors (public, private, and from NGOs)


  • Higher education degree
  • At least two years of relevant professional experience (average is ten years)
  • Good knowledge of English


  • 2.5 days in Berlin, as well as additional time for the preparation of the seminar
  • No follow-up assignment is required

Seminar times

  • Day 1: 11:00 - 20:00
  • Day 2:   9:00 - 18:00
  • Day 3:   9:00 - 16:00

Seminar fee

€ 1,690

Seminar fees are exempted from tax according to Value Added Tax Act (UStG) §4 Nr. 21a. In Germany and many other countries, tuition fees for continuing education programmes are also fully tax-deductible as professional training expenses.

Seminar fee includes: attendance, online access to course documents, materials during the seminar, beverages in the Hertie School cafeteria (open on weekdays), certificate of attendance. 

Terms and Conditions


Registration is possible throughout the year, on a first-come, first-serve basis via our online application module. Admission is subject to availability.

Seminar director

  • Johanna Mair , Professor for Organization, Strategy and Leadership

See Johanna Mair in action at the World Economic Forum's Ideas Lab