Turning ideas into new social enterprises with Socialstartup Design Sprint in Beirut

We at SocialStartup were very excited to hold our very first Social Entrepreneur Workshop in Lebanon at LAU (Adnan Kassar School of Business), which belongs to the top 5% Business Schools worldwide*.

On a unique 2 days hands-on Design Thinking workshop on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th of October 2016 students, university staff, local NGOs and business partners learned how to turn ideas into a potential social businesses with the support of our SocialStartup Gamebox templates. With over 110 participants the event was fully booked and participants receive a great headstart into Social Impact and lean entrepreneurship.


Social Entrepreneurship & Design Sprint Beirut @ LAU from SocialStartup.coThe Agenda of the Social Entrepreneur Workshop covered among others Problem and Customer Discovery as well as Business Model Canvas and Management 3.0 exercises. Essential work methodology was using design thinking throughout the workshops. Design Thinking is a customer focused iterative working method to better understand customer needs by continuous exploration and rapid prototyping throughout the process.

Our facilitator team contained local and international facilitators to best cover local knowledge with international experience. The team of three were Daniel Ludwig and Orfeuo Lionor as international and Abbas Mouzannar as local facilitator.

At the beginning of the workshop on Friday, participants formed small groups of 5. Each group could choose a problem focus area which they worked on during both days. This included

  • Gender equality and inclusion – in Family Businesses and Economy
  • Local environment – Improving the local rubbish crisis
  • Access to education – Lifelong education and youth
  • Local communities – Improving young people’s health and well-being

All 4 problem areas included the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) to give a framework to understanding of the local social problems in Lebanon. The design sprint’s main goal was to validate the current problem, to understand the core of user problems and to identify the stakeholders in order to develop potential solutions in form of rapid, low-fidelity paper prototypes. Participants were encouraged to use the Social Startup Gamebox templates which helped them to guide them into the brainstorming and evaluation process for value proposition.

Social Entrepreneurship & Design Sprint Beirut @ LAU from SocialStartup.coOn the second part of Friday, participants learned to narrow down Stakeholder Maps and created User Profiles. Important in this part of the workshop was to give each participant the tools and support from our 3 facilitators to better understand the local social issues and the User Groups. In the end of the day, participant choose top 3 potential ideas to solve the local problem they have identified.

Saturday started with a brief recap of the previous day and more focus on the chosen potential ideas and solutions the groups came up with. Once the groups choose the final idea which should become later a paper prototype, all were encouraged to speak shortly after in person with the users they have identified. Before this step could be done, all groups wrote 5 questions which they will ask the users to prepare the interviews. The participants were asked to leave the campus to find, identify and speak directly in person with their target users. This exercise not only helped to get valuable feedback, it also increased the teams’ self-confidence to approach real-life users and come up with relevant solutions. This is an essential soft skill while building Social Businesses.

Management 3.0 cards / Social Entrepreneurship & Design Sprint Beirut @ LAU from SocialStartup.coBefore lunch time, the groups came back and focused on the paper prototype which they had to present at the end of the day. Ideas from apps, to one-stop-shop or websites were developed.

The second half of Saturday focused on how to recruit the right team to build this product and what top 3 values participants personally prefer. This exercise was done with Management 3.0 cards (moving Motivators and Storytelling cards) and were highly welcomed by the students as a nice change in teaching methods. Last but not least, after 1½ days of intensive research, evaluation and customer interviews, it was time for the group pitches. Each team had 3 minutes to briefly present their MVP (Minimal Valuable Prototypes) in front of everyone.

By the end of the workshop participants gained confidence in innovation tools and rapid prototyping methods to build MVP Management 3.0 cards / Social Entrepreneurship & Design Sprint Beirut @ LAU from SocialStartup.co(Minimal Viable Products) in just 2 days. We wish that this experience will give them confidence to solve local social issues in an entrepreneurial way in Lebanon. Over 110 students helped to turn their Ideas into Social Change and potential new businesses. More importantly students were inspired to work further in the social businesses which encourages the local community to explore a social entrepreneur career path.


Keywords uses: LAU, Design Thinking, MVP, Design Sprints, SDGs, Templates, User Profiles, Stakeholder Maps, Value Proposition, Management 3.0