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The boundary‐less classroom: extending social innovation and impact learning to the field

Jill Kickul (Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, NYU Stern School of Business, New York, New York, USA)
Mark Griffiths (Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA)
Sophie Bacq (Center for Research in Entrepreneurial Change and Innovative Strategies, Louvain School of Management, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain, Belgium)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 26 October 2010




The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how extending social innovation and impact learning to the field was accomplished.


The paper discusses how experiential learning can be adapted to social entrepreneurship education and how to structure the course and deliverables. It highlights the importance of students' selection and preparation.


The paper shares some students' reflections on their fieldwork and how they dealt with new ideas. It also provides three central lessons – “go real”, “go deep”, “get feedback” – that were learned through the experience.

Research limitations/implications

Since information from only one course offering has been reported, a simple generalization should be made cautiously. For this reason, the transferability of this experiential learning course to other regions of the world is discussed and recommendations are offered for educators who want to engage in a successful “boundary‐less classroom.”


Initial evidence is provided that the success of experiential learning in social innovation and impact can be guaranteed by a number of elements, including students' preparation to assist them as they confront challenges found in the field experience. Experiential learning would not be transferable without deep intercultural understanding and a well‐chosen selection of social enterprises and social entrepreneurs with whom to collaborate.



Kickul, J., Griffiths, M. and Bacq, S. (2010), "The boundary‐less classroom: extending social innovation and impact learning to the field", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 652-663.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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