Transforming Societies
Veronica Cacdac Warnock |  Frank Warnock

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GBUS 8022

T R A N S F O R M I N G    S O C I E T I E S





Veronica Cacdac Warnock

Frank Warnock

 Managers, intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and other leaders have important roles in improving the world. In this course we explore what it entails to create and effect innovations that promote human development and transform societies across the world. We focus on cultivating approaches and skills to genuinely and deeply understand intractable socioeconomic problems that require our urgent attention and action. The steps we take are directed towards uncovering and identifying critical issues, problems and gaps that inform the design and conduct of sustainable responses (solutions).

The course aims to provide a venue to apply approaches, tools, and fundamental economic and development concepts in problem-focused, roll-up-your-sleeves workshop style class sessions. The areas we will ponder include urbanization, food and agriculture, financial access, education/training and employment. We will discover and examine paths towards innovations (practices, structures and systems) to be implemented in corporations, nonprofit organizations and communities. We will attempt to cover domestic, international, local and global matters.

We hope that this course prepares students to be transformational leaders in whatever field and specialties they pursue.

This course can also serve as a platform for social entrepreneurs and those who want to pursue and drive innovative work in the “nontraditional” or mission-driven professions and vocations. It provides a foundation for subsequent social ventures and global field courses.


 §      To extend the scope of applications of business skills and tools to solve societal problems

§      To deepen the understanding of poverty and inequality/inequity

§      To develop analytical and problem solving skills for applications in unconventional contexts

§      To stir creativity and channel students’ values into actions


The course consists of intensive reading, critical thinking, brainstorming, roll-up-your-sleeves workshop sessions, and reflective writing. The goal in each session is for everyone to gain a deep and rich understanding of the topic at hand. Throughout we will draw on your diverse skills and perspectives, and we will emphasize learning and dialogic speaking/listening. Active engagement, idea generation, open mindedness and energy building are highly valued.

We are tackling complex and interwoven themes; students should strive to see the connections between class sessions and not treat each as standalone. Course materials include development reports, research articles and case studies. You are also expected to bring in other materials to help achieve a richer and deeper grasp of the world issues.