The HEAD Foundation and Thammasat University’s School of Global Studies (SGS), a specialist in social entrepreneurship and social impact in Southeast Asia, have joined hands through a grant agreement in 2017, for the latter to establish a case centre for social issues.
Case studies have long been core components of business, medical and law school programs, but they have had a relatively small presence in the burgeoning fields of social entrepreneurship and general social “impact.” Cues from various institutions suggest that now is the time to pay greater attention to case studies as a way to educate students on social issues and their solutions. The HEAD Foundation sees a case centre devoted to social issues as one that will be highly demanded, rewarding and ultimately inevitable for 21st-century teaching and learning.
SGS built the foundation of a case centre focused particularly on Southeast Asian social innovations. From the training of case writers to the composition of the stories, the Foundation and SGS together oversaw the development of the centre. SGS contributed seasoned writers and content experts from multiple disciplines, with their on-site experiences and academic expertise to ensure the applicability and relevance of the case stories produced. The case studies are relevant to educators and learners who wish to better understand social endeavours in non-governmental organisations, international development organisations, social enterprises and even traditionally profit-oriented entities (where positive social changes can come about if their employees have an “impact mindset.”)
Problem-solving in the workplace requires the ability to adapt to new thoughts and solutions, to be familiar with past failures and successes and to face constraints of different contexts with creativity and confidence
The case studies were used at SGS in its various learning programs and initiatives, but the leader of this project, Mr Chris Oestereich, has firm intentions to market the cases around the globe. Mr Oestereich, who is the publications manager at SGS and an environmental consultant, recalls that case studies focused on social and environmental issues in Southeast Asia are very rare. This has perhaps led to the skills gap that is often the pain point of do-good employers, who endlessly mourn the paucity of skilled workers for their socially minded organizations.
The Foundation believes that this case studies centre will help to build the human capital for new social enterprises and social impact jobs that will appear in the next decades. As Mr Oestereich summarises, the effects of case studies translates to much-needed skills in the workplace: “Problem-solving in the workplace requires the ability to adapt to new thoughts and solutions, to be familiar with past failures and successes and to face constraints of different contexts with creativity and confidence. Through case studies, students may put themselves in the shoes of decision-makers who have made some of the most pressing decisions that affect organisations, environments and institutional networks in their communities and in the world.”
The Foundation also supported another project in Thailand that looked at blended learning for the English language.