Assoc Prof Warren Nilsson

Assoc Prof Warren Nilsson

Institutional shifts related to social and environmental sustainability, organizational practices, social innovation

POSITION: MPhil Director
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Assoc Prof Warren Oldfather Nilsson

Warren Nilsson is an Associate Professor of Social Innovation at the UCT GSB, where he also serves as the Academic Director of the MPhil in Inclusive Innovation programme. 

His research focuses on the organisational dynamics of social change. He is particularly interested in the relationship between positive organising and social innovation. Why are some organizations so good at disrupting previously intractable patterns of behaviour, belief, and relationship? How can social purpose organizations develop a sustained capacity for ongoing institutional reimagination? His research exploring the concept of "positive institutional work" has appeared in the Academy of Management Review and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and he is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan.

He has a passion for connecting his academic research to practitioner-driven social initiatives and has worked with social purpose organisations in North America, Africa, and South Asia. He is the co-founder of Organization Unbound (, an international community of inquiry and experimentation exploring how social purpose organizations can more closely align their internal practices and cultures with their external social change goals. This practice of "expressive change" is introduced in a short film called "Changing the Way We Change the World," available on YouTube.  Click here to watch.