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TBT: What is Innovation?

What is Innovation?

15 March 2018

In this Throw Back Thursday (TBT) post from October 2016, Holly shares her early impressions of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

When I was applying to university, I looked at a range of courses. I knew that I didn’t want to study straight anthropology but that I wanted a degree that was different and would make me stand out to employers. I looked at combining anthropology with a language, many universities offer these degrees, all of which I found attractive. However none of them inspired me, they were so straightforward and normal. It was in this search that I came across the University of Bristol’s Innovation Programmes. I realised that languages weren’t the only option and that I could pursue a degree in anthropology combined with ‘Innovation’.

“This course combines in-depth subject specialism in anthropology with interdisciplinary breadth, creative teamwork and entrepreneurial skills.”

This was a quote from the online undergraduate prospectus- this course seemed perfect. The next step was to answer the question; ‘What is an innovation degree?’

The word innovation is problematic. It means many different things to different people. Culturally, the definitions can vary exponentially- and thus I have concluded that the responsibility lies with the individual to reach their own interpretation (especially if said individual is looking to pursue a degree in the subject!) My own definition is yet to be affirmed, perhaps I’ll revisit this blog when I graduate.

Having completed a month of the degree, I can clarify a few details regarding the programme that onlookers may have. I have summarised below:

  • The degree does not examine innovative anthropologists. There is no amalgamation of the two halves of my degree. I have innovation lectures and anthropology lectures, they are separate and dramatically different.
  • The degree is truly interdisciplinary. Within my innovation year group, there are around 60 individuals who study 11 different subjects. These subjects range from History to Computer Science and all of us are very different. During our projects, we all work together in the same groups, the result is extraordinary.
  • There are no exams, but you are always accountable. I believe that the innovation half of my degree is preparing me more for real life than any other degree could. All of our assessment is through coursework, either individual reflective essays or group projects. There is no room to hide in the group work though, at the end of all assignments we have to submit an ‘equity share’ which shows how much of the final submission we’re accountable for and the result is reflected in your grade.

There is so much more to say about this degree, it is almost impossible to put it comprehensively into words.


Further information

Holly is studying Anthropology with Innovation (MArts) This programme allows students to pursue a subject specialism in anthropology in a way that empowers them to become innovators and entrepreneurs who bring positive changes to their world.

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