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Unit information: Transdisciplinary Group Project 1: Being Human in 2020/21

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Unit name Transdisciplinary Group Project 1: Being Human
Unit code INOV10002
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Keir Williams
Open unit status Not open



Design and Systems Thinking for Innovation

School/department Centre for Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Students will not only focus on ‘being human’ from an innovation and entrepreneurship perspective but also acknowledge their own humanity in reflecting on their working practices. Innovation and entrepreneurship are ultimately human centred, placing the person at the centre of the process whether that is as an end user, customer or stakeholder, and understanding their perspectives on a particular challenge or problem is key to creating value and successful enterprises. Students will use participatory design and co-production to build up the understanding of users/customers/stakeholders and where to create value for them. They will also learn to recognise what skills and resources they have themselves and as a team, as well as the effectiveness and impact of applying those skills and resources to an innovation and entrepreneurial opportunity to create value.

Transdisciplinary collaboration is one in which disciplines come together to enrich their thinking and understanding, exchanging information, altering discipline-specific approaches, sharing resources and integrating the disciplines to achieve a common goal (Rosenfield 1992).The students will work in transdisciplinary groups on a series of short innovation and entrepreneurial projects building an understanding as they work iteratively of the active relationships within the team and with the person they are designing for and with. Through a collaborative and participative approach of the different disciplines coming together the students will also build up an acute awareness of the importance of a common language and understand the needs of different disciplines, as well as how being human can effect what makes an efficient and effective team.

The aims of this unit are:

  • To introduce key theories relating to ‘being human’ from an innovation and entrepreneurship perspective;
  • To introduce key theories, and methods that will support students to understand how to build participatory relations with those they are designing with and for;
  • To build an understanding of what skills and resources the students have and how to assess the potential application of them to a particular innovation and entrepreneurial opportunity;
  • To support students to think creatively and build common languages for collaboration across disciplines;
  • To build empathy across disciplines;
  • To enable students to develop critical reflection of their own innovative co-design, entrepreneurial and transdisciplinary group practices;
  • To build understanding of the process of documenting collaborative, co-design and entrepreneurial work.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing the unit will be able to:

  1. Summarise the theory of collaborative and participatory design, and discuss how it applies in a range of contexts and settings.
  2. Apply the methods of collaborative and participatory design to create value in a series of innovation and entrepreneurial challenges.
  3. Assess the opportunity for innovation led entrepreneurship and value creation against the skills and resources available.
  4. Document the participatory, collaborative design work process.
  5. Reflect critically on their group work and on the process of designing with and for others.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures and practical activities supported by collaborative and self-directed learning.

Students will be advised to set up their own spaces online for group collaboration.

Assessment Information

100% coursework.

Students will be placed into teams of 5 or 6 for a series of challenges, the teams will be changed at the end of each challenge and the challenges will increase in complexity and output required.

  • 60% - A group produced resource(s) documenting the innovation and entrepreneurial processes for each challenge describing how they created value (NB this could include an entrepreneurial pitch, presentation, report, prototype, as well as evidence of work with those they are designing for): ILO 2, 3 & 4
  • 40% - A single overall individual reflective 3000 word critique on the process of value creation through transdisciplinary group working for innovation and entrepreneurship for all the challenges: ILO 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Reading and References

  • Creative Confidence, Tom Kelley and David Kelley, ISBN:9780007517978, 2013
  • The Ten Faces of Innovation strategies for heightening creativity, Tom Kelley, ISBN: 9781846680311, 2008
  • Routledge International Handbook: Participatory Design, Jasper Simonsen and Toni Robertson, ISBN: 9780415720212, 2013
  • Startup Opportunities: Know when to quit your day job, Sean Wise, Brad Feld, Dave Heal, ISBN: 978-1941018002, 2015
  • Creativity and Entrepreneurship, Lynn Book and David Phillips, ISBN: 9780857937193, 2013