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Unit information: Technology, Innovation, Business, and Society (TIBS) in 2020/21

Unit name Technology, Innovation, Business, and Society (TIBS)
Unit code EMATM0049
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Dave Cliff
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Engineering Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit aims to give students a broad grounding in the wider commercial, economic, and social contexts and effects of technology innovation, with a focus on the digital, data-centric, and software-intensive technologies that are emphasised at TQEC. The course will cover responsible innovation and open innovation: combining ideas from internal and external stakeholders to advance the useful development of new technology. Students on this unit will also develop a grounding in the legal, managerial and financial aspects of technology innovation for knowledge transfer and wealth creation. It will consider, in particular, the legal, ethical and technical issues involved in the use of personal data, with reference to frameworks such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and organisations such as the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. For balance, students on this unit also engage with literature that is questioning or critical of the social and societal effects of new technologies in general, and digital/data-centric technologies in particular (such as artificial intelligence, advanced automation, and citizen surveillance).

Intended learning outcomes

Students will be able to

  1. Explain the rationale for and practice of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and the ethical application of technology.
  2. Identify the effects of bias and take actions to mitigate that bias.
  3. Define the ethical and legal issues when using personal data and their influence of good data science and engineering practice.
  4. Choose appropriately among the different classes of legally protectable intellectual property (IP), on the basis of their strengths and their weaknesses, both legally and economically, with respect to technology innovation.

Demonstrate an understanding of the strategic business drivers for technology research innovation, and the various alternative ways in which innovation can be incentivised, rewarded, and commercialised, by writing coherently and concisely on such topics.

Teaching details

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

Assessment Details

Coursework (100%).

Reading and References

  • Bainbridge, David. Intellectual Property. 10th Edition, Pearson, 2018.
  • Brynjolfsson, Erik and McAfee, Andrew. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. WW Norton & Co, 2014.
  • Chesbrough, Henry. Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Harvard Business School Press, 2003.
  • Christensen, Clayton and Raynor, Michael. The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth. Harvard Business Review Press, 2013.
  • Criado Perez, Caroline. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. Chatto & Windus, 2019.
  • Ford, Martin. The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment. Oneworld Publications, 2016.
  • Kawasaki, Guy. The Art of the Start, 2.0. Penguin, 2015.
  • Mayer-Schonberger, Viktor and Cukier, Kenneth. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think'. John Murray, 2013.
  • Owen, Richard, Bessant, John, and Heintz, Maggie (eds). Responsible Innovation: Managing the Responsible Emergence of Science and Innovation in Society. John Wiley and Sons, 2013.
  • Ries, Eric. The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses. Portfolio Penguin, 2011.
  • Zuboff, Shoshana. The Rise of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. Profile Books, 2019.