Skip to main content

Unit information: In the Wild in 2020/21

Unit name In the Wild
Unit code INOVM0001
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Ms. Thirlway
Open unit status Not open

Transdisciplinary Group Project 1: Being Human

Design and Systems Thinking for Innovation


Transdisciplinary Group Project 4: Building a Demonstrator

School/department Centre for Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Arts


A key part of the success of innovation is the degree to which it is adopted by the community for which it is intended. Students will already be skilled in design thinking, but influencing and leading stakeholders to change ways of working requires different skills, which are not generally practised well in the workplace. Transitioning from studying at university to starting your own enterprise or being a change agent within an existing organisation is a big step, especially given the turbulent political, social, economic and environmental climate. This unit is intended firstly, to smooth the transition from designing for clients to working within diverse communities of practice in all their rich complexity. Secondly to experience and realise the real-world challenge of adopting and diffusing innovation.

The unit weaves together 3 strands of learning;

  1. ‘me in the wild’ reflecting on their own experience and values to develop their own unique positioning and mission while critically reflecting on best practice in innovation and entrepreneurship;
  2. ‘going into the wild’ to gain valuable on the ground experience of the challenges of innovation within existing organisations;
  3. ‘stories of the wild’, building a portfolio of work to tell a story that showcases the contribution they could make to their chosen community of practice.

With the support of staff and mentors, the students will consider their future career path and required competencies. Using their own networks, with support from staff, students will secure a research opportunity at one or more organisations (start-ups, companies, third sector) relevant to their own interests. Students will work within their chosen organisation(s) on a piece of innovation-based research. Having defined their research question, drawing on skills gained in years 1-3 they will gain valuable insights into working and how innovation is supported in organisations outside of university.

Students will draw on insights gained ‘in the wild’ to create and tailor a portfolio of products showcasing their capabilities and the contribution they can make in their chosen field of practice. In the process, they will critically reflect on their interests, expertise, and values to help inform their future career(s).

Throughout the unit the students will be supported through a series of lectures and workshops. The group will come together to share lessons learnt through student-led peer mentoring, action-learning sets, and tutor supported coaching to actively reflect on their experiences, build resilience and foster peer support. Building on the practical sessions, lectures and workshops students will explore the nature of influence, power dynamics, leadership, values, impact, purpose, empathy and ethics in innovation.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

1)understand and critically assess the competencies and capabilities required for innovation and/or change.

2) Observe and recognise the social, cultural, environmental and ethical issues that shape/impact innovation.

3) Research and analyse the challenges to, and methods for, leading and influencing change

4) Articulate clearly and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship developed through their core discipline and innovation/entrepreneurship studies, as well as any relevant extra-curricular experience.

Teaching details

Lectures, workshops and engaged learning In the Wild. This unit will have some significant student-led aspects: students may choose the setting for their research and will have flexibility in terms of with whom and how they conduct their research. Students will be given tools, methodologies, mentoring and support to discover and develop their skills in the wild.

Assessment Details

100% coursework

Assessment will be through:

30% - Portfolio Presentation. This is an opportunity for the students to present themselves and demonstrate their skills, knowledge and reflections on innovation and entrepreneurship. The presentation will be focused around a discussion of their own portfolio, built and developed throughout this unit.

70% - Innovation case study in the area of innovation management/adoption/diffusion/impact (4000 words)

Reading and References

The required reading will be dependent upon the project chosen