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Unit information: Team Challenges 1: Working with difference in 2020/21

Unit name Team Challenges 1: Working with difference
Unit code INOVM0005
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Keir Williams
Open unit status Not open




School/department Centre for Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Arts


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 not only focus on ‘being human’ from an innovation and entrepreneurship perspective but also acknowledge their own humanity in reflecting on their working practices. 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 critically reflect and 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 the boundary of ‘provider’ and ‘user’ is blurred, and where contributors and users enrich their thinking and understanding, by exchanging information, questioning discipline-specific approaches, and integrating intellectual and other resources to achieve a common goal (Rosenfield 1992). The students will work in transdisciplinary groups on a series of short innovation and entrepreneurial projects, with the aim of building a critical understanding of significant relationships within the team and with the group or person with and for whom they are designing. Through this collaborative and participative approach in which students come together from different disciplines and cultures, they will build up awareness of the cultures, habits and modes of different disciplines, as well as how diversity can contribute to 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 a critically reflective 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:
● Synthesise theories of collaborative and participatory design, and discuss how it applies in a range of contexts and settings.
● Critically apply methods of collaborative and participatory design to create value in a series of innovation and entrepreneurial challenges.
● Assess the opportunity for innovation led entrepreneurship and value creation against the skills and resources available.
● Document the participatory, collaborative design work process.
● Reflect critically on their group work and on the process of designing with and for others.

Teaching details

Lectures, workshops and studio based learning.

Assessment Details

100% coursework

Students will work in small groups of up to 6 people to develop a creative and engaging experience for a chosen audience. They will design and create a group resource for a chosen, non-academic audience. They will reflect on the group dynamics and participatory processes within their group and their chosen audience through an individual, reflective analysis.

70% - A group produced resource(s) documenting their transdisciplinary processes. (This could include an entrepreneurial pitch, presentation, report, prototype, performance, as well as evidence of work with those they are designing for): ILO 2, 3 & 4

30% - A reflective analysis of the transdisciplinary, group and participatory process undertaken during their group work. ILO 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Reading and References

● The Design of Everyday Life, Elizabeth Shove, Matthew Watson, Martin Hand, and Jack Ingram, Berg Publishers, ISBN: 978-1845206833, 2007
● The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action, Donald Schön, London: Temple Smith, ISBN: 978-0465068784, 1984.
● Routledge International Handbook: Participatory Design, Jasper Simonsen and Toni Robertson, ISBN: 9780415720212, 2013
● Barry, A. and Born, G. (2013) (Eds.) Interdisciplinarity: Reconfigurations of the Social and Natural Sciences (CRESC). Oxon: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-203-58427-9
● Calhoun, C. Foreword to Charles, Hale (ed.) Engaging Contradictions: Theory, politics and methods of activist scholarship. London: University of California Press. ISBN: 978-0-520-09861-9
● Strathern, M. (2004) Commons and borderlands: Working papers on interdisciplinarity, accountability and the flow of knowledge. Oxon: Sean Kingstone Publishing. ISBN: 0-9545572-2-0