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Unit information: Transdisciplinary Group Project 3: Doing something completely new in 2017/18

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Unit name Transdisciplinary Group Project 3: Doing something completely new
Unit code INOV30003
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Jordan
Open unit status Not open

Transdisciplinary Group Project 1: Being Human

Design and Systems Thinking



School/department Centre for Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Students who work on these challenges will work in teams to research and scope the potential unmet needs of a wide range of target audiences. Students will work under a series of broad challenge themes, and with the resources of network partners that they drew on in Year 2. Mentors and coaches will work alongside academics for each of the student teams, and will facilitate students in seeking out transdisciplinary ideas and experiences to inform their design solutions. Designing “something completely new” will require students to generate and sift ideas, seek out appropriate testing grounds, and develop robust and flexible methods of working in an iterative, agile and responsive manner.

The aims of this unit are:

  • To advance students abilities to generate ideas and solutions that may address unmet needs, both individually and collaboratively, and provide opportunities for the innovation of disruptive technologies;
  • To enable an inventive space where students can work collaboratively to make smart design decisions, prototype, and demonstrate proof of concept innovative solutions that address the needs to their highlighted target audience;
  • To link key theoretical and empirical knowledge of the history and processes of new idea generation, and to consolidate student’s knowledge of agile development processes, including building participatory relations with intended target audiences, and implementing feedback on the success of their ideas;
  • To advance students critical reflection of their own innovative (co-)design and transdisciplinary group practices.

Intended learning outcomes

Students successfully completing the unit will be able to:

  1. Investigate and think creatively about core theme challenges and problems;
  2. Work individually and collaboratively, and draw on different disciplines, to identify and research significant unmet human needs;
  3. Assemble and propose a range of potential innovative design solutions;
  4. Communicate and evaluate the potential of different design solutions, and design agile development processes to realise those solutions most likely to succeed;
  5. Advance their rapid prototyping skills;
  6. Design and implement prototypes through an iterative agile process.

Teaching details

The project is intended to promote self-directed and collaborative learning, under guidance of an academic supervisor(s) (plus any relevant external third-parties).

Assessment Details

Summative assessment

A Portfolio (100%) to include:

- 60% - a group produced resource documenting the design process (NB this could include prototypes, diagrams, photos as well as evidence of work with those they are designing for) - 20% - an individual account of the research and idea generation for unmet needs - 20% - an individual reflective critique on the design process

ILO: 1-6

Formative assessment

- Group presentations (10 minutes) at two points throughout the project to receive formative feedback.

Reading and References

  • Johnson, S. (2014). How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World. Penguin.
  • Smith, K. (2008). How to be an explorer of the world: portable life museum. Penguin.
  • Kelley, T. (2001). The Art Of Innovation: Lessons In Creativity From IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm
  • Sawyer, R. K. (2011). Explaining creativity: The science of human innovation. Oxford University Press.