Social and Technological Innovation

Module description

‘Innovation’ is one of the buzz words of current management thinking, but what does it mean? We are living in an age where everyone is looking for the ‘next big thing’, that’s what innovation is, it is about having an idea, making it work and doing things differently. This module will examine different ways in which social and technological innovations have revolutionised how we do business and in turn how society operates. We will look at the theory behind innovation and apply it to current business case studies enabling you to analyse how certain businesses and organisations have used innovative practices to do things differently, for the benefit of society, the environment and in the process - their own competitive advantage. 

Full module specification

Module title:Social and Technological Innovation
Module code:BEP3010
Module level:3
Academic year:2020/1
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Allen Alexander - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

This module will equip you with the theory behind innovation management, setting it in the context of sustainability. We will focus on case studies of companies and organisations that have adopted social and technological innovations that enable them to do business, or offer services in new ways. On completion of this module you will be able to identify organisations that are using social and technological innovations to ensure their competitive advantage in the market place. You will also be able to identify opportunities for further innovations, that may in turn develop into business opportunities for you in the future.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. engage critically with debates surrounding the need to innovate.
  • 2. evaluate the differences between social and technological innovations in service design or product management.
  • 3. critically analyse case studies of businesses and organisations that have adopted social or technological innovations in order to do business differently.
  • 4. investigate potential opportunities for the future of business and society using social and technological innovations.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. synthesise the various theories that describe innovation processes.
  • 6. identify management processes that will enhance the successful adoption of innovations by companies or organisations.
  • 7. debate the role that corporate and social responsibility plays in innovation within organisations.
  • 8. critically discuss the extent to which innovation enhances a societies capacity to act

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. demonstrate written and oral skills in order to use the language of innovation to inform and enthuse in both academic and applied contexts.
  • 10. practice research skills in order to identify innovation opportunities the future.
  • 11. illustrate independent and group skills in order to present an in depth case study on either social or technological innovation.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities2211 x 2 hour lectures Taught formal lectures, with input from module lead, visiting speakers and students
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities44 x 1 hour support tutorials Optional support tutorials for students to access module lead’s time for assistance with course work and clarification of learning
Independent Study124You will be expected to manage your time accordingly in order to work as a group member and on your own to produce the various assignments.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Outline of Plan for group presentation500 words1-11Written and oral
Structure plan for individual assignment500 words1-11Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual paper on the application of the theory of innovation management to practice602000 words1-11Written and oral
Group presentation155 minute video on a future innovation opportunity1-11Written and oral
Individual paper on an aspect of the group presentation251500 words1-11Written and oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual paper (60%)Individual paper 2,000 words (60%)1-11July/August
Group presentation (15%) plus individual paper on an aspect of the presentation (25%)Individual paper on an aspect of the presentation (40%)1-11July/August

Re-assessment notes

A student will be referred in all components if the student fails the module with a mark of below 40% overall.

A student if deferred in a single component will be reassessed in that component only.

Syllabus plan


  • Introduction to Innovation – what is it? How does it fit with sustainability?
  • Corporate and social responsibility – cause or effect of innovation?
  • Innovation’s role in strategic management and competitive advantage
  • Models of Innovation – the key models used to describe innovation
  • Processes of Innovation – how does it happen? external and internal stimuli
  • Social Innovation I - The extent to which innovation enhances a societies capacity to act, and in particular the notion of an ‘Innovation Union’ as means of articulating a shift from a conceptual idea to action, focused on creating knowledge and also creating jobs.
  • Social Innovation II – Examples of innovation in: Social Enterprise, public service organisations, and co-operatives engaging with social and using technological innovations
  • Technological Innovation I – Examples of Tech based companies, manufacturers or service industries using technology to innovate their offer
  • Technological Innovation II – examples of digital economy based industries/services using technology to innovate their offer
  • Student presentations – opportunities for the future
  • Review and revision


4 smaller support tutorials, to be used as sessions to assist individuals with assignment design and focus, plus support for group work projects.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that you are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener.

  • Text Book for the module: Bessant, J., and Tidd, J. (2011) Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Wiley

Other recommended texts include:

  • Barney, J.B. and Hesterley, (2012) Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage – concepts and cases (4th edition) Pearson
  • Belz, F-M. and Peattie (2012) Sustainability Marketing – A global perspective (2nd edition) Wiley
  • Blowfield, M., Murray, A. ( 2008) Corporate responsibility : a critical introduction, Oxford University Press
  • Boulton, R.E.S., Libert, B.D. and Samek, S.M. ( 2000) Cracking the Value Code – How successful Businesses are Creating Wealth in the New Economy,  Arthur Anderson, Harper Collins
  • Brown, S., Lamming, R., Bessant, J. and Jones, P. (2005) Strategic Operations Management (2nd edition) Butterworth- Heinemann
  • Crane, A., Matten, D. and Spence, L.J. (2014) Corporate and Social Responsibility: Readings and Cases in a global context, (2nd edition) Routledge
  • Martin, D. and Schouten, J. ( 2012) Sustainable Marketing, Pearson Education
  • Nemetz, P.N. (2013) Business and the sustainability challenge : an integrated perspective, Routledge
  • Tidd, J., Bessant, J. and Pavitt, K. (2009) Managing Innovation (4th edition) Wiley

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Indicative learning resources - Other resources

As provided or recommended during classes

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Last revision date