Skip to main content

University of Exeter Business School

Creating the New

Module titleCreating the New
Module codeMBAM962B
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Professor Mark Thompson (Convenor)

Dr William Casely (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

5 days

5 days

Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module covers 2 core topics: Digital Business and Entrepreneurship.  

As the business world experiences an increase in the scope and pace of change, dealing effectively with uncertainty becomes a must for business survival. Current themes such as the 4th industrial revolution and the associated ‘future of work’, ecosystem centred innovation coupled with the global environmental and social challenges require us to engage in new ways of doing business.

The main focus of this module is managing the innovation process to create value from ideas, entrepreneurial and agile approaches and the role of technology in forward thinking ways that create both commercial and social value.  These themes are central to the Exeter MBA and are developed in-depth in this section of the programme.  Linking to our Centre for Digital Economy and Centre for Entrepreneurship as well as our network of Corporate Partners, we will develop current thinking and approaches to identifying, creating and realising new possibilities.  Interaction with practicing innovators, entrepreneurs and technologists will help you shape your own ideas for next steps as an MBA graduate. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

Digital Business

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR, is the fourth major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. The Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital, and biological worlds, and impacting all disciplines, economies, and industries” (Schwab, 2016). The aim of this module is to engage with the size, speed, and scope of the changes occurring all around us (Schwab, 2016). As such the module is designed to immerse the participants in the ‘world of technology’, in order for them to hone their skills of communication and gain vital perspective on what lies ‘on’ and ‘over’ the horizon. This will equip the participants with the ability to develop and critique business strategy and investment cases, engage with technology teams, and design solutions that embrace technology and respond to our global challenges.


By the end of this module you will have a critical understanding of the entrepreneurial mind-set, the nature of entrepreneurship, the entrepreneurial process, and the requirements for the launch and development of a successful new start-up or a new venture within an existing enterprise. The module will explore the impact of the entrepreneurial mind-set and how it can effect an individual’s ability to create and/or transform organisations (or parts thereof).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. evaluate and critically analyse how the emerging ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ will affect business and society and the opportunities and risks that are associated with it;
  • 2. provide an overview of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’: the changed environment for today’s innovators. We will cover principles of digital innovation, data-driven business models, platform/ecosystems, customer-centric service design, Cloud-based services, and more;
  • 3. appraise the capabilities and mindset needed to establish new commercial or social venture, specifically how “digital” changes fundamentally the process of organising and innovating;
  • 4. assess how inclusivity and diversity build innovation and entrepreneurship capabilities within organizations, increasing the opportunity space for social and commercial innovation and change.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. critically engage with a range of tools to diagnose barriers to innovation in a company setting, taking the actual or target business model into account. Using diagnosis to recommend appropriate strategies for the development and commercialisation of innovations;
  • 6. apply a range of innovation tools to generate product, process, positional or paradigm improvements. We will use analytical tools to recommend appropriate strategies for the development of innovation projects.
  • 7. critically evaluate the research literature on entrepreneurship in order to explain how the entrepreneurial process operates for a start-up and for an existing organisation;
  • 8. analyse how organizations utilize data and analytics to run their business, inform decision-making processes, and create data-driven products and services, as well as how they are organizing into ecosystems to co-create value in the digital age;
  • 9. critically reflect upon the defining characteristics of the entrepreneurial mind-set and how to lead within this frame of mind.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. take a global outlook: apply creative intelligence and ethical imagination to complex problems to ensure that environmental and social governance is taken into account;
  • 11. apply critical thinking: present and defend strategic analyses in multiple forms (written, verbal, digital) based on case material, desk based and empirical research;
  • 12. work with a collaborative mind-set: give and receive feedback at all levels in a confident and respectful manner. Work inclusively across multi-cultural groups to research, explore and prepare a persuasive argument against an assignment or client brief;
  • 13. develop an ethical perspective: improve personal effectiveness through consciously and diligently making decisions on behalf of all stakeholders, environmental, social and financial;
  • 14. develop an ethical perspective: improve personal effectiveness through consciously and diligently making decisions on behalf of all stakeholders, environmental, social and financial;

Syllabus plan

Digital Business

Pre-reading for each of the lectures on the Module is delivered over a 4-week period through an online platform. This knowledge is then put into practice during five days of intensive lectures and workshops. The workshops are designed to create a highly experiential learning environment, in which students will engage in agile "sprints" to create digital solutions for a "real-world" organisation, whilst drawing on insights from a range of academic and industry sources. (Startups; Scaleups; Established companies; Public sector; NGOs and purpose driven organizations)


Your task over the module will be to experience, observe, reflect and synthesize your findings into a “teaching session” in a group setting.  You will be ‘teaching’ your cohort and the assignment markers to understand; ‘What are the key features of an entrepreneurial mindset?’ and ‘How the mindset affects the success of the entrepreneurial process?’. The second challenge will be a pragmatic entrepreneurial exercise to engage your accumulated entrepreneurial learning. The module will include the following elements:

  • What is entrepreneurship and why is it important.
  • Innovation as the tool of entrepreneurship
  • The entrepreneur and the corporate entrepreneur; similarities and differences.
  • The entrepreneurial mind-set.
  • The entrepreneurial process.
  • Idea creation: how to create a business opportunity.
  • Opportunity recognition, assessment (feasibility) and exploitation.
  • Entrepreneurship and managing resources.
  • Networking and its role in entrepreneurship
  • Leading an entrepreneurial environment and successful entrepreneurship.
  • Organisational transformation.

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 and Teaching Activity60Lectures & in-class workshops
Group Discussions10Facilitated group discussions
Guided Independent Study130Reading, research, writing, asynchronous platform learning, client visits, group work

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Entrepreneurship – In class discussion10 minutes10 – 14Oral feedback
Digital Business - In class discussions4 x 30 minutes10 – 14Oral feedback

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
Entrepreneurship – individual assignment503,500 words3,4,5, 6, 7, 9,10-14Written feedback on assignment
Individual: Digital Business Proposal and presentation slide deck summarising business proposal503,500 words & 15 slides1,2,4, 8, 10-14Written feedback on assignment

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Entrepreneurship – individual assignment (50%)3,500 individual word assignment (50%)3,4,5, 6, 7, 9, 10-146 weeks after briefing
Digital Business – proposal and slide deck as above (50%)3,500 individual word digital business proposal and slide deck (15) (50%)1,2,4, 8, 10-146 weeks after briefing

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Foundation: Innovation

Bessant, J. (2018). Riding the Innovation Wave. Emerald Publishing

Brown, Alan. (2019). ‘Delivering Digital Transformation’. De Gruyter Publishing

Russell, B. (2020). Vigilent Innovation. De Gruyter Publishing

Tidd, J. & Bessant, J. (2014). ‘Strategic innovation management’, Wiley.


Frontier: Digital Economy

Dodgson, M., Gann, D., & Phillips, N., (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management, Oxford University Press

Gassmann, O., Frankenberger, K., & Csik, M., (2014). The Business Model Navigator. Pearson

Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y., Bernarda, G., & Smith, A. (2014). Value Proposition Design. Wiley

Radjou, N., & Prabhu, J., (2015). Frugal Innovation. Profile

Rao, H., & Sutton, Robert I. (2014). Scaling up Excellence. The Crown Publishing Group

1 reading on digital 101

1 reading on platforms & ecosystems

1 reading on data-driven business models





Bygrave, W., & Zacharakis, A. (2014) Entrepreneurship (3rd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

Burns, P., (2013). Corporate Entrepreneurship (3rd Ed). Palgrave. ISBN 978-0-230-304034-1

Duening, T. N. (2010). Five Minds for the Entrepreneurial Future Cognitive Skills as the Intellectual Foundation for Next Generation Entrepreneurship Curricula. Journal of Entrepreneurship, 19, 1-22.

Nielsen, S., Klyver, K., & Evald, M. R. (2017). Entrepreneurship in theory and practice: paradoxes in play. (2nd ed.). Edward Elgar ISBN 978-1785364471

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Entrepreneurship: under construction

Digital Business: under construction

Key words search

Innovation, Sustainability, Decision-Making; Digital Technology, Entrepreneurship, Creativity

Credit value20
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date