Innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Module description

This module is one of five modules included in the With Proficiency In (WPI) Entrepreneurship programme. 

Innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a first-year elective that introduces students to technology and the circular economy while building creative confidence. In other words, the module seeks to develop student knowledge of innovation within the context of the circular economy. By exploring the latest trends in technology and their relationship to business, students will build a stronger contextual understanding. The lectures will be delivered entirely online and classroom time will be project based and immersive in nature. Through utilising the contemporary practice of design thinking and human centred design, students will explore technology and the emerging concept of the circular economy.

It is delivered in semester one and repeated in semester two to give maximum access to all students. 

No pre-requisite or co-requisite modules are required to take this module. This module is suitable for non-specialist students and intended for interdisciplinary pathways.

Full module specification

Module title:Innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Module code:BEM1020
Module level:1
Academic year:2019/0
Module lecturers:
  • Mr Adam Lusby - Lecturer
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






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


Module aims

The module aims to introduce a creative toolset and technological skillset underpinned by an introductory understanding of the circular economy. By the end of the module, students will have a contextual understanding of the types of technologies that are increasing the connections between the cyber-physical world and how they might be applied creatively to affect a positive change through business.  

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Articulate contemporary aspects of technology, creativity, and the circular economy
  • 2. Design, build and present circular innovation prototypes
  • 3. Evaluate the impact, viability, feasibility, and desirability of circular innovation prototypes

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate the connection between creativity, technology, and the transition towards a circular economy

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 1. Develop a human centred design approach to project work
  • 2. Work successfully in a high-performance team environment

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
Online delivery15Online delivered lecture content via ELE
Scheduled learning and teaching12Workshops
Guided independent study123Preparing for workshops and preparation for formative and summative assessments. Out-of-class technology and innovation practice exercises derived from initial workshops, circular case studies, and project build

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In class critiques of project ‘design sprint’ (project-based accelerated prototype development)Week 61-6Verbal and written feedback
Walk-through talk-through presentationWeek 61-6Verbal feedback and written 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
Group circular technology project 30Science fair pin-up + prototype1-6Verbal and written feedback
Individual presentation and A1 poster 55A1 poster board for science fair 2-minute presentation1-6Verbal feedback and written feedback
Individual peer review 15Approx. 30 minutes to complete1, 5-6

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group circular technology project and Individual peer review Individual reflective essay 1,750 words -45% of credit (see notes below)1-6August/September assessment period
Individual presentation and A1 posterA1 poster board for science fair and 500 word reflective essay on process- 55%1-6August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

The reassessment will be an individual reflective essay based on the preparations and deliverables for the science fair pin-up. The peer review will be assessed within the reflective essay component.

Syllabus plan

The module will cover the following topics:


  • Introduction to topics including exponential mindset, circular economy and its guiding principles, and the fourth industrial revolution with a focus on industry 4.0
  • Design thinking and circular by design
  • Stages of prototyping: low to high fidelity


The module utilises in-classroom workshops. Each workshop will have six-seven teams of five students creating a distinct cohort. Each cohort will be introduced to the module and guided through the assignment project to completion. The first workshop session will act as an introduction to the module covering module layout and general housekeeping.

Additional Information:


Contemporary global challenges will be presented alongside global solutions being developed to tackle them.

External Engagement: 

Contribution by our design, circular economy, and technology network will allow students to interact with experts and practitioners in their field.  


In understanding our contemporary context and developing skills in how to effect positive change, students will be better equipped for the “future of work”.


By developing skills and understanding in how to enable circular innovation the students will have the potential to create positive impact. 

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Introductory Material:

Liedtka, J. (2018). Why Design Thinking Works. Available at:

Patagonia. (2015). Better Than New - Patagonia's Worn Wear® Repair Truck & Facility

Available at:

Webster, C. (2012). The Art of Design For Disassembly Available at:

Stahel, W. (2019). Circular Economy – Users Guide. Routledge/Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (Release date April 2019).

Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date


Last revision date