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Module information

Creating the New

Module description

This module covers 2 core topics: Agile Innovation in the Digital era 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. 

Full module specification

Module title:Creating the New
Module code:MBAM962
Module level:M
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Beth Kewell - Convenor
Module credit:30
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:

10 days

Module aims

Agile Innovation in the Digital Era

The module offers insights into the theory and practice of innovating in the digital era. It will explore the core process underlying innovation and the enablers and blockages to effective innovation management. It will explore the increasing role of digitally enabled business models in managing innovation. Innovation processes range from incremental (‘do what we do but better’) through to more radical, ‘do different’ innovation. The internet has opened up vast opportunities for organizations to globalize, individualize, and optimize their offerings. We live in an era of interconnectivity in which organizations can increasingly rely on advanced technologies (e.g., sensors, 3D printing solutions, mobile devices, and artificial intelligence) to offer digitalized and data-driven products and services - an era that has been coined the “4th Industrial Revolution”. We will enable you to understand the strategic as well as operational issues that affect the innovation process to enable you to innovate effectively and sustainably in the digital era.

The module offers insights into the theory and practice of innovating in the digital era, introducing a range of enabling tools, models and structures to equip you to explore the core process underlying innovation and the enablers and blockages to effective innovation management.  A particular focus will be on the increasing role of digitally-enabled business models in managing innovation – in particular, how ‘digital’ business models can help you to innovate more effectively and sustainably.


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).

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. critically evaluate the significance of agile innovation and how it links to wider strategic and operational issues within the firm. Explain how firm size, technological complexity and environmental uncertainty influence innovation processes;
  • 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

  • 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

  • 10. present and defend strategic analyses in multiple forms (written, verbal, digital) based on case material, desk based and empirical research;
  • 11. give and receive feedback at all levels, building confidence and developing trust that enables Self and others to take more assertive actions in the achievement of organisational goals;
  • 12. work effectively in multi-cultural groups to research, explore and prepare a persuasive and critical argument against an assignment or client brief;
  • 13. improve personal effectiveness through consciously and diligently developing own communication skills.

Syllabus plan

Agile Innovation in the digital era – 6 days

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 three day learning blocks of intensive lectures and workshops. The module is structured into two main sections. Firstly we will establish the main elements of the innovation management process. We will then explore how the individuals and roles that drive change through innovation need to apply tools and frameworks in the digital era, recognising that innovation takes place differently in a range of cultural and organizational settings. Workshops will take the form of concentrated agile sprints, during which participants will work intensively in time boxed activities to design a new digital service in response to a client need, before presenting back to a client. 

Foundation Block: The core elements of successful innovation management

  • What is innovation, + why does it matter
  • The innovation journey
  • Exploring the innovation space
  • The core innovation process: Searching for and selecting opportunities, selecting and prioritising projects, and capturing value
  • Business models and business modelling
  • Innovation strategy
  • Building an innovative organization: Diversity and opportunity
  • Learning and building innovation capabilities
  • How innovation happens differently in the five main innovation contexts (Startups; Scaleups; Established companies; Public sector; NGOs and purpose driven organizations)

Entrepreneurship – 6 days

This module is created around the execution of two challenges, one in the first 4 day session, and one in the second 2 day session. During the first session you will hear from a number of entrepreneurs.  Your task over the four days 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.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Foundation: Innovation

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

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

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

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 (Second Edition), Edward Elgar ISBN 978-1785364471


Entrepreneurship: under construction

Agile Innovation: under construction

Last revision date