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University of Exeter Business School

Design Intelligence

Module titleDesign Intelligence
Module codeBEMM486
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Ji Han (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Industry 4.0 and the advances of digital technologies offers the opportunity to develop data-driven products, services and business. The module brings together creative methods and design thinking approaches to apply digital technologies to address societal or business challenges.  The module will develop thinking to bridge data to the context, for example transforming data intelligence to market opportunities or societal challenges informing the design of new product/ service/business concepts. The module will introduce concept generation techniques and understanding and designing stakeholder experiences.  Students will work in multi-disciplinary teams across Business and Engineering.

This module will be taught in a number of block teaching sessions during the term. Dates will be confirmed for students following each term’s timetabling process.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module focuses upon the front end of the innovation process with technological advances as an opportunity for innovation of product/service/business in response to addressing a societal or business challenge. The module provides an introduction to applying design thinking considering the opportunities disruptive technologies bring and also their implications to real world problems. We will follow a design process with guided creative sessions providing opportunities to applying a number of methods and theories to develop concepts through independent learning to a brief.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Critically reflect and apply knowledge of ongoing developments in disruptive technologies, business analytics with design thinking to create innovate concepts.
  • 2. Draw on knowledge of current research and identify and apply appropriate design methods and tools to generate, develop and evaluate concepts for a range of business and societal challenges.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Critically analyse the use of data within the business/ societal context, identifying opportunities and challenges.
  • 4. Critically analyse and interpret relevant academic, technical and industry literature.
  • 5. Work with relevant stakeholders to identify the need to, design, develop, and deploy, analytics solutions within a business or a societal challenge.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 6. A global outlook: Our graduates are engaged and prepared for the demands of global business and society.
  • 7. A collaborative mind-set: Our graduates are enterprising and motivated individuals who are able to actively collaborate and effectively communicate within a range of diverse settings.
  • 8. An ethical ethos: Our graduates understand the social, financial and environmental factors that can impact on corporate sustainability and are able to make decisions openly and responsibly.
  • 9. A critical thinker: Our graduates have a commercial awareness that enables them to critically analyse, conceptualise and evaluate the challenges facing business.

Syllabus plan

The module aims to generate design concepts, in response to advances in digital technologies, for product/service/business addressing a societal or business challenge or opportunity.


The module will follow a design process, providing opportunity to applying a number of methods and theories through independent learning. These include design theory; understanding user experiences; emotional design and the role of digital technologies in customising product.


The course will be a mixture of briefing sessions, facilitated workshops and lectures whilst students apply their learning independently in teams. Tutorials and oral presentations will provide opportunities to gain feedback and develop communication skills.  At the end of the project students, in teams, are expected to have explore a number of concepts and developed one further, creating the necessary documentation around it.  Students, will be expected to undertake: a research phase with academic rigour, concept generation and evaluation before selecting a concept to develop further. The project will be expected to also demonstrate relevance and application to the brief, business and stakeholders.

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
Contact hours13Lectures and workshops
Contact hours2Tutorials/Formative assessments
Guided Independent Study135Background reading; research, analysis and preparation of project proposal; presentation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation10 mins1-3, 5-6, 8-11Oral and written

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 presentation6010 minutes1-3, 5-6, 8-11Oral and written
Executive Summary (Group)401,000 words4-11Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group presentation (60%) (10 mins)Individual presentation (60%) (10 mins)1-3, 5-6, 8-11Summer reassessment period
Executive summary (Group) (40%) (1000 words)Executive summary (40%) (1000 words)4-11Summer reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

Re-assessment projects will not be undertaken in collaboration with a real company, and not necessarily in a group.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

There is no formal reading list for this module, although you are likely to draw on resources used within other modules, in particular, in data analytics. Reading suggestions will be made available for lectures as relevant. You will be expected to identify and draw upon a wide range of relevant resources specific to your project, including current articles and reports, analysis tools and techniques. The books on design are suggested as further reading.


Norman, D, (2004) Emotional Design, Basic Books,

Ulrich and Eppinger (201) Product Design and Development, McGraw Hill

Key words search

Creativity: Innovation: Digital Technology: Product Development; Design Thinking

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

CLOSED to MSc Business Analytics, MSc Engineering Business Management , MSc Technology Ventures and Innovation Management programmes

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date