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 the Circular Economy. We will focus on a live case study of your own design and focus on practical worksheets and canvasses that enable your innovations to be planned and evaluated. 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 and you will be knowledgeable about how to contribute to their innovation portfolios. 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 “hot topics”.
  • 6. identify and design innovation 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 society.

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 of 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 and teaching activities2211 x 2 hour lectures Taught formal lectures, with input from module lead, visiting speakers and students
Scheduled learning and teaching activities44 x 1 hour Ongoing support tutorials
Guided 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 Case Study500 words1-11Written and oral
Workshop 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 practice502000 words1-11Written and oral
Group (pairs) video assignment255 minute video on a future innovation opportunity1-11Written and oral
Workshop Canvasses determining your Innovation Offering257 x A3 worksheets1-11Written 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 (50%)Individual paper 2,000 words (50%)1-11July/August
Group video (25%) and Workshop Canvasses determining your Innovation Offering (25%)Individual paper setting out the case study rationale and value proposition as well as 7 x A3 worksheets (50%)1-11July/August

Re-assessment notes

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 innovation it fit with the Circular Economy?
  • 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
  • Value in a Social Context - The extent to which innovation enhances a society’s 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.
  • Business Model Innovation – Both commercial and public service organisations, and co-operatives engaging with social and using technological innovations
  • Innovation and People – within and outside of the organization
  • Structural Models and Portfolio Management


7 synchronous and asynchronous tutorials provide to guide students through their self-designed case study. Innovation clinics to support 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:
Kokshagina & Alexander (2020) The Radical Innovation Playbook, De Gruyter

Other recommended texts include:
Bessant, J., and Tidd, J. (2011) Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Wiley

Gijs van Wulfen (2018) The Fourth Innovation Method

Tidd, J., Bessant, J. and Pavitt, K. (2009) Managing Innovation (4th edition) Wiley

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

As provided or recommended during classes

Origin date


Last revision date