PE7032 - Design Thinking

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What will I learn on this module?

Throughout this module you will learn concepts and principles of design thinking delivered through investigation and application of creative leadership, innovation methods and enterprise management, these fields of knowledge are supported and informed by academic staff research specialisms.

Creative methods will enable you to frame problems from multiple perspectives and synthesise new opportunities and possibilities from interrelated factors. You will develop a practical knowledge of innovation techniques and will learn to apply these in the context of your creative leadership and enterprise management. You will learn to distinguish different forms of intellectual property rights including design rights, copyright, patents and trademarks and situate these rights in the context of an enterprise business model.

The underpinning knowledge and understanding will be applied through practical application in the context of industry or other collaborating organisation, which will help you learn effective ways of leading innovation teams.

Through this module you will additionally learn about the fields of design knowledge described above, which you will interpret relative to your own practice and in line with your PDP. You will apply this knowledge in co-creative practice and will reflect on your experience to summarise the utility and limitations of methods employed.

You will also appreciate the transferability of design thinking and will be able apply your knowledge in different contexts and domains.

How will I learn on this module?

Each module session follows a similar structure of Learn, Explore Further and Apply. All learning materials and resources are accessible via our virtual learning environment.

On-line module learning resources available for all students via the university Blackboard Ultra portal.

You will be taught through a combination of on-line sessions and engagement with module materials that will cover core areas of design thinking; - creative thinking, innovation methods and enterprise management. On-line sessions will be used to introduce core concepts and subsequent activities will support your learning. Part of your directed learning will be involve practical application and testing the theory, knowledge, and concepts that you have learnt. On-line sessions will allow you to engage with tutors whose research portfolios align with creative leadership, innovation methods and enterprise management to bring both theoretical perspectives and specialist expertise to the projects.
You will be conducting independent study as well, as it forms an important element of the module. Independent learning will centre upon the students identifying and pursuing areas of interest, by providing deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the subject through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, reflection, research etc.
You will access virtual classrooms (available on the e-learning portal) for live discussions and virtual taught sessions, which will be recorded and stored on the e-learning portal. These online sessions are timetabled weekly and will deliver relevant knowledge, information and direction for you to fulfil the learning outcomes. Through the e-learning portal you will be provided with resources in the form of scanned articles, links of books/articles/journals, PowerPoint lectures, word document, video lectures etc. relevant to your module. You will be given a reading list, but will also be required to create your individual reading resource as well. You will be using a discussion board to share your work and create a knowledge base for your peers. You will be also using Wiki (a learning tool on e-learning portal) to form focus groups on module submission and assessment criteria.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

A range of approaches are adopted to accelerate your learning in this module.

During the first week of this module, you will receive information about the module and Teaching & Learning Plan. The teaching and learning plan (TLP) sets out
• Learning outcomes and overall module and programme aims
• Teaching, learning and assessment strategy
• Teaching schedule
• Directed reading references (text and journals) and core texts for the module

During this module your module tutor will provide academic support including:
• Delivering on—line materials
• Providing guidance in relation to assignments
• Development of key resources, made available through the VLE
• Assessing assignments and assess or review any other agreed summative or formative outputs as appropriate

You will be supported by a team of academic experts and will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas and methods through project supervision. You will engage in a rich dialogue with tutors (and fellow students) and receive feedback on on-going work giving you the opportunity to respond directly and as part of your process. You will keep a record of this feedback in order to progress your work to enhance both your skills and intellectual understanding and also to develop your Portfolio and PDP.

Where appropriate, students may also be directed to engage with Study Skills +, or other resources offered through the University Student Support Services such as Dyslexia Support.

The Library is open 24 hours a day and E-Learning Portal houses all your module documents including your timetable. These services can be accessed on a range of devices

The module will also have an e-reading list, which directs learners to specific reading for each session. This includes direct access to repositories, journal articles and other academic sources. You will also be provided with access to a significant set academic research sources via the Northumbria University library portal.

You will also have opportunities to receive formative feedback from your tutor in response to opinions you express and issues you raise during workshop sessions and face-to-face or online tutorials. These formative feedback sessions are formally scheduled at key points throughout the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding (KU):
1) Demonstrate scholarship in masters level research through a comprehensive literature review in the fields of creative thinking, innovation and enterprise
2) Develop your personal interpretation the theory and develop personal insights relevant to your field of practice

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
Application (IPSA):
1) Demonstrate the application of knowledge/theory/methods (as described in KU) in the context of your creative practice.

Personal Values Attributes (PVA):
1) Critically review and reflect on the application, utility and limitations of the creative thinking, innovation and enterprise methods knowledge you have applied and the impact of this knowledge on your practice

How will I be assessed?

You will prepare a multimedia video presentation that summarises your reflective journal weeks 1-10 demonstrating your interpretation of existing theories and methods in creative thinking, innovation and enterprise (through literature review), application and implementation of this knowledge in your practice and a summary of the adoption, utility and limitations of this knowledge including evaluation and recommendations.

The module will be marked as Pass/Fail.

This module is exempt from the Anonymous Marking Policy. The nature of working closely and directly with the students in workshops makes anonymity unfeasible.

Formative assessment will take place through on-going dialogue in group work, project supervision, assignment discussions and tutorials throughout the course of the module.

Summative feedback will be provided to students on a module assessment sheet against the module learning outcomes.





Module abstract

Northumbria University School of Design has a long history of nurturing the design thinking talent that drives social change and economic growth. Alumni occupy influential design positions globally in national and multinational companies as well as in government and academia whilst others have created highly successful business founded on design-led innovation. This module will introduce you to the unique design thinking methods developed by researchers at Northumbria that drive success in innovation and enterprise.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Distance Learning

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location Design Building, City Campus East

City Newcastle

Start October 2019, January 2020, April 2020 or July 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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