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Module XUE-4002:
Design Thinking - Strategy

Module Facts

Run by School of Education and Human Development

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Mrs Katie Roberts-Tyler

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of the module is to equip you with an in-depth knowledge of the strategic role and value of design thinking to bring about innovation and create change in relation to emotional, behavioural and cultural contexts. The module will include: ways of planning design thinking methodology, applying human centred design approaches; relate innovation process and models for innovation to the performance of organisations; the importance of innovation to the economy; and the importance of generating value in the contemporary business environment and factors affecting its success.

Course content

Failure to innovate, Strategy vs planning; Principles of human centred design; What is value? Ways to generate and measure; Leadership and strategic vision; Ownership; Ways of achieving innovation; Risk; Case study review; Market context; Sustainability; Blue Ocean Strategy.

Assessment Criteria


50-59% Knowledge of key area/principles. Understands the main elements of the subject area. Limited evidence of background study. Critical reflection shows sufficient understanding of theory against practice. Some weaknesses in presentation and accuracy


60-69% Strong knowledge • Understands most but not all of the subject area • Evidence of background study. Critical reflection shows strong understanding of theory against practice. Good presentation with accurate communication


70% and above. Comprehensive knowledge • Detailed understanding of subject area • Extensive background study. Critical reflection shows outstanding understanding of theory against practice with original insights. Excellent presentation with very accurate communication.

Learning outcomes

  1. Identify and critically evaluate innovative applications of design strategy.

  2. Create and defend an original strategic proposal for the purpose of creating value in a specific context.

  3. Understand and appraise value generation through a process of empathy.

  4. Identify and examine the external influencing factors relevant to a specific innovation context.

  5. Analyse and challenge preconceptions relating to a specific innovation context.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Review of the value and role of design strategy 50
Strategic Proposal 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Taught through a combination of lectures and workshops to cover strategic role and value of design thinking and innovation processes

Private study

Guided reading, case study review, assignment preparation.


Review of effective innovation processes and identification of purpose (value, mission, vision) 6 x 2 hours


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in


Reading list

Best, K., 2006. Design Management. 1st ed. Switzerland: Ava.

Brown, T., 2009. Change by design: how design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. 1st ed. New York: Harper Business.

Calabretta, G., Gemser, G. and Karpen, I. (2016). Strategic design. Amsterdam: BIS.

DRUCKER, P., (2007). Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Classis Drucker Collection) Revised edition. Routledge.

MCKINNEY, P. (2012). Beyond the obvious: How killer questions lead to breakthrough innovation. United States: Hyperion.

Nixon, N. (2016). Strategic design thinking. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd.

OSTERWALDER, A., PIGNEUR, Y. AND PAPADAKOS, P. (2014). Value proposition design: How to create products and services customers want (Strategyzer). United States: John Wiley & Sons.

OSTERWALDER, A., PIGNEUR, Y. (2010). Business model generation: A handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. 2nd edn. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,

Sola, D., & Couturier, J. (2014). How to think strategically: Your roadmap to innovation and results. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: