England.  Change location

Innovation: designing for change

Innovations emerge from complex, dynamic, iterative processes. But how do designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, managers and users create opportunities and generate ideas for innovation? How are ideas developed into successful products, services and systems? This module uses contemporary case studies to explore such questions. It goes beyond innovation for commercial advantage – considering how innovation can contribute to developing a more sustainable future through responsible design. The module includes a design and innovation project where you’ll identify and research a problem and develop a solution.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

Browse qualifications in related subjects


Module code




  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.

Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
Level of Study
3 10 6

Study method

Module cost

Entry requirements

Student Reviews

I truly enjoyed this module this was down to the tutoring and also the content of the module. It also...
Read more

I completed this module in 2021. I had a full-time job while completing the module, so found the course challenging...
Read more

Request your prospectus

Explore our subjects and courses

Request your copy now

What you will study

Central to the module is a project which will give you the opportunity to apply some of the concepts and methods that you will learn.

The module is structured into two parts, each made of up of three blocks that explore different aspects of innovation.

In Part 1 you’ll focus on how opportunities and ideas for innovation are created.

Next, in Part 2 you’ll consider how ideas for innovation are implemented and may result in widespread adoption. You’ll begin working on your project in this second part of the module.

The study material, which is delivered online, makes extensive use of a range of media and resources to support your learning.

Part 1 – Creating ideas and opportunities for innovation

Block 1: Exploring innovation sets the scene for the whole module. This block presents a number of case studies, including mobile phones and racing bikes, which introduce you to the design and innovation process, its outputs as product, service or system innovations, and its impacts. A model, which is used throughout the module to enable you to understand the design and innovation process, is presented at the end of this block.

Block 2: Sustainable innovation focuses on how design and innovation can address major challenges such as waste and climate change and how the relationships between products, people and context offer opportunities to design things differently. This block will help you critically evaluate design and innovation practices and to integrate social, technical and environmental knowledge in design thinking.

Block 3: Visions for change considers the role of visions of change in creating and promoting opportunities and ideas for design and innovation. It introduces approaches and tools that you can use to help develop visions of change. The block ends with a discussion of responsibilities and ethics of design and innovation.

Part 2 – Implementing ideas for widespread adoption

Block 4: Innovation projects: working for change focuses on the practice of designing product, system, and service innovations. You will learn how to undertake a design and innovation project and develop a design brief from your own ideas. This block will help you to select, use and evaluate a range of tools and methods to help with your design and innovation project.

Block 5: Creating concepts: places for people explores the processes and outcomes that contribute to the making of sustainable homes and built environments to show how design specifications and concepts are developed as part of the innovation process. It will equip you with the design thinking skills and tools to help you further develop your project.

Block 6: Implementing innovation: transport futures draws on case studies of projects in the area of transport and mobility to show how the details of an innovative product, service or system are developed. This block considers how the case for the implementation of these innovations is made and presents tools to assist in this process and help you to plan how your project might be advanced beyond the module.

Vocational relevance

The module will help you develop knowledge and skills necessary to innovate in many different fields including product design and architecture, engineering, business and creative industries. You will be able to engage with various sources of innovation to create opportunities and ideas for innovation and grow your ideas for adoption. You will also develop an understanding of the environmental, social and economic impacts of innovation.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

Future availability

Innovation: designing for change (T317) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2027.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Course work includes:

5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Entry requirements

  1. This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject.
  2. This interdisciplinary module is designed to be suitable for students with a wide range of interests – arts, design, engineering, the environment or business – whether you have a technical background or not.
  3. You will need to be confident studying online as all the study materials for this module are delivered online via the module website.
  4. There are no prerequisites for this module other than point one above.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Jun 2025 £3636.00

Registration closes 05/09/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2027.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Joint loan applications

If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and, therefore, the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules

This information was provided on 14/07/2024.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of not more than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

All the study materials for this module are presented online – there are no printed study materials.

They are available from the module website, and include:

  • Module Guide
  • Accessibility Guide
  • Video and other multimedia
  • OpenDesignStudio – the online design studio for this module
  • Software downloads including the CES EduPack materials database and CompendiumDS (a tool that facilitates the mapping of ideas)
  • Other formats such as ebooks in EPUB and .mobi format for some tablets.

You will need

  • A digital camera or phone camera to take and upload photos of your work.
  • Access to a printer to print out your work and other materials.

Although not essential, you might also find it desirable to have access to the following:

  • A scanner or scanning app to put hand-drawn sketches onto your computer.
  • A video camera.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying T317 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.