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Exploring innovation and entrepreneurship

This module provides you with a wide-ranging introduction to innovation and entrepreneurship. You’ll examine different forms of innovative and entrepreneurial practice around the world and at different scales, including: technological and social innovation; commercial and social enterprise; independent and corporate entrepreneurship. You’ll also have many opportunities to develop subject-related skills by creating your own ‘visual essay’, taking part in an online negotiation activity, researching and presenting a case study based on your own chosen example, and working with a small team of students to develop your own proposal for an innovative entrepreneurial venture.

What you will study

Our world is constantly re-shaped by innovations of all kinds, ranging from exciting new technologies to life-saving social innovations. While some innovations are relatively modest in their scale and impact, others have transformed entire regions and industries. Entrepreneurial teams and individuals are a driving force of the innovation process. They fulfil a number of key roles such as identifying and evaluating opportunities, persuading people to support novel ideas, and assembling the necessary resources to bring them into wider use. Studying these closely related subjects in tandem will give you a real insight into the way they are connected and what this means for policy and practice. You'll also be much better positioned to develop your own innovative ventures, either independently or in an existing organisation.

Block 1 introduces core concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship, provides some working definitions and gives you an opportunity to consider ‘what it all means for me’. Activities in the early part of the block are designed to be undertaken individually, but you'll soon be engaging in discussion with your fellow students via the tutor group forum.

During this block you'll produce your own ‘digital essay’, a short audio slideshow or video recording about a real innovation or entrepreneurial venture that you’ve selected to study. The visual essay will also provide the basis for your first assessment. Over the six week period, you’ll gain a good understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship, which will develop over the remainder of the module.

Block 2 focuses on the skills required to create teams, build networks and to secure the necessary resources for an innovative, entrepreneurial venture.  You will also develop your knowledge and understanding in these key areas.  The block is structured around an extended negotiation activity, which provides you with the opportunity to take on a role and in a realistic scenario involving innovation and entrepreneurship. During the block, you will build up a record of your experiences which will provide the basis for your second coursework assessment.

Block 3 explores the many and varied contexts in which entrepreneurship and innovation is practised around the world. You’ll be examining interesting case-based examples in a number of different geographic locations, industry sectors, technologies and organisation types. There will be opportunities to discuss the implications for policy and practice and to develop your own thinking in this area. During the block, you’ll gain experience in analysing case studies.  For the third coursework assessment, your task is to research and draft your own case study, which will examine innovation and entrepreneurship in a particular context.

Block 4 provides an opportunity to develop your own detailed proposal for an innovative entrepreneurial venture. It’s designed to simulate the experience of being in an early stage social or commercial venture (e.g. generating ideas, evaluating opportunities, assembling resources and developing a business model), where the task is deliberately open-ended and subject to tight deadlines. You’ll need to be willing to collaborate with other students as part of a small venture team and to deal with time pressures and uncertainty. The assessment for this block is individual, but it’s closely tied to the new venture creation activity as you prepare a critical reflection that draws on relevant module concepts.

Block 5 draws together diverse themes from the four preceding blocks and encourages you to reflect on what you’ve learned about innovation and entrepreneurship. You'll also have a chance to make some connections between the skills, knowledge and understanding that you’ve developed whilst studying this module. This block includes activities related to entrepreneurial learning, career planning and looking forward to future studies. The remaining sessions will be devoted to helping you prepare for the end-of-module assessment.

Entry requirements

This is a core module on the BA (Honours) Business Management (Innovation and Enterprise) and is suitable for anyone who has successfully completed Stage 1 of any business and management qualification. The module is also well worth considering if you’re completing OU level 1 on another qualification, including the BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree, and have a particular interest in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. However, if you’ve got limited experience of business and management subjects, we strongly recommend that you complete some preparatory work before commencing on this module.

Preparatory work

We recommend that anyone considering this module views the free OpenLearn sample materials for B205, First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship. It would also be worth reviewing other OU learning materials on innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the short audio series Entrepreneurial Lives, and any introductory textbooks covering this area. 

If you have little or no prior experience of business and management subjects, we strongly recommend that you complete the free OpenLearn course, The Business of Football (9 hours’ study).  Don’t worry if you’re not particularly interested in sport as the main aim is to help you gain some insights into topical business and management issues. We also recommend that you take time to read at least one introductory textbook on business and management before commencing this module.

What's included

You'll have access to a module website which includes:

  • a Study Guide
  • a week-by-week study planner
  • video, audio and multimedia material
  • Open Design Studio software
  • Negotiation Experiences Online a role-playing exercise
  • assessment guide
  • student group rooms to meet and converse with your fellow students
  • a glossary and library resources including ejournal articles and referencing guides.

Also the B205 Reader, an edited collection of longer readings, is provided in electronic and print formats.

You will need

You will need access to a computer to use the Open Design Studio software.

Computing requirements

You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. If you’re new to the OU, your tutor can also provide additional support with your study skills. To support your study there will be a series of learning events which you are encouraged to attend. These events will either be delivered face to face or via an online meeting room which is a synchronous online platform used to deliver tuition. They provide an opportunity for you to engage with members of the module tutoring team and fellow students on a series of activities that will help you to consolidate your learning and prepare for module assessments. The cost of these learning events excluding travel and subsistence, is included in the module fee.

We aim to provide face-to-face tutorials in a range of locations students can travel to, though we cannot guarantee availability close to where you live, in specific locations, or locations that have been used previously. Student numbers on the module, and where tutors are based, will affect the locations of where tutorials are held, and what online alternatives are provided. Recordings of these will typically be made available to students.


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

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying B205 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Exploring innovation and entrepreneurship starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2022. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2023.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school