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Business design for the digital world

This course takes you through different aspects of developing a business by examining each of these core element functions, step by step, in order to generate new business ideas and concepts to test. These will be linked closely to personal purpose and the motivations behind creating a business.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code



This is a non-credit bearing course.

Study method

Short course cost

Entry requirements

What you will study

The course comprises eight units: 

Unit 1: Introduction and context to creating business
In this first unit you'll look at the fundamentals of creating a business, how it has evolved and where it is headed in the future. You'll also understand the right mindsets and culture required to embrace new business design and creation.


Unit 2: Business mindset
Here we explore the strategic fit phase whilst uncovering your fundamental driving purpose and personal ‘why’ in order to ensure your new business venture is aligned with your personal values and intrinsic motivations.


Unit 3: Your business purpose
You'll uncover your own personal mission and vision and learn to articulate the key phases of the business creation process linked to global issues like sustainability and the circular economy. You'll also learn how to map new business opportunity spaces linked to your personal motivators and why mission.


Unit 4: Solving needs and problems
We introduce design thinking and consider techniques for understanding at a deeper level the needs, wants and problems that customers have. We go on to show how to test alternative possible solutions through the use of various “How might we" statements. 


Unit 5: Generating business ideas
We look at how creative thinking diverges and converges during the ideation phase for new business creation. You'll learn how to conduct the ideation process to arrive at an original range of solutions that firmly address the needs and problems of your target customer audience and how to make quick decisions about which ideas to take forward into early concepts to test and validate with your customers and buyers.


Unit 6: Rapid prototyping and testing business ideas
By the end of this unit, you'll know how to identify the most impactful problem-solving features from your customer perspective to solve their needs and problems. You'll be able to design specific experiments to test the desirability of the specific features within your new business concept. You will have mastered the process of conducting solution interviews in order to gain objective feedback on how your proposed concepts solve the needs and problems of your clients or users.


Unit 7: Designing new business models
You'll learn to build new business model prototypes quickly by considering the type of values you intend to create, deliver and capture to support your business concept. You'll learn how to create new business model prototypes ready to test and validate with your customers and stakeholders. You'll also understand how to make early-stage market revenue potential calculations to inform how you should modify your monetisation strategy.


Unit 8: Testing new business models
Here we uncover the most critical business model assumptions carrying the highest degree of risk and uncertainty. You'll be able to reduce uncertainty by making informed, evidence-based decisions from real validation rather than gut feelings, opinion and instinct. You'll have learned how to design concrete experiments quickly and cheaply to uncover how your new business model will operate and function in reality.

You will learn

By completing this course you will be able to: 

  • identify new business opportunities aligned with your personal drivers for change and your individual purpose motivations
  • understand how the business design and innovation process functions as a repeatable, iterative process to deliver the right kind of value to your customers
  • uncover customer needs and problems to solve through the business creation process
  • create new business ideas and supporting business models to test and iterate through prototypes with your intended customers and stakeholders
  • track key success metrics and key performance indicators as you move towards market implementation and scaling your business. 

Learner support

Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser, who will respond to you directly. Other support is available via the course forum, dedicated website and computing helpdesk.

Practice-based assignment

There is a practice-based assignment (PBA) which you complete at the end of the course to demonstrate how you have applied, or are intending to apply, the theories and models you have learnt. Once completed and successfully passed you will receive a digital badge and a course completion certificate which you can download as a record of your learning.


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.

Entry requirements

There are no formal academic requirements. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact us.

Course length

The course will require around 20 hours to complete.

You can begin at any time during the life of the course and study at your own pace.


Start End England fee Register
At anytime before registration end date Jul 2025 - see Entry requirements for more detail £250.00

Registration closes 31/07/2024


Ways to pay

Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2024/25 academic year. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules.

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 less 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 learning materials, exercises, study support and practice-based assignment are delivered entirely online. 

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.

Functionality may be limited on mobile devices. For example, voice recorder activities, which are common in language short courses, may not work on iOS/Apple devices.

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 course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying BGXC005 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.