Skip to main content Skip to navigation

IB3A9-15 Design in Business

Warwick Business School
Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Haley Beer
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

Several companies such as Apple, BMW, Alessi, IKEA and Amazon have been able to differentiate their products, services and business models thanks to superior design. In this module we consider design as an essential way to innovate the aesthetics, functionality, ease of use and meaning of products and services. As such, design is not an attribute of luxury goods and elite products alone, but rather a way to solve problems and innovate.

Module web page

Module aims

Throughout the module we will explain how design and ‘design thinking’ differ from traditional approach to management and innovation. In particular, we will emphasize the importance of adopting an explorative approach that is iterative and human-centred, and we will see how this approach has led some organizations to completely reinvent product and service categories.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Overview: What is design? Why is it important?
Design as a process.
Collaboration across functions in innovation processes.
Different approaches to design and innovation: User-centred innovation, technology push and design-driven innovation.
New Product Development.
New Service Design and Development.
Design thinking.
Design and technology.
The impact of design on business performance.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the main critical works on design and innovation management.
  • Recognise the strengths and limitations of current normative works on design and innovation processes.
  • Analyse case studies to propose potential business solutions as they relate to design and innovation.
  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of the business context within which designers work.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the tools and techniques used in product and service design.
  • Critically analyse academic papers to understand the key issues relating to innovation and design processes.
Indicative reading list

Core text: As main textbook, we will use: Roberto Verganti (2009), Design-driven innovation, Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. [We have recommended that the library get copies, but in our experience these may not be sufficient.]
Other texts:
Trott, P. (2011), Innovation management and new product development, 5th edition, FT Prentice Hall (Good introduction to innovation management)
Brown, T. (2009), Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. New York: Harper Collins.
Martin, R. 2009. The design of business: Why design thinking is the next competitive advantage. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

Subject specific skills

Demonstrate an awareness of conducting research into innovation and design in both manufacturing and service sectors.
Demonstrate an awareness of practical issues in the management of design generally, and professional designers in particular, including the generation of a design brief.

Transferable skills

Demonstrate written communication skills developed through the individual assignment.
Demonstrate oral communication skills developed through seminar discussion and group presentations.
Demonstrate problem solving skills developed through analysing business problems in case studies.
Demonstrate an awareness of and proficiency in the use of design, and design management tools and techniques.
Demonstrate leadership, team-building and project management skills.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 10 sessions of 2 hours (13%)
Seminars 10 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Private study 48 hours (32%)
Assessment 73 hours (48%)
Total 151 hours
Private study description

Private Study.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A3
Weighting Study time
Individual Assignment (15 CATS) 70% 51 hours

Individual Assignment

Group Presentation (15 CATS) 30% 22 hours

For all students: 15-minute presentation with sound or video.

Feedback on assessment

Individual written feedback will be given on the assessed essay.


This module is Optional for:

  • UIBA-MN34 Law and Business Four Year (Qualifying Degree)
    • Year 3 of MN34 Law and Business Studies Four Year (Qualifying Degree)
    • Year 4 of MN34 Law and Business Studies Four Year (Qualifying Degree)
  • Year 2 of UIPA-L8N1 Undergraduate Global Sustainable Development and Business
  • Year 3 of UIBA-MN31 Undergraduate Law and Business Studies
  • Year 3 of UIBA-MN32 Undergraduate Law and Business Studies
  • UIBA-MN35 Undergraduate Law and Business Studies with Intercalated Year (3+1)
    • Year 3 of MN35 Law and Business Studies with Intercalated Year (3+1)
    • Year 4 of MN35 Law and Business Studies with Intercalated Year (3+1)