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BA/BSc (Honours) Design and Innovation

Design and innovation play a central role our society. Far from being confined to the creative industries, they take us forward - in big and small ways - to improve every aspect of our lives. The Open University is at the forefront of teaching in this field; with a reputation for producing ground-breaking courses featuring online design studios, social networking, and inspiring study materials. The BA/BSc (Honours) Design and Innovation will develop your understanding of the huge impact that design can have. You'll learn skills and abilities that transfer across a wide range of disciplines, focusing on three key aspects: the process of design; working with and for others; and how design and innovation can be applied to real-world contexts. We offer four distinct pathways through this degree course, underpinned by the idea that Design and Innovation is a productive discipline, which explores problems by suggesting and considering solutions.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q61 Made up of: 360 credits

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

A design and innovation approach can bring value to almost any activity, and is increasingly in demand with employers - for example in education, business, local government, leisure services, engineering, environment, and health. This degree course will develop your skills in design and innovation so that you can apply them in such 'embedded contexts' - areas outside the creative industries that are not traditionally thought of as 'creative', but nevertheless benefit hugely from the creativity that comes with design and innovation.

As an Open University student you have a great advantage over other design students in that your learning can be put into practice as you study. The BA/BSc (Honours) Design and Innovation encourages you to apply the thinking, methods, and techniques you learn to your own context, enabling you to produce a portfolio of highly relevant design work. Additionally, the ability to think critically and responsibly about design problems is greatly valued by a wide range of employers.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

The aim of this degree is to broaden your design and innovation thinking around your own particular interests by allowing you to:

  • develop understanding of the processes, principles and issues involved in designing and producing new products
  • understand the issues and challenges associated with innovation and its implementation
  • gain basic skills in applying and managing design processes
  • understand the role of design, innovation and creativity in a contemporary context
  • generate design ideas, concepts, proposals or solutions independently and/or collaboratively in response to set briefs and/or as self-initiated activity.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • theories and models of design and innovation processes
  • design and innovation in a global context of sustainability and public policy
  • characteristics of design thinking and how this may be applied in a range of contexts
  • the technical foundations of design across a number of design domains.

Cognitive skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • analyse various aspects of the design and innovation process using relevant concepts and principles
  • assess design solutions in their actual or intended context of use and production
  • think in a creative and systematic way, and articulate reasoned arguments through reflection, review and evaluation
  • explore and critique the work of other practitioners and major developments in media and technologies.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • take a creative and innovative approach to the design process using systematic analysis
  • use appropriate materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools, and be familiar with good working practices in the production of designs and portfolios
  • be able to engage in debate and discussion around solutions to problems.

Key skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • express, communicate and reason using different forms of representation
  • interact with people from a wide range of backgrounds using their views, along with your own, in the development or enhancement of work
  • be independent and self-motivated, managing workloads to meet deadlines
  • make use of ICTs appropriate to the context in which they are to be used including accessing information.

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