University of Technology Sydney

21070 Opportunity Recognition and Ideation

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level: Undergraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject is the first in a series of applied subjects within which students leverage their discipline knowledge to innovate new approaches for solving components of a big picture problem. Students work collaboratively to apply skills of design-led innovation and creative enterprise to develop solutions that catalyse social purpose into the real world of business.

The aim of the subject is to equip students with the necessary skills and techniques to recognise a specific need for innovation by identifying a problem and then considering the opportunity for creating a business and developing solutions and associated business ideas. The subject is part of an embedded mentoring program set up to support the entrepreneurial proposals and develop them into feasible prototypes and start ups. Students have access to industry and academic mentors who help shape the proposals. To facilitate these discussions and provide an environment for exchange of entrepreneurial ideas students work in a studio environment.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Apply a design-led innovation methodology to tackle complex problems
2. Engage in emerging research methods and synthesise research findings with a proposed innovation
3. Describe the perspectives of users/clients in a specific domain, and from this, develop a point of view towards a chosen problem and a series of potential solutions and business ideas
4. Create a preliminary business idea and develop appropriate materials to pitch a business idea to a potential investor

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following program learning objectives:

  • Identify, evaluate and analyse relevant information to creatively solve business problems (1.1)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Opportunity Recognition and Ideation addresses specific current business opportunities. Motives and drivers for new business generation and business innovation are considered, and skills developed to allow the student to assess the options available to new and existing organisation looking to move into new business territory. Particular attention is paid to the importance of deeply engaging with customers (end-users) through a human centres and design-led approach while applying the knowledge and skills gained in earlier course modules. The subject develops the student's ability to work in teams, engage with specific customer segments, and determine potential competitive advantage by conceptualising new products and services or significantly improving existing ones.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attribute:

  • Intellectual rigour and innovative problem solving

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is presented in seminar format. Essential principles are presented and analysed and students are lead through practical application exercises.

Content (topics)

  • Human-centred product and service design
  • Ethnographic research methods
  • Problem definition and problem reframing
  • Assessing business opportunities
  • Ideation


Assessment task 1: Project pitch and proposal (Group)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 20%

15 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A

Assessment task 2: Project report and Presentation (Individual/Group)*


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

This addresses program learning objectives(s):


Weight: 60%

Presentation - 15 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A

Strategic report – 1500 (+/-10%) word report (excluding references, tables and graphics)


*Note: Late submission of the assessment task will not be marked and awarded a mark of zero.

Assessment task 3: Reflective review (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 20%

1000 (+/-10%) word essay (excluding references, tables and images)

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.

Required texts

Liedtka, J., and Ogilvie, T. 2011. Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers: Columbia Univ Pr. (ISBN 0231158386) This guide is available as a FREE download via the UTS Library.

Further academic material will be made available via Canvas. Students are also expected to conduct their own research to draw on artciles from academic journals accessible via the UTS Library.

Recommended texts

Dorst, K. (2015). Frame innovation: Create new thinking by design, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Osterwalder, A. and Pigneur, Y., (2010). Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. John Wiley & Sons.


  1. Brown, T. And B. Katz (2009). Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organisations And Inspires Innovation. New York, HarperCollins.
  2. Brown, T. And J. Wyatt (2010). "Design Thinking For Social Innovation." Stanford Social Innovation Review 8(1): 30-35.
  3. Martin, R. L. 2011. The Innovation Catalysts. Harvard Business Review, 89, 82-87.
  4. Jakovich, J., Schweitzer, J., Edwards, M. (2012) Practicing - U.lab Handbook Of Design-led Innovation, Freerange Press, Sydney, Isbn: 978-0-9808689-2-0
  5. Liedtka, J. & Ogilvie, T. 2012. Helping Business Managers Discover Their Appetite For Design Thinking. Design Management Review, 23, 6-13.