University of Technology Sydney

85601 Design Futures: Business Innovation

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 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 85502 Researching Design Histories AND 85503 Thinking Through Design


This subject examines how design can drive business innovation, enabling businesses to be on the forefront of creating change. It looks at case studies that have employed design-led approaches to create new markets, reshape habits, perceptions and social values. In this context students investigate current practices and trends in design, participatory design and human centred design approaches. By engaging with design management and design thinking theory students gain an understanding of the role design can play in shaping business models and in developing innovative and entrepreneurial design ideas. This subject centres on interdisciplinary collaborations through which students identify new market potential whilst experimenting with future-orienting scenarios, and then design/propose something for that new market.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Have an introductory understanding of design-led approaches to innovation and entrepreneurship.
2. Have an introductory understanding of contemporary theories in design thinking and design management.
3. Have a practical understanding of how to identify and develop new design-led business propositions.
4. Be able to develop personas and scenarios that will further their understanding of design contexts and of potential user-engagement with proposed designs.
5. Have furthered their ability to develop arguments and rationales.
6. Have furthered their experience and skills in negotiating interdisciplinary design situations.
7. Have furthered their ability to develop design-pitching skills.

Teaching and learning strategies

8 x 1 hour lecture, 24.5 hours studio / workshop.

Face-to-face classes incorporate a range of teaching and learning strategies including lectures, discussions, studio activities and student presentations. These are complemented by independent student reading, participation in online forums, reflection on studio work, and group and individual project work.

Content (topics)

Lectures, readings, research and studio work on:

  • Innovation in and through design
  • Ethnographic research methods
  • Strategic thinking and visualising futures
  • Design and change


Assessment task 1: Literature Review

Weight: 30%

Assessment task 2: Futuring and Scenario-based assignment

Weight: 40%

Assessment task 3: The Design Pitch

Weight: 30%

Required texts

Pre start, reading and website

Fry, T. 2011, 'Time, Things and Futures', Zoontechnica, No. 1,

Dunne, A. and Raby, F. Microkingdoms,

Monday 24th June 2013, reading(s) and video(s) after class
Jones, M. & Samalionis, F. 2008, 'From Small Ideas to Radical Service Innovation', Design Management Review, vol. 19, issue 1, Winter 2008, pp. 20-27.

Guy Kawasaki presents 'The Art of the Start' [first 34 mins of 1hr20mins] -

Charles Leadbeater on Innovation [20min] -

Tuesday 25th June 2013, reading(s) and video(s) after class
Pine, J. & Gilmore, J. 1998, 'Welcome to the Experience Economy', Harvard Business Review, Vol. 76 (July- Aug), No. 4, pp. 97-105.

Guy Kawasaki Explains the Art of Innovation in 10 Steps [8mins] -

Stuart Candy (Arup) Design Futures: - How to Build a World [1hr] -

Wednesday 26th June 2013, reading(s) and video(s) after class
Boyle, D. & Simms, A. 2009, ‘Markets: Why has London traffic always travelled at 12 mph?’', in The new economics: a bigger picture, Sterling, VA, London. Chapter 5 - pages 65-76.

Tim Jackson's economic reality check (20min) -

Steve McConnell: Design Futures Council Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design [15mins] -

Monday 1st July 2013, reading(s) and video(s) after class
Brown, T. 2009, 'Design thinking meets the corporation, or teaching to fish', in T. Brown, Change by Design, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, pp. 155-176.

Donald Norman (2008) – ‘the design of future things’ [1hour] (new book - recommended) -

Tuesday 2nd July 2013, reading(s) and video(s) after class
Botsman, R. & Rogers, R. 2010, 'Introduction: What's Mine is Yours', in What's mine is yours: the rise of collaborative consumption, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, pp. ix-xxii.

Leah Buechley (MIT Media Lab) Design Futures: - New Craft - A Marriage of High and Low Tech [1hr] -

Wednesday 3rd July 2013, reading(s) and video(s) after class
Green, J. 2007, 'Democratizing the future: Towards a new era of creativity and growth by Josephine Green', paper presented to the IIT Institute of Design Strategy Conference, 17-18th May 2007.

Recommended texts

Norman, D. 2009, The design of future things, Basic Books, New York.

Other resources

Further resources (readings, blogs, videos and websites) cam be found at UTS Online under the link Resources.