University of Technology Sydney

94657 Innovation Futures: Thinking Beyond What Is

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: Transdisciplinary Innovation
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Anti-requisite(s): 81529 Innovation Futures: Thinking Beyond What Is


This subject explores innovation towards sustainable futures through rigorous research that identifies factors impacting system wide change, and futuring methods that support the exploration of trends that will impact each student’s area of interest. Taking a holistic approach to system analysis, students are prompted to:

  • critically evaluate the validity of sources they use to understand their field of interest when building innovative system interventions,
  • assess available information on their area of interest to identify barriers or enablers for change in that system context,
  • identify trends that could shape the future world they will be designing their innovations to exist within,
  • question the role of any innovations they may propose in supporting or hindering sustainable futures to emerge with an ethical lens,
  • reflect on the role learning from the subject can and will have on their personal innovation practice, and
  • assess the contributions different futuring methods can have on innovative practices in their area of interest.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Analyse real-world innovation contexts and cases in order to discern connections and patterns that are supportive of emergence of ideas, innovation and change.
2. Identify issues of interest or concern, and apply a range of disciplinary and professional practice approaches to examine the potential for action.
3. Analyse trends observed in real-world contexts and creatively combine futuring methods to speculate about future developments.
4. Apply appropriate methods to conduct enquiry into real-world challenges to identify their constitutive elements and connections situated in specific contexts.
5. Evaluate the alternatives and articulate a compelling argument for a proposed direction for innovation in response to a real-world challenge.

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

Identify and represent the components and processes within complex systems and organise them within relational frameworks (CILO 1.1).

Select, apply and evaluate various techniques and technologies for investigating and interpreting complex systems (CILO 1.2).

Explore the relevance and test the value of frameworks, approaches and methods from different disciplines, professional practices or fields of inquiry for gaining insights into particular problems, proposals, practices, contexts and systems (CILO 2.1).

Communicate, explore, network and negotiate in ways that are inclusive of and mine for ideas from diverse disciplines (CILO 3.1).

Articulate often-complex ideas simply, succinctly and persuasively to a diverse team or audience (CILO 3.4).

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject will consist of six full days scheduled over 3 weeks on Mondays and Thursdays between 10am-4pm. Students will then have tasks to complete in the days between as well as three assessments to write and complete.

Learning will take place in a collaborative, immersive, experiential, studio-based environment. Students will work with academics and professionals across a wide range of disciplines.

Content (topics)

  • Systems thinking and complexity
  • Inquiry and disciplinary epistemologies
  • Futuring methods: environmental scanning, forecasting, scenario planning, world-building
  • Ethics, impact, unintended consequences


Assessment task 1: Assessment 1: Critical Research to Identify Trends

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 35%

Assessment task 2: Assessment 2: Reflection on Future Innovation Possibilities

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 35%

Assessment task 3: Assessment 3: Analysis of Futuring Methods for Field Innovation

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 30%

Minimum requirements

Students must attempt each assessment task in order to pass this subject.

Required texts

No required texts. Readings and other resources will be provided online.