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Innovation processes and characteristics of innovators

Associate teachers


ECTS credits


Number of hours: Lectures + Seminars + Exercises

15 / 30 / 0

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to draw on a number of scientific constructs as well as applied aspects of innovation in order to familiarize students with today's and tomorrow's approaches to innovation. The focus is on enabling students to recognize and develop key characteristics of successful innovators in themselves and others, particularly in their teammates during mutual collaborative endeavors.

The students will learn about the interrelationship between individual and situated creativity and innovation processes as well as the role of interdisciplinarity and collaboration in initiating and maintaining the process of innovation. The focal scientific constructs introduced in the course, such as emergent innovation, conceptual integration and extended cognition, are themselves discussed and researched by cognitive scientists in their attempt to elucidate the nature of novelty.

Our objective in this course is to critically evaluate the potential of these constructs and learn how to activate them while innovating in various domains of life.

Enrolment requirements and/or entry competences required for the course


Learning outcomes at the level of the programme to which the course contributes

  • Employ cognitive science insights in developing innovative, human-friendly and sustainable technological solutions.
  • Initiate and sustain innovation activities in an interdisciplinary team.
  • Build communication channels and enable the flow of innovative ideas towards professionals employed in related scientific disciplines and industry.
  • Plan and track personal professional growth.

Course content (syllabus)

  • Introduction: the aim and the structure of the course; students' experience, knowledge and beliefs pertaining to innovation.
  • Basic preconditions for initiating the innovation process: collaboration, interdisciplinarity, appreciation of environment, recognition of creative individuals, extended minds and extended cognition, recognition of the potential.
  • Differences between today's and tomorrow's innovation models: iterative processes vs. learning from the future.
  • Characteristics of innovators: how to recognize them and how to foster them.
  • The first stage of the project design: student discussion (topics, possible places for filed work, etc.)
  • Iterative process - simulation.
  • Learning from the future - simulation #1.
  • The second stage of the project design: presentation of the topic and external participants.
  • Recognition of potential.
  • Recognition of purpose and meaning.
  • Challenges in interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Learning from the future - simulation #2.
  • Advantages of interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Students' projects - presentations.
  • Students' projects - presentations.

Student responsibilities

Class attendance. Active engagement in classroom activities. Project submission.

Required literature

  • Peschl, M. F. & Fundneider, T. (2013). Theory-U and Emergent Innovation: Presencing as a Method of Bringing Forth Profoundly New Knowledge and Realities. In O. Gunnlaugson, C. Baron, & M. Cayer (Eds.). Perspectives on Theory U: Insights from the Field (pp. 207–233). Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference/IGI Global.
  • Peschl, M.F. (2019). Design and innovation as co‐creating and co‐becoming with the future. Design Management Journal 14(1), 4–14.
  • Clark, A. (2008). Supersizing the mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Fagerberg, J., Mowery, D. C., & Nelson, R. R. (Eds.). (2006). The Oxford Handbook of Innovation. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press.

Optional literature

  • Peschl, M. F. & Fundneider, T. (2008). Emergent Innovation and Sustain-able Knowledge Co-creation: A Socio-Epistemological Approach to “Innovation from Within.” In M. D. Lytras, J. M. Carroll, E. Damiani, D. Tennyson, D. Avison, & G. Vossen (Eds.). The Open Knowledge Society: A Computer Science and Information Systems Manifesto: CCIS (Communications in Computer and Information Science) (Vol. 19, pp. 101–108). NY: Springer.
  • Nonaka, I., & Zhu, Z. (2012). Pragmatic Strategy: Eastern Wisdom, Global Success. NY: Cambridge University Press.