Enterprise and Innovation

Welcome to Enterprise and Innovation, this course focuses on the field of entrepreneurship and innovation. From an academic perspective enterprise and innovation are complex areas of investigation with substantial debate over their definition and scope. From a practical perspective entrepreneurship deals with the process of developing new business ventures, and/or promoting growth and innovation in existing firms. Innovation is not just about new technology, but also about doing things better to enhance value to customers, employees and shareholders.

Successful entrepreneurship requires more than merely luck and money. It is a cohesive process of planning, idea development, creativity and risk taking. The main reasons for studying entrepreneurship at postgraduate level are to create entrepreneurial awareness, to develop analytical and creative skills, and to encourage the self-development of students into entrepreneurial business owners or employees.

The study of entrepreneurship and innovation has grown significantly throughout the world over recent decades, and is now one of the most popular subjects within leading business schools. As noted in the 2003 European Union’s “Green Paper” on Entrepreneurship: 

"Entrepreneurship is first and foremost a mindset. It covers an individual’s motivation and capacity, independently or within an organisation, to identify an opportunity and to pursue it in order to produce new value or economic success. It takes creativity or innovation to enter and compete in an existing market, to change or even to create a new market." (European Commission, 2003).

There is no presumption, however, that entrepreneurship can be taught. You can learn a lot from observing what entrepreneurs do, but each have their own peculiar way of doing things. Ultimately entrepreneurship must be experienced. A distinction also needs to be made between the entrepreneur as an individual, being enterprising as a person and the process of small business management. Each of these things can be quite different. Entrepreneurs can lead large companies - e.g. Richard Branson of Virgin, or Bill Gates of Microsoft – but most start out leading small firms with little initial capital. 

Entrepreneurship is frequently associated with innovation. For example, Schumpeter identified the role played by entrepreneurs within society as responsible for what he described as ‘creative destruction’, frequently leading radical changes within business markets through the introduction of innovations (Schumpeter, 1934). However, while innovation is often associated with entrepreneurs it remains a separate concept with its own dynamics.

Innovations can involve radical or evolutionary changes and may or may not involve technology. Within business, innovation is usually associated with product or process technologies that serve to add value or lower costs. Innovation can also involve enhancements to the way a business system is structured, work places are designed, markets are accessed or company finances are managed. Innovators can be equally diverse and those who can blend innovation together with entrepreneurship are likely to profoundly shape the future of their industries. Innovation is recognised by the OECD as a critical element in maintenance of sustainable economic growth:

"Innovation is one of the most fundamental processes underpinning economic growth, the driver of growth in output per unit of labour and capital invested, and an important basis for developing solutions to economic and social challenges such as climate change, aging societies and poverty" (OECD, 2010).

Course content

This course (MKTG5503 Innovation and Enterprise) concentrates on the process and practice of entrepreneurship and enterprise at the individual, organisation and national level, as well as the nature, generation and commercialisation of innovation. Topics covered, include:

  • Entrepreneurship and innovation as a social and economic process;
  • The entrepreneur in mind and action;
  • The entrepreneurial process;
  • Intrapreneurship;
  • The role of small firms;
  • Adoption and diffusion of innovation;
  • Planning and strategy in entrepreneurial ventures;
  • Financing the venture;
  • Technology, technopreneurs and disruptive innovations;
  • Intellectual property management and commercialisation;
  • Building teams and company leadership;
  • Social entrepreneurship and co-operative enterprise.

Aims and benefits from the course

This unit aims to give managers an overview of the theory, practice and context of entrepreneurship and innovation at both the industry and firm level. Students will be provided with a foundation of ideas and understandings that are designed to shape their thinking and behaviour so as to appreciate the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in modern economies, and to recognize their own abilities in this regard.

As a postgraduate unit it is anticipated that students will gain a better understanding of their own entrepreneurial capacity and recognise that enterprising behaviour can be found in all people regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or socio-economic background. Like leadership, entrepreneurship is an outcome of individual characteristics and environmental context.

It is doubtful that entrepreneurship and innovation can be taught to students as specific skills that can be adopted and then applied. However, we believe that it is possible to unlock the creativity and ingenuity in people by exposing them to the lessons of how others have achieved success, and acquiring new tools and conceptual frameworks that can help students approach such entrepreneurial tasks as new venture creation or innovation management within existing organisations.

This unit is primarily based on a process and action-oriented approach. Students and would-be entrepreneurs effectively learn only if they take part in the process, and evidence shows that "practice by doing" induces the highest retention rate. Therefore, the course will include a mix of lectures, case studies, entrepreneur testimonies, and a comprehensive business plan development.

Learning outcomes

Students who complete this course should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the importance of entrepreneurship to a healthy economy;
  2. Explain the concepts and key theories relating to entrepreneurship and innovation;
  3. Examine successful and unsuccessful examples of entrepreneurship from a range of perspectives including small business, technology start-up, large organisations, spin-outs and social enterprise;
  4. Apply frameworks for new venture creation and entrepreneurial management including processes for identifying and screening opportunities; and
  5. Identify the various types of innovation.

Program information

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