A multidisciplinary approach to innovation

Mersha Aftab, Nick Spencer, Mark Bailey, Chris Jeffs, Neil Smith, Brenda Stalker, Phil Sams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Over 7 years and 7 graduating classes, 154 students, from 15 different disciplines and 20 different nations, and 17 academics have innovated with 62 companies (regional national and global), across all sectors. 7 spin-out companies have been started, 6 PhDs registered, 12 research projects published, new systems, services and products have been developed and 3 new oganisational functions have been created all by students of ONE Multidisciplinary Innovation Masters degree. Creating positive change in the world is the goal of the Responsible Innovation Research Group at Northumbria University. Through generative practice-based research we work with organisations who have challenges, great big meaty challenges. Creating one team our clients work directly with the energy and creativity our students and the analytical expertise of academics to use design and multidisciplinary thinking. We examine their stance and strategic objectives by considering their possible and plausible future offers and the impact these might have on society and the important issues we all face. Through authentic learning our students are embedded in a fast-paced team-based design-led learning environment. This environment is founded on expertise in design innovation methods, strategic organisational development, network value creation, technology exploitation, innovation leadership, and high performance teams. We build and exploit substantial, long-term industry partnerships each with a significant portfolio of projects. We engage in a programme of social innovation and community interest projects each with unique challenges and social benefits. All these practice-based projects generate both a significant research resource and teaching resource. Through this approach our students become multidisciplinary professionals who understand the importance of consequences and can achieve innovation to bring about holistic positive change. This case history presents a suite of project examples describing the approach, methods, outcomes and impact of the work. It also provides our understanding of the developing multidisciplinary professional self through student exemplars and describes some of the current research being leveraged by the group.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Innovation & Entrepreneurship Teaching Excellence Awards 2015: An Anthology of Case Histories
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Number of pages171
ISBN (Print)9781910810538
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2015


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