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NES8011 : Problem Solving through Innovation PG

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Miss Katie Wray
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


To practice the process of innovation and opportunity development through examination and testing of assumptions upon which value propositions are based.

The module will use a scientific approach to the analysis of identifiable problems; refining and validating problems before moving on to solutions. Students are expected to interact with real potential users and stakeholders to identify insights that support the opportunities for innovation.

Outline Of Syllabus

The problem-opportunity development process will be offered as a toolkit through the module sessions, including;
Critiquing and constructing project and value propositions
Market research and the testing of assumptions
Finding customers/users
Group Coaching sessions

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials201:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion601:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical16:006:00workshop
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity131:0013:00Planning and Market Research
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Group Coaching
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module invites students from across disciplines to ‘bring their individual skills and interests with them’ and combine personal experience, industrial knowledge and interest areas to facilitate ideation, innovation and problem solving. The module is active for the pre- through post-school period and will require significant group and independent work outside of lectures to plan and undertake real market research (interaction with users and stakeholders) and ideation.
Pre-school activity will include an introduction to problem identification; from which students will, in groups, unpack to find an actionable aspect of the problem to present for feedback at the start of the first taught week. This actionable problem will become the stimulus for market research, leading to the group market research report.
A significant focus of the module is on the individual’s ability to self-appraise their own capacities and capabilities for problem-solving through innovation with a view to how they may be deployed to solve problems and approach work in the future.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M70Group market research report to demonstrate the profile of an opportunity (1,500 words per person, group size 4-6)
Report2M30Individual self-reflection (1,500 words)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MCompulsory presentation for formative feedback
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Formative: Oral presentation of an ‘actionable-problem’ to receive feedback on progress towards final report.
Students will draw down from stimuli such as the UN SDGs to work backwards in identifying an actionable problem which, if solved will demonstrate progress within the challenge area. Spending time researching and presenting the actionable aspects of the problem is key before moving forward in pursuit of a realistic and demand-led solution.
Assessment 2: Group Market Opportunity Report (70%)
Drawing upon research work, skills and practice throughout the module, this group assessment will document the conclusions that have been drawn around the opportunity identified.
Assessment 3: Individual Self-Reflection (30%)
Students will develop awareness and a wide range of key skills through experiential learning that contextualises an innovation mind set. Through reflection and self-review students will draw outcomes and be able to tell stories of their application in the future.
Group assessment will be subject to peer assessment using the University’s tool for peer evaluation of group work contribution.

Reading Lists