Innovation through representation
Innovation through representation

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Innovation through representation

Innovation through representation


Innovations are realised through design, and some of the most useful tools in the designer’s toolbox are the representations that are used to move from a vague idea to a concept, and then to a realised product, service or system. In this course we are going to explore in some detail what these representations are and how they are used not only to develop, but also to communicate visions of innovation.

In this free course, we will start in Section 1 by considering how innovation is defined, what the sources of innovation are, and what the outcomes of innovation look like. In Section 2 we will take this further by considering how representations are used to develop and discuss innovations; how they are used by designers to communicate their ideas, concepts or visions, and why they are used to support communication and dialogue. In Section 3, we will explore how representations are created and used as tools during innovation processes; we will consider the different types of representations and the different roles that these play in innovation processes. In Section 4 we will explore the role of representations in ensuring that innovation takes place, by persuading others of the value of an innovation. Finally, in Section 5, we will summarise the key learning outcomes of the course, and introduce the Innovation Frame, a useful model that supports thinking about the innovation process.

Table 1 What you have to do

Section Study time
1. What is innovation? 4 hours
2. Talking about representations 3 hours
3. What are representations for? 4 hours
4. Persuading representations 3 hour
5. Supporting innovation 1 hour

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course T317 Innovation: designing for change [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371