Three themes permeate the MPhil Inclusive Innovation curriculum: open imagination, collaborative engagement and new frontiers.
Within these themes, four core challenges (or cross-cutting issues) have emerged, although research is not limited to these alone:
Reflect on theories and new approaches that help innovators understand the inclusive innovation context and how to pursue efforts in this space. This theme includes sessions on integrative, design and systems thinking, complex project orchestration, disclosing new worlds, complexity theory and ethnography.
Test and evolve new ideas through an action-oriented research project where innovators develop and prototype solutions. While innovators are exposed to different theories and methodologies in class, you will be expected to spend the majority of your time out in the real world, practically co-creating innovations with communities of interest. The bulk of the learning happens outside the classroom. This is where the ultimate action and impact needs to take place.
Focus on market insights and activities that are pushing the boundaries globally and in Africa. This theme includes presentations by key specialists and innovators within the programme who themselves are challenging the status quo through radical experimentation.
Inclusive innovators explore solutions for needs that have typically gone unmet. But meeting these needs and creating solutions that are relevant, calls for empathy (focusing on human needs), engagement, cooperation and listening to all stakeholders. As a result innovators will need to be competent in community engagement, co-creation across sectors and silos, and learning alongside stakeholders and specialists.
They will have to work with so-called “wicked problems” – those that have an evolving nature and demand new concepts and adjustments to common understandings. That’s why inclusive innovators will have to facilitate their own personal learning, in conjunction with group learning and system learning on a larger scale.
It's a learning journey that is very self-driven - a challenge that makes the MPhil programme effective and unique. Between modules, innovators are expected to reflect, consolidate classwork and engage with fellow students, other lecturers, partner organisations and local communities. New ideas are tested and evolved through an action-oriented research project where innovators develop and prototype solutions.
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