Strategy, Change and Innovation

Using a design thinking approach, this unit challenges its MBA students to link business strategy to novel business models that enhance an innovation’s potential to add value to an organisation.

This unit has integrated the Edge on Innovation module Intellectual Property Principles.

Innovative WIL Features

  • Postgraduate unit
  • Multiple touch points with Entrepreneurs
  • Design thinking methodology
  • Multidisciplinary

Unit Impacts & Outcomes 

For students: Gaining awareness of challenges for business, exploring various discipline contexts, making connections, working from multiple perspectives

For industry: Connections with students and future graduates/collaborators, exposure to innovative business modelling initiatives, ideas for solving complex problems, long term industry/university partnership.

For teaching: Connections with business, entrepreneurs for managing industry currency, time consuming with no recognition or workload allocation, opened up possibilities for research, translated to links with and opportunities for executive education, broadened career prospects.


  • Benefits for all stakeholders
  • Willingness of stakeholders to commit time and expertise
  • High level of student engagement  

Evidencing & Assessment Strategies

  1. Strategy Investigation (30%): For this assessment, you need to analyse critically the limitations of the traditional approach to strategic management that might explain the increased use of the business model.  Additionally, you need to investigate approaches to strategy formulation that complement the development of a firm’s business model, and specifically, its value proposition. To help you with this assessment, some articles have been added to the reading list for this unit that will give you some insight to the limitations of the traditional strategy approach and a new approach that focuses more on the consumer. The strategy investigation requires you to provide a 2000 (+/-10%) word assignment that evaluates alternative principles and concepts to demonstrate further your critical analysis skills.  The use of diagrams  to support your discussion is encouraged while your ability to synthesise key principles, concepts and models into your own conceptual frameworks will be regarded favourably by your instructor


  1. Group Project (30%): An invited CEO/Director of a local firm or organisation will begin your investigation with a presentation.  The company has been selected as the case of interest for you to prepare an assignment around a major organisational challenge or problem it is facing.  This assessment is group based (two to four students per group) so you can share your analysis and findings together.  You are expected to analyse the challenge by applying design thinking processes and techniques, particularly in relation to the firm’s relevant business model, to identify the “real challenge” behind the challenge.  Another key element of the design thinking process is re-thinking an organisation’s value proposition once the organisation’s real challenge or problem has been identified.  Since there is likely to be a disconnect between a firm’s original value proposition and your re-defined organisational challenge or problem, you will need to use design thinking techniques to help you revise the focal organisation’s value proposition.  You will discuss how you used design thinking techniques to analyse the organisation’s challenge and value proposition to reach your conclusion.  Your assignment will include an introduction discussing briefly the firm’s current challenge and value proposition as identified by the CEO/Director while in the main discussion you will demonstrate the clear application of the design thinking methods you used to “breakdown” the challenge into its basic components as well as explain how you revised the value proposition.  The assessment requires you to reflect on the design thinking techniques that were used to help you re-define the focal organisation’s challenge/problem and value proposition.  This reflection requires a deep evaluation of how your group applied the design thinking techniques and where you found the exercise challenging and why.  Remember, you are not providing a solution to the redefined organisational challenge in this assessment but instead discussing the effectiveness of the design thinking techniques in getting you to understand more deeply the key issues the focal organisation is facing. This assignment also requires you to reflect on how design thinking links with strategy.


  1. Innovation Report (40%): The Innovation Report builds on the group project by identifying a solution for the challenge or problem you identified in the previous assessment and how the focal organisation will be able to deliver its revised value proposition.  Make sure you include a discussion on this problem/organisational challenge and value proposition in your introduction to the report. Your introduction should also discuss the existing strategies of the focal organisation.  This assessment brings together the topics covered during the semester/trimester including a revision of the design thinking techniques used for redefining the organisational challenge and value proposition.  You will demonstrate how your proposed solution will be implemented by your focal organisation through a revised business model that is different to the organisation’s original starting point.  You will need to describe how the model differs from the original one and how and why it will benefit the focal organisation. You will also apply some of the strategy concepts we covered early in the semester/trimester as well as issues associated with intellectual property protection and collaboration strategies. 

Current Unit Learning Outcomes

  1. Critique the traditional approach to strategy formulation and building competitive advantage
  2. Apply design thinking to develop innovative solutions to organisational problems and challenges including ethical considerations
  3. Generate novel and appropriate business models to complement and enhance an innovation’s potential to create and add value
  4. Create an imaginative presentation to argue the benefits of design thinking to strategy, change and innovation.



Louis Geneste