• University of Bristol

Unleash Your Potential: Innovation and Enterprise

Get an introduction to innovation and enterprise, and learn to generate and evaluate your own ideas.

14,849 enrolled on this course

Unleash Your Potential: Innovation and Enterprise
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    Learn at your own paceHow it works
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    $15.83/monthLearn more

Discover how to shape your world with innovation

In the ever-changing and highly competitive world we live in, the ability to think creatively has never been more important.

Get an introduction to innovation and enterprise, and gain the confidence to generate ideas so that you can make a difference, with this online course from the University of Bristol.

You’ll learn ways to develop ideas, gain creative confidence, and turn ideas into action.

You’ll improve your problem solving capabilities, and discover problem structuring tools to tackle complex issues.

Finally, you’ll learn how to develop networks, articulate ideas, and pitch successfully.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds When you think of the words ‘innovation’ and ‘enterprise’, you may conjure up mental images of the tech industry’s latest game changing invention, or a global entrepreneur literally pushing the boundaries of human exploration. However, these words aren’t restricted to Silicon Valley. They’re intertwined in all our work and our personal lives on a day to day basis. What these words have in common is they’re about having and acting on an idea. We all have ideas, so why are some good and why do some have more impact than others?

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 seconds The course is also about how you can both solve problems and engineer your own luck, so that you not only have more and better ideas but that these ideas have more chance of being successful. We’ll also explore how creative ideas emerge, develop and gain impact. Over the course of four weeks, we’ll provide an overview of historical innovations and an insight into the people who unleashed those ideas. A toolkit, of problem solving approaches and techniques, an insight into accidental breakthroughs, and an array of techniques that you can use to communicate your idea with more impact.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds In short, we’ll provide you with ways to generate more ideas, better ideas, and to act on them with more success, to help you shape your world.


  • Week 1

    Introducing Innovation

    • Introduction to the course

      Welcome to Unleash your Potential: Innovation and Enterprise. To start, find out a bit more about the course, and who you will be learning with.

    • A timeline of innovation

      Innovation is never straightforward. It's something that has been happening constantly throughout human evolution, and is still happening around us in millions of interconnected ways. What does innovation look like over time?

    • Who is an 'innovator'?

      Often, people have quite a fixed view of who is 'innovative' or 'creative', and many people don't think they fall into either category. But let's look at this notion, and think about what makes someone a successful innovator.

    • Your creative habits and resource profile

      The first step towards developing ideas is working out who you are, what your skills and passions are, and how you can use those to drive you forward. What resource do you have now? What do you want to develop?

    • End of week reflection

      At the end of each week, the educators on this course will share reflections on the week's activity.

  • Week 2

    Understanding Problems

    • An introduction to problems

      One way to approach innovation is with a problem–solution approach. But before we get to thinking about solutions, it's first important to analyse your problem.

    • What makes a problem problematic?

      Now that we've come up with some problems, it's time to look at them more closely. What, exactly, makes something problematic? How can we explain our problem to others?

    • Categorising different types of problem

      There are many ways to categorise problems: here we look at one method, the Cynefin Framework. This framework is a good starting point, as once you know what type of problem you have, you are better placed to tackle it.

    • From informal to formal problem structuring techniques

      Now you have a broad categorisation for your problem, you can choose more targeted techniques to help you structure it further. Some may only need informal methods, but others need more formal techniques.

    • Why do we use problem structuring methods?

      We've looked at what problems are and how we can understand them, but spend so much time looking at the problem rather than the solution? Shouldn't we be getting on with it? Here, we look at why this analysis is so important.

    • End of week reflection

      At the end of each week, the educators on this course will share reflections on the week's activity.

  • Week 3

    Opportunities and Serendipity

    • Introduction to opportunities

      So far we have been thinking about structured approaches to problems and solutions. But, there is also a much more haphazard, opportunistic nature in innovation. This week we will look at opportunities and, crucially, luck.

    • Engineering luck

      So, luck is often involved in innovation, but surely there's nothing we can do about it? Either you're lucky or your not, right? Well here, we explore ways to increase your luck, and make serendipity more likely.

    • Forms of innovation

      Not all innovations are the same ‘type’ of innovations. Here we explore different types and forms of innovation, and look at how this can provide a useful lens through which to look at innovation more generally.

    • Creating possibilities

      How, then, do you go about creating your own possibilities and opportunities? In this section we explore ways to brainstorm for ideas, particularly using one technique: SCAMPER.

    • Looking to future horizons

      Here, we start to look forward, to what ideas can be developed, and what we think the next big things will be. How do you go about innovating for a future which is hard to predict?

    • Evaluating ideas

      So far, we have been coming up with lots of crazy, 'divergent' ideas, and looking at expanding problems and situations out to look for possibilities. It's now time start 'converging': working out which ideas to take forward.

    • End of week reflection

      At the end of each week, the educators on this course will share reflections on the week's activity.

  • Week 4

    Turning your ideas into reality

    • Getting your ideas out there

      Finding yourself with a great idea is one thing, but getting that idea off the ground is quite another. To do this, you need to be able to pitch your ideas to others, develop your networks, and get people on board!

    • The lean start-up method

      Once we have ideas, we need to start doing something with them. That's where 'lean' comes in: a model for developing ideas through lots of rapid, low-cost prototyping and testing rather than through traditional business processes.

    • Networking

      How are you presenting yourself to the world? Do you have rich networks, or could you use some practice in making connections and working collaboratively? What about online: is your profile doing you justice?

    • The 'Twitch Pitch' (or summarising your ideas)

      Summarising concisely is often harder than explaining at length, but writing a snappy summary is crucial to explaining your idea to others. Could you sum up your idea in 140 characters? The 'Twitch Pitch' challenge is on.

    • Influencing people

      Who you are pitching to is a crucial factor. Why are they interested? How can you best persuade them? What do they need to know? In this section, we explore how to influence people, and get them on board.

    • Now, over to you...

      Well done, you've nearly completed the course! Before we go, let's reflect a little on what happens when things don't go exactly to plan (and why we hope they won't!), and where you might like to go from here.

    • End of course wrapup

      At the end of each week, the educators on this course will share reflections on the week's activity.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop your personal resource profile and innovation style to better focus your ideas
  • Explore historic, current, and future innovations that inspire you
  • Develop a toolkit of problem-solving and idea-generating techniques
  • Investigate engineering your own luck so that you have more and better ‘accidental’ ideas
  • Identify ways to start-up an idea with a minimum of effort and expense
  • Improve your pitching and influencing skills
  • Collaborate through online networking

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone interested in innovation and enterprise in the modern world, but may be of particular interest to students who are looking to develop their transferable skills for the workplace and general day-to-day life.

Who will you learn with?

Teaching Fellow at the University of Bristol's Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Co-Director of the MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

RSA and EEUK Fellow.

Neil is a Lecturer within the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Bristol. He also teaches at the Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre (QTEC).

Who developed the course?

University of Bristol

University of Bristol is one of the leading institutions among the UK’s Russell Group of universities and is recognised for its research and academic excellence.


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  • Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a year
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Available until 22 November 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

Available until 22 November 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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