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  • University of Leeds

Innovation: the World's Greatest

Understand what innovation means and consider the history and developments of innovations that are important in our daily lives.

35,362 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

This course is just one of a series about ‘innovation’. You can sign up to the other courses in this series through the Going to University collection.

This course considers innovations throughout history identifying that very few innovative ideas are new; the vast majority take something that is already working and improve it, be it a product, service or process. You’ ll consider the development of an innovation that you are particularly interested in, and, through a short project, produce and share with other learners your interpretation of its history.

Note for students

This course is part of a collection from the University of Leeds which have been specifically designed for those studying at school or college. All of the courses will help to enrich and extend your knowledge in a specific topic and develop your transferable skills. These courses will help you with making decisions about which subject to study at university and will give you examples and evidence when developing your university application.

Throughout the course you will join a community of online learners, providing an opportunity for interactive learning with other students both in the UK and internationally.

Each course is designed to complement your existing studies and aims to:

  • provide evidence for UCAS applications and prepare you for university
  • help you to gain new skills, think critically and learn independently
  • encourage online / social learning
  • develop collaboration and analytical skills
  • embed current research into your online learning

For information about degrees available at the University of Leeds, please visit our course finder website.

Note for teachers

Aimed at prospective Undergraduate students both in the UK and internationally, our online courses provide a ‘taster’ of Undergraduate study at the University of Leeds.

Our courses benefit from being shaped by the latest research from the University of Leeds and are presented by leading academics who are actively engaged in pioneering research. They will inspire your students to think critically and develop their knowledge and analytical skills.

The course can be used as a wider classroom or enrichment resource or can be used independently by students to discover more about the subject area. Each course provides flexible study and benefits from online discussions with other learners.

If you would like to know more about this course or the range of courses from the University of Leeds designed specifically for schools and colleges, please visit our teachers’ pages for further information and resources.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Innovation is what moves us forward, from the wheel to the internet and everything in between. This course focuses on important innovations throughout history. We start by exploring different types of innovation. You’ll see that very few innovative ideas can be thought of as completely new. The vast majority take something that is already working, improve upon it, or apply it in a new way. Through videos, activities, and quizzes, this course will look at some of the different types of innovation that exist. And you will discuss with your fellow learners which innovations you rate as being the world’s greatest and why.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 seconds Along the way, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to interact with learners from around the world, giving you new perspectives on the topic. Sign up now to The World’s Greatest Innovations.

What topics will you cover?

  • What is innovation? Interpretation in business and within a wider context
  • Determining types of innovation: products, processes, services
  • Levels of innovation: incremental, radical, disruptive
  • Innovation in action: the challenges of an independent, serial innovator
  • The solar fridge: finding innovative solutions to challenges in Africa

Learning on this course

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...

  • Discuss great innovations from history and share ideas with fellow learners.
  • Compare your ideas with those of educators and students from the University of Leeds.
  • Explore what the term ‘innovation’ means and reflect on how it is interpreted in business and in wider contexts.
  • Contribute to the discussion regarding the different types of innovation and think of examples of each.
  • Identify examples of the three levels of innovation: incremental, radical and disruptive.
  • Evaluate your chosen innovation in light of your understanding of the types and levels of innovation.
  • Research and report on the history and development of an innovation of your choice.
  • Record and report on the history of your chosen innovation.
  • Share and discuss your report on your chosen innovation with fellow learners.

Who is the course for?

No previous knowledge or experience of business or innovation is required, just an interest in innovations and how they emerge. If you are new to learning online you will find it helpful to join Learning Online: Learning and Collaborating prior to joining this course.

Who will you learn with?

Hi, I'm a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Univesity of Leeds. My areas of interest are based around the subject of design. Key areas are innovation, creativity and employability.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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