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Online course

Innovation: the World's Greatest

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

Innovation: the World's Greatest

Why join the course?

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.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsInnovation 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 secondsAlong 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

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

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?

This course is part of the ‘Going to University’ collection which has been specifically designed for schools and colleges. The course can be used as a teachers’ classroom enrichment resource or can be studied independently by students.

Who will you learn with?

Dan Trowsdale

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?

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.

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Join this course


  • Access to this course for 4 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes

Upgrade - $64

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible