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The University of Southampton

MANG6280 Sustainable and Responsible Innovation

Module Overview

In the light of global challenges such as climate change or uneven development, there is an increasing need and demand for products or services that contribute value through enhancing ecological sustainability (e.g. low-carbon or renewable energy) or social responsibility (e.g. for the poor or the socially excluded). This module has been developed to address these important trends. It provides you with a rigorous conceptual understanding of sustainable and responsible innovation, and it provides you with an understanding of the practical challenges for innovation management.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the reasons why sustainability and social responsibility have become strategic key imperatives for a wide range of organisations;
  • the business opportunities for sustainable and responsible innovations;
  • the barriers and limitations for successful sustainable and responsible innovations including why certain barriers are hard to overcome.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • understand and apply appropriate theoretical concepts, models, tools and techniques of sustainable and responsible innovation;
  • evaluate alternative approaches to understanding and managing sustainable and responsible innovation;
  • apply opportunity recognition processes to develop sustainable and responsible innovations.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • understand the conceptual debates on sustainability and social responsibility for innovation;
  • evaluate how broader technological and societal contexts shape the enablers of, and barriers to, sustainable and responsible innovation;
  • understand and evaluate how sustainability and social responsibility can be integrated into business strategy and innovation management;
  • analyse the feasibility of implementing new product/service/process opportunities in a sustainable and socially responsible context.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • recognise that in many situations there is a range of alternatives which should be evaluated;
  • self-manage the development of learning and study skills, both individually and as part of a collaborative learning group;
  • contribute successfully to a group work;
  • apply the research skills to synthesise, analyse, interpret and critically evaluate information from a range of sources.


• Introduction: why sustainable and responsible innovation • Key concepts of sustainability and social responsibility • Key actors driving the environmental and social responsibility agenda • Barriers to sustainable and responsible innovation • Dimensions of sustainable innovation (including capabilities approach, routine configurations, sensemaking, effectuation thinking, driving revenues and creating intangible value, green design, life cycle analysis) • Dimensions of responsible innovation (including innovation for social inclusion, poverty alleviation).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: Lectures, interactive case studies, problem-solving activities, directed reading, and private/guided study. Learning activities include: • Introductory lectures • A group assignment • Case study/problem solving activities • In class debate and discussion • Private study • Use of video and online materials Class activities, such as problem solving activities, discussions and use of case studies will provide opportunities for you to gain feedback from your tutor and/or peers about their level of understanding and knowledge prior to any formal summative assessment. Feedback on the coursework will normally be provided through a written report for each individual/group within four weeks of the submission date.

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Freeman, R. E. et al (2010). Stakeholder Theory: The State of the Art. 

Owen, R., Bessant, J. and M. Heintz, eds. (2013). Responsible Innovation. 

Nussbaum, M. (2011). Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. 

Lessmann, O. and Rauschmayer, F. (2013). The Capability Approach and Sustainability. 

Sarasvathy, D. (2009). Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise. 

Karnani, A. (2011). Fighting Poverty Together: Rethinking Strategies for Business, Governments, and Civil Society to Reduce Poverty.. 



Individual and group activities


MethodPercentage contribution
Group Assignment  (2000 words) 20%
Individual assignment  (2000 words) 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (2000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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