MG4C3      Half Unit
Information Technology and Service Innovation

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr William Venters MAR 4.33


This course is available on the Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (CEMS MIM), Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange), MSc in Management (1 Year Programme), MSc in Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation and MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is limited to 60 students.

Course content

The course aims to give the students theoretical and practical insights into the key issues informing the design of contemporary digital technology (IT). The course relates the diversity of the design challenges facing contemporary IT development. It embraces the shifting conditions for small teams of developers to design significant services in the context of technology-based startups, or as part of entrepreneurship within an existing enterprise or public institution. The design challenges relate to constantly shifting possibilities, for example, for the capture and processing of digital data previously beyond reach, the ability to leverage existing boundary resources (APIs, SDKs etc), and the expanding possibilities for reaching end-users in new ways. The course is constructed as the meeting of theory and practice. The former is constituted by the presentation and discussion of theoretical themes aimed at sharpening the student's ability to reason fundamentally about contemporary design challenges and opportunities. This aspect is also examined through an individual essay. The practical design skills are primarily honed through a group design project running throughout the course. Conducting this group design project will engage students in highly detailed and constructive design discussions leading to the submission of a designed IT artifact. The practical design skills sought practiced in the course are related to but largely independent from skills solely aimed at setting and analysing requirements on the one hand, and expressing the design through programming, on the other. The course, therefore, neither requires, nor teaches detailed programming techniques, but instead focuses on teaching design skills through practices and to sensitise these design skills through the discussion of pertinent theoretical themes. These themes take their outset in the increasing complexity of designing IT artifacts as the granularity of technology and data capture is decreasing to enable increasing tracking of more and more granular aspects of human activities. These relate to a variety of personal-, local-, and global communications infrastructures, as well as a variety of possible multi-sided platforms, and software middleware layers enabling rapid prototyping of complex designs. Topics addressed will be: Digital infrastructure innovation; Digital platform strategies; Designing technology affordance diversity; Understanding technology performances; Individual interaction intimacy; Amplified teams; The technological organisation; Global crowd innovation with IT; Privacy by design; Global technology innovation tussles; Business innovation with information technology; and decentralised consensus arrangements through blockchains and cryptoassets. The weekly seminars will consist of presentations and discussions offering students opportunity to critically reflect on theoretical and pragmatic issues related to the subject matter of the course, such as; the IT artifact and ecosystem, the role of IT in business innovation, understanding the paradoxes of technology performances, intimate technology experiences, IT mediated team-working, the IT-enabled organisation, innovating global IT mediated crowds, innovation as organisational tussles, and the role of IT-based innovation for business development.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the WT.

A reading week will take place in W6. There will be no teaching during this week.

Formative coursework

Classes are based around both the design group projects, as well as reading and discussing selected journal articles. Formative feedback is provided on class participation.

Indicative reading

• Boden, M. A. (2016). AI: Its nature and future. Oxford University Press.

• Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2009). Change by design: how design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. [New York]: Harper Business.

• Crawford, K. (2021). The Atlas of AI, Yale University Press.

• Cusumano, M. A., et al. (2019). The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power, HarperBusiness.

• Ekbia, H. R. and B. A. Nardi (2017). Heteromation, and Other Stories of Computing and Capitalism, MIT Press.

• Friedman, T. L. (2017). Thank you for being late: An optimist's guide to thriving in the age of accelerations. Picador USA.

• Gothelf, J., & In Seiden, J. (2013). Lean UX: Applying lean principles to improve user experience. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media, Inc.

•  Herbert, L. (2017): Digital Transformation: Build Your Organization's Future for the Innovation Age. Bloomsbury Publishing.

• McAfee, A. & E. Brynjolfsson (2017): Machine, Platform, Crowd. WW Norton & Company.

• Lacity, M. C. (2020). Blockchain Foundations for the Internet of Value. Arkansas, epic books.

• Norman, D. (1988): The Psychology of Everyday Things. USA: Basic Books

• Simon (1969): The Sciences of the Artificial. MIT Press

• Stickdorn, M., & Schneider, J. (2010). This is service design thinking: Basics--tools--cases. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers.

• Susskind, D. (2020). A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond, Henry Holt and Company.

• Tiwana, A. (2014). Platform Ecosystems: Aligning Architecture, Governance, and Strategy, Morgan Kaufmann.

• Wachter-Boettcher, S. (2017). Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech. WW Norton & Company.

• Willcocks, L., Venters, W., & Whitley, E. (2014). Moving To The  Cloud Corporation. Palgrave Macmillan.

• Zuboff, S. (1987): In the Age of the Smart Machine. Basic Books

• Zuboff, S. (2019): The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power.


Project (70%) and essay (30%, 1500 words).

The course has two summative elements: an individual theoretical essay (30%), and from the group design project, a technical report (50%) and a separate submission of an individual essay reflecting on the group work and on group participation (20%), which jointly comprise one summative component (70%).


Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2022/23: 57

Average class size 2022/23: 18

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills