IA20210 Innovation for Sustainability (OL)

Academic Year 2023/2024

"We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change – and it has to start today." Greta Thurnberg

As we face the historic challenge of climate change, the overall aim of this module is to develop your ability to innovate and test sustainable solutions, products, services and new ways of living to ensure a better future for us all.

The challenges of sustainability are increasingly urgent, inherently complex, and beyond the remit of any one discipline, sector or community. Over the course of this module you will work in multidisciplinary teams on a series of activities, projects and real-world challenges drawn from different key sectors (e.g. food, built environment, transport, energy, retail and finance). You will use creative, innovation and design thinking approaches to engage with complex challenges and work in teams to co-create innovative, sustainable solutions.

You will learn about the key challenges in sustainability and explore the potential of human centric design approaches and the circular economy, while developing your innovation and sustainability mindsets.

"I have learned you are never too small to make a difference." Greta Thurnberg

Mode of Delivery:: This module is delivered entirely online in a "Live Online" format.

"Live online" is a highly interactive and dynamic approach to online learning consisting of class discussions, breakout rooms, mini-breaks and team activities and projects throughout the week.

You must be available to attend and participate 9.30am-4.30pm every day of the module and complete any pre-module tasks and post-module deliverables.

Please visit module IA20100 Innovation for Sustainability for in-person options in September (Autumn Trimester) and March (Spring Trimester).


At the UCD Innovation Academy, we are Educator Practitioners with extensive real-world experience as academics, business and social entrepreneurs, tech thinkers, creative professionals and design thinking practitioners.

Our teaching is grounded in academic rigour. Our focus is on ‘learning by doing’ in a real-world context. Classes include a combination of individual and team tasks and activities, along with discussions, presentations and reflection.

Enrolment on an Innovation Academy module means a commitment to active participation and engagement, which necessitates attendance at all scheduled classes.

“The teaching team generated a spirit of camaraderie among students of diverse academic disciplines and backgrounds. The exercises and tasks have been brilliantly adapted to work in the virtual world, and I found them challenging and engaging.” 2020 Student

Class Size : We limit our class size to 36 students or less. We require a minimum of 16 participants to ensure enough people for teamwork and a dynamic classroom environment. On very rare occasions, if fewer than 16 registered students register, we will offer students the opportunity to join another class.


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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

n successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

• Outline the key challenges of Sustainability and their underlying causes

• Discuss the role and importance of creativity and innovation for Sustainability with a particular emphasis on the Circular Economy

• Work to develop a campaign to raise awareness and inspire action about a real-world sustainability challenge

• Work in a multidisciplinary team

• Practice personal reflection as a tool for continuous self-improvement and self-directed learning as well as identify areas for personal action.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
All Innovation Academy modules take a 'learning by doing' approach, combining individual, and group activities and tasks including presentations, discussion and reflection. Guest speakers will share their own experiences and lessons learnt.

• Active/task-based learning
• Real-world challenges set by host organisations
• Peer and Group work
• Giving and Receiving Feedback
• Reflective Learning
• Enquiry & Problem-based learning
• Student Presentations
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Tasks, activities and projects - both in and outside of class Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Presentation: Team Project Presentation Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Assignment: Reflection Report Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Attendance: This module requires active participation and engagement, which necessitates attendance at ALL scheduled classes (80% attendance is required to pass this component) . Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat Within Two Trimesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback can be given to students upon request. This may include feedback on their participation during the module and/or their deliverables

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Workshop Offering 1 Week(s) - 17 Fri 09:00 - 16:50
Workshop Offering 1 Week(s) - 18 Mon 09:00 - 16:50
Workshop Offering 1 Week(s) - 17 Thurs 09:00 - 16:50
Workshop Offering 1 Week(s) - 18 Tues 09:00 - 16:50
Workshop Offering 1 Week(s) - 28 Fri 09:00 - 16:50
Workshop Offering 1 Week(s) - 28 Thurs 09:00 - 16:50
Workshop Offering 1 Week(s) - 28 Tues 09:00 - 16:50
Workshop Offering 1 Week(s) - 28 Wed 09:00 - 16:50