Communication for Innovation

Instructor:Marcus Guest
Updated:10 January, 2017

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Course Summary

The course aims to equip future public relations practitioners with a critical understanding of innovation theory and its application. Central topics covered in the course include classical and non-classical views of innovation and communication, the innovation dynamic and exaptive innovation. The course will lead to an innovative project exploring barriers to innovation and discovery of paths to overcome this in a real world example.

Course Format

Hours of lectureHours of discussionHours of independent studyTotal numbers of hours

Please note that the time spent on independent study exceeds hours of lecture and discussion.

Course Content

The course will cover the following topics:

  • Everything you wanted to know about innovation but were afraid to ask:
    • 15 expert views of innovation
  • Classical view of innovation (myths and misconceptions):
    • Knightian uncertainty
    • Schumpter’s creative destruction
    • Disruptive innovation
  • Non-classical view of communication:
    • Metaphor and abstraction
    • Dunbar’s evolution of language
    • Sigmoid curve of innovation in communication
  • Non-classical view of innovation (emergence in complex adaptive systems):
    • Creativity as a symptom, not a cause of innovation
    • Overcoming cognitive obstacles
    • The entrepreneurial state
  • The innovation dynamic:
    • The Cynefin framework
    • The OODA loop
    • Nature’s algorithm — variation and selection (open innovation)
    • Obliquity and serendipity
  • Mapping the landscape:
    • Wonder, peace and war
  • Exaptive innovation:
    • Abductive reasoning
    • Side-casting
    • Heuristics

Reading List

Required reading:

  • Michael L. Tushman, Philip Anderson (2004). Managing Strategic Innovation and Change. Oxford University Press

Recommended reading:

  • Clayton M. Christensen (2011). The Innovator’s Dilemma. HarperBusiness

Online resources:

Homework Assignments

Homework will be assigned weekly. You will be expected to study online resources, revise class materials and perform various tasks. You will participate in challenging discussions and work on a team project on overcoming innovation anti-bodies in a real organisation.


It is a graded course of study. You should complete all the assignments and take an exam.

Russian Grading System
Excellent (A)
Good (B)
Satisfactory (С)
Unsatisfactory (F)