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Strategic capabilities for technological innovation

The need for ongoing technological innovation has become a strategic necessity for many organisations. Even in traditionally stable sectors, the option of maintaining the status quo is seldom viable. This creates challenges for how organisations acquire and manage the resources and capabilities necessary for effective approaches to innovation and create and maintain contexts that support strategic action. This online module draws on material from the resource-based view of organisations and strategic and innovation management more generally to produce a multi-layered, practical, approach to the development and management of technological innovation. It is suitable for anyone interested in developing or improving their skills and expertise in this area.


T849 is a compulsory module in our:

T849 is an optional module in our:

This module can also count towards M03 which is no longer available to new students.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

This module is relevant if you are involved or interested in the development and management of technological innovation in a wide variety of contexts and sectors as diverse and varied as:

  • IT/IS
  • telecommunications
  • computing
  • engineering
  • manufacturing
  • transport and logistics
  • retailing
  • energy production and supply
  • defence and security,
  • management and administration
  • any form of services, including health, welfare and leisure.

In all these fields, and more, the major theme of this module - the importance of strategically planning and managing a range of organisational resources and capabilities to deliver technological innovation - is central to the effective and successful operation of organisations of any size and purpose.

Block 1: Innovation capabilities

Since the 1950s scholars and researchers of innovation have tried to analyse and explain innovation and what makes some organisations successful at it while other, often similar, organisations are not. This block introduces you to one popular approach to understanding and explaining this conundrum - the resource based view (RBV) of organisations and the dynamic capabilities approach - and how and why this approach is important for the development and management of technological innovation.

Block 2: Innovation strategy

Strategy is nowadays commonplace across all forms of organisation and enterprise, whether commercial, government and public sector or non-profit - or so we are led to believe. And acceptance of the assumed importance and benefits of strategic management is widespread. It is argued that strategy is both integral and crucial to the development and success of technological innovation. This block briefly reviews the development of strategic management, its rise to current levels of popularity and what might constitute good and bad strategy. To conclude this block, you’ll explore the nature of innovation strategy specifically and its growing importance for organisational and technological innovation.

Block 3: Business models for innovation

Business models are the basis on which organisations gain value from the technological innovations they develop. Recent innovations have sometimes disrupted whole industries (such as in the case of digital music) requiring the creation of dramatically different business models. Other innovations have had less dramatic impact but it is frequently still necessary to develop a more effective business model in order to gain or maintain competitive advantage. This block analyses the nature of a business model, examines examples, and then draws on a range of approaches to develop new models.

Block 4: Innovation, culture and risk

This block is about the relationships between three topics: innovation; risk; and organisational climate/culture. A willingness to take risks has been identified as a positive determinant of creativity and innovation but it is equally important that actual and potential risks are identified and managed appropriately. The ways of doing both risk identification and risk management are covered in this block. Organisational climate/culture affect all aspects of an organisation but are particularly important where innovation is concerned and will therefore also be discussed in some depth. Finally, determinants of organisational culture that influence innovation will be examined before considering the extent to which it is possible to shift culture in a pre-determined direction.

Block 5: Innovation, power and influence

This block takes a contextual, innovation related, approach to the analysis of organisational and systemic sources of power and influence and their use in leveraging advantageous positions and resources and in the creation and strategic management of capabilities for technological innovation.

Block 6: Future capabilities for innovation

This block concludes the module by reviewing and synthesising some of the key themes and issues that emerge from across the previous five blocks. The block ends by examining some potential future developments in the development and management of capabilities for innovation and our understanding and application of this approach.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be assigned a tutor with broad knowledge and skills relevant to this module. Your tutor will advise you as you develop ideas for your assignments and end-of-module assessment. You will also have access to advice through online forums and through wikis and real-time online tutorials. Communication with your tutor will be mainly through email, telephone and online tutorials.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and end-of-module assessment (EMA).

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849) starts twice a year – in May and November.

This page describes the module that will start in November 2020 and May 2021.

We expect it to start for the last time in May 2023.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    This is a masters-level module that can be taken either as a stand-alone module or as part of a postgraduate qualification. 

    Relevant professional experience will provide you with a good foundation for studying this module. However, as it takes a multi-disciplinary view of technology strategy, you don’t need to have previously studied any of the topics covered in the module.

    Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


    Start End England fee Register
    01 Nov 2020 Apr 2021 £1440.00

    Registration closes 08/10/20 (places subject to availability)

    01 May 2021 Oct 2021 £1440.00

    Registration closes 08/04/21 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in May 2023.

    Future availability

    Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849) starts twice a year – in May and November.

    This page describes the module that will start in November 2020 and May 2021.

    We expect it to start for the last time in May 2023.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Study materials

    What's included

    The study material is provided wholly online. Online databases for literature searching will be accessible via the OU Library website. Further resources (such as examples of research of relevance to your discipline) are also available via the module website. You will use online forums, wikis and podcasts during your study.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The core study material will be delivered online via the module website, so you will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet.

    Some online material may not be fully accessible using a screen reader (and mathematical and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet and have concerns about accessing this type of material you are advised to contact us about support that can be given to meet your needs.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.