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Business Innovation in Turbulent Times

Course overview

The Global Innovation Challenge at Aston Business School is a project-based course, which will provide students with the unique opportunity to work in a multicultural team of talented international master students from eight triple-accredited Global Innovation Alliance partner schools. Supervised by experienced academics, the students will work on real-life business challenges faced by corporations required to make strategic changes to improve their market competitiveness in turbulent times. The course will enhance the students’ managerial and problem-solving skills, which will be applied to develop potential solutions to address the specific business challenges presented by top executives during the course. Through a series of workshops covering important business management and interpersonal development subjects such as Strategy, Marketing, Sustainable Operations, Information Management, Entrepreneurship & Leadership, Creative Problem-solving, Change Management, etc., the course will provide the students with key managerial knowledge and professional skills required to develop creative solutions for the business challenges presented. Overall, the course at Aston will provide students with a distinct advantage by developing their professional competence as future managers, preparing them for employment in an increasingly global and competitive business environment.

Academic year


Duration and dates

2 weeks from June 26 to July 7, 2023 (arrival on Sunday 25th and departure on Saturday 8th)

Teaching format

Face-to-face on campus in Birmingham UK


Luciano Batista and Geoff Parkes


Dr Luciano Batista

Luciano is a Senior Lecturer in Operations Management, founding Director of the Centre for Circular Economy and Advanced Sustainability (CEAS) research centre at Aston Business School, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK, and co-author of the book Sustainable Operations Management: Key Practices and Cases, published by Routledge. He is also a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, where he is Co-Chair for research impact of the Institute’s Logistics Research Network forum. Luciano is also an affiliated faculty member of the Microeconomics of Competitiveness group at Harvard Business School, Harvard University. With large industry experience acquired during many years working as director of large corporations in Brazil and USA, his areas of expertise include sustainable operations and supply chains, technology management, strategy and competitiveness, and applications of digital technologies to enable industrial transitions to the circular economy.

Dr Geoff Parkes

Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Geoff has expert knowledge in the areas of entrepreneurship and international marketing. Most recently he was seconded for 12 months to Aston University Hong Kong. He teaches extensively in the Aston’s MBA programme and leads a research project on the use of foreign language capability as a source or competitive advantage in small firms. He has industry background as marketing practitioner, acting as Sales & Marketing Director of Aga Cookers and Armitage Shanks. He managed a number of MBIs and currently acts as an Advisor and Non Executive Director at a number of other businesses including a children’s day nursery and a management consultancy practice.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course a student should be able to:

  • Identify and articulate business and management challenges and design potential solutions to address them.

  • Apply managerial, analytical, and interpsersonal skills to develop implementable innovative solutions for business challenges.

  • Evaluate competitiveness scenarios of businesses and their market contexts.

  • Develop a conceptual understanding of key tools and frameworks available to identify enterprise opportunities.

  • Effectivelly work in international teams and multicultural environment.

  • Prepare project reports and client presentations.

  • Present and communicate business projects in an effective manner.

  • Evaluate critically the project reports presented by others.

  • Develop a culture of ambition and personal excellence to succeed through and with others in challenging business scenarios.

Course content

The topics covered in the course are designed to lead students through relevant skills and managerial approaches and practices that can be applied to address challenging business innovation initiatives. There will be opportunities to explore major business challenges linked with managerial approaches to support the identification of potential solutions based on informed strategic decisions.

The students will engage with a series workshops and group activities throughout the course. They course activities will develop fundamental knowledge and skills that will allow students to work on a specific business challenge as well as elaborate and present a project to tackle the identified challenge. Working in a team, the students are expected to agree on a problem-solving work plan involving an implementation strategy for it.

Indicative topics of the course are:

  • Strategic business innovation and change management
  • Entrepreneurship and leadership
  • Effective teamwork, network building and intercultural ethics
  • Consultancy skills and problem solving techniques
  • Marketing strategy and customer relationship management
  • Sustainable operations and supply chains
  • Strategic information and technology management

Course value


Required background

Students must have completed one semester of coursework at the Master's level in one of the participating business schools.


The evaluation of this course is based on the group project content and context, as well as the final presentation. Assessment will be done as follows:

  • Internal evaluation by the project coordinator at the host school, based on the context, structure and content of the recommendations.
  • External evaluation by the company’s representative/senior management, based on the functioning of the project team, applicability and content of the recommendations.
  • Peer evaluation to ascertain individual participation.
  • Post course assignment (individual) on the cultural context and reflection.


  • Amit, R. and Zott, C. (2020), Business Model Innovation Strategy: Transformational Concepts and Tools for Entrepreneurial Leaders, Wiley.
  • Nunes, B., Batista, L., Masi, D. and Bennett, D. (2023), Sustainable Operations Management: Key Practices and Cases, Routledge.
  • Porter, M. (2008), On Competition: Updated and Expanded Edition, Harvard Business Review.
  • Semeradova, T. and Weinlich, P. (2022), Achieving Business Competitiveness in a Digital Environment: Opportunities in E-commerce and Online Marketing, Springer.
  • Wickham, L. and Wilcock, J. (2016). Management Consulting. Delivering an Effective Project, 5th edition, Prentice Hall.

Extra cost

Student contribution towards the social programme: £100

Miscellaneous information

Students will bear the costs of travel and accommodation. Students who wish to book accommodation organised by Aston will have to confirm by Friday, May 5.

About the School

Aston Business School is a global business school that offers a diverse range of programmes and creative teaching methods and works with local, national and international businesses to help them embed new strategies and practices which emerge from the School’s research findings.

Our departments and research centres work together to further our understanding of key business disciplines and issues, with a focus on innovation and impact.

Students at Aston Business School experience real-life business activities and engage with organisations of all shapes and sizes – from start-ups to multinationals.