TIK4021 – Innovation and global challenges

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

Science and innovation are called upon to solve some of the most pressing problems of the world today, such as climate change, economic development and global health. But why does economic growth differ so much in the first place? Why do current climate change solutions to such a high degree emphasise development of new technologies? Can university-based research solve health problems in developing countries? If innovation is one of the big buzzwords of our time, why does it still seem to be so many barriers to it in organisations?

The main goal of this course is to increase the students’ knowledge of important concepts, issues, theories and dilemmas in innovation, building on introductory courses in innovation studies at the University of Oslo and elsewhere in the ESST partner institutions. Through examples related to climate change, digitalization, economic growth and public sector innovation, the topic of innovation is tied to some of the most important issues of our time. At the end, the students should be able to participate in high-level discussions about contemporary innovation theory, policy and management. From the lecturer side, the goal is also to create a good learning environment with interesting tasks and discussions – and to have fun while doing so!

Teaching is more closely related to the actual research carried out by the TIK personnel and guest lecturers. The modules should provide concepts and frameworks that can be used in students’ master theses, and the essay at the end of the course will be closely related to this as well. In addition, there will be practical group works in the course. This will mainly be self-supervised, although there may be special lectures and other types of input and feedback. Lecturers will be available for questions and we will try to adjust the feedback to the needs in the various groups. The course is organised into four modules each lasting two to three weeks. There will be a unique group work in each module, and which will have various formats.

The course will be organized into the following four modules:

  1. Responsible research and innovation & the impact agenda
  2. Digitalization and the sharing economy
  3. Sustainability transitions: From fossil to renewable energies
  4. Preserving the welfare state: Innovation in the public sector

In each of these modules the students will be exposed to analyses and tools to understand the dynamics of innovation and governance of innovation at both organisational and systems level.

Learning outcome

Through this course the students will acquire sophisticated analytical skills and tools that will improve the abilities to study innovation and to navigate in processes of innovation. The students will be able to analyse, understand and explain some of the most important issues and driving forces in today’s societies. The course will provide the students with advanced knowledge on:

  • How to understand and analyse pressing societal phenomenons such as the green shift, digitization and the sharing economy
  • The dynamics of modern knowledge-based economies and societies
  • How organisations can become more innovative / Innovation management
  • How technology is developed and implemented in society
  • Commercialisation of science-based knowledge
  • The phenomenon of innovation and how it is often integral to societal change
  • The differences in growth and dynamics between sectors, countries and regions
  • The dynamics of socio-technical transitions
  • The systemic and evolutionary underpinnings of innovation – including how innovation is often conditioned by place specific institutions, infrastructures and practices
  • The role of public knowledge institutions and infrastructures, like universities, in innovation processes and systems


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The course is applicable for master programme students from humanities/social sciences if they meet the prerequisites. Students from TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture have a priority, other students are admitted if there is capacity.

Please apply in Studentweb by: January 10th.


Formal prerequisite knowledge


  • 80 % participation is expected
  • There will be two lectures per week plus some group work.


One week home-exam. Results will be ready within three weeks from the submission date.


The exam assignment will be given in English. ESST students must write their exam in English, while TIK students may choose between English and Norwegian.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The exam assignment will be given in English. ESST students must write their exam in English, while TIK students may choose between English and Norwegian.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Students in this course automatically receive an explanation alongside their grade.

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Evaluations (only in Norwegian)

Spring 2014

Spring 2015

Spring 2018

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language


If there are no English-speaking students, lectures may be given in Norwegian.