All organisations need to embrace innovation in order to thrive and develop. Innovation is all about having new ideas. It is the ability to identify new opportunities, generate solutions, make improvements and to think creatively and enterprisingly in order to produce an effective outcome.

Innovation involves being curious, looking at things from a fresh perspective and embracing change to come up with creative and practical solutions that meet the needs of an organisation.

Activities where you could develop innovation

The following activities, which may be undertaken as part of or alongside your studies, can be good ways to develop your innovation:

  • Gain a practical insight into self-employment and help develop business skills Manchester Enterprise Award atThe University of Manchester
  • Skills Training Sessions A variety of sessions are usually offered during the academic year, run by employers or careers consultants. Check CareerConnect for forthcoming events involving innovation.
  • Enactus Opportunity to form a team to implement your own idea for a worthwhile project which makes an impact on the community.
  • When taking part in a course assignment, such as project or group work, you may use innovative thinking to come up with a new and effective approach.
  • Look for UCIL modules that link to innovation – use the skill check list on the right hand side of the list of modules available for each semester and click on ‘Innovation’.
  • Volunteering Gives you the chance to develop a range of skills while giving something back to the community. There are many different roles and some may provide an opportunity to be innovative.
  • Work Experience Develop a range of skills and build up your experience in the workplace while still at university. It’s not unusual for someone on work experience to be set a task that encourages them to be innovative and come up with a new approach.
  • Build skills and develop your innovative thinking With free elective units, events, support sessions and competitions from the Massood Entrepreneurship Centre.

How will innovation skills be assessed during the recruitment process?

Application form and interview questions

Some examples of application form and interview questions which are designed to test innovation:

  • Are you someone who typically comes up with new ideas or build on existing ones? Give examples.
  • What do you consider the most pioneering thing you have done in a work context and why?
  • If appointed, what changes would you want to make to the business / service, and why?

If you are unsure how to structure an answer for either application or interview questions, visit the application and interviews section of our website and find out about the CAR (context, action, result) or STAR (situation, task, action, result) approach, which is recommended by employers. (link to this)

Assessment centres

You may take part in a group activity where you are asked to create a new product or service. Another exercise may involve pitching your idea to a panel and dealing with questions that arise.

Further information