CPT-23804 Introduction to Communication and Innovation Studies M


Credits 4.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. C Leeuwis
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. C Leeuwis
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. C Leeuwis

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

BSc degree in technical or social sciences.

Continuation courses:

CPT-22806 Innovation and Transformation; CPT-60306 Facilitating Interactive Processes; CPT-32806 Change, Inter-human Processes and Communication.


Note: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with CPT 12306 Inleiding strategische communicatie.

Social change, development and innovation never happen without people knowing and communicating about it. Change-oriented initiatives, therefore, use a variety of communicative strategies and interventions to realize sustainable development objectives. Hence, it is no luxury to develop a theoretical and practical understanding of the role of communication and knowledge in processes of individual and collective change. This advanced introductory course describes how and why our thinking about this has evolved historically, starting with classical thinking about 'knowledge and technology transfer' to present day thinking about socio-technical transformation and scaling in a digital network society. In doing so, we examine strategies such as advisory communication, persuasion, participatory innovation development, citizen science, advocacy and the facilitation of societal learning and conflict management. These communicative intervention strategies are linked to theoretical insights about 'why people do what they do' and 'say what they say', and also to the potential of specific communication methods and media. Additional topics include ethical aspects of professional communication, different forms and sources of knowledge, and the dynamics in innovation systems.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain basic theories in the field of Communication and Innovation Studies, including historical developments therein;
- translate these insights to practical problem situations in the international work-domain of communication, innovation and development;
- discuss and evaluate the potential and limitations of different types and forms of communicative intervention;
- discuss the ethical and political dimensions of different types and forms of communicative intervention.


- interactive lecturing;
- discussion of literature in small groups;
- joint reflection on case studies, video materials and/or student experiences;

- evaluation and re-design of the 'theory of change'  of an existing intervention.


Written test with open questions (75%) and a group assignment (25%) For both components the minimum mark required is 5.5. A complementary 2 credit essay assignment (capita selecta) is available for those who wish to obtain 6 credits in total.


A course outline can be obtained from MyPortal.
Compulsory literature includes recent literature and several chapters from: Leeuwis C.; A.W. van den Ban. (2004). Communication for Rural Innovation. Rethinking Agricultural Extension. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Literature will be available on MyPortal.

Compulsory for: MDRDevelopment and Rural InnovationMSc1MO