Project Proposal Assignment | Professional Writing Services

Assessment Brief

Assessment Details

Unit Title: Final Major Project
Unit Code:
Unit Leader:
Level: 6
Assessment Title: Final Report
Assessment Number:
Assessment Type: Project
Restrictions on Time/Length : Maximum of 8,000 words (excluding references and appendices)
Individual/Group: Individual
Assessment Weighting: 80%
Issue Date:
Hand In Date:
Planned Feedback Date:
Mode of Submission: Online (via Turnitin)
Anonymous Marking This assessment will be exempt from anonymous marking as it falls within an exempt category under the University’s Anonymous Marking Policy.

General Assessment Information

The aim of this assessment is to enable the student to independently conduct and write up a piece of Business research which will allow them to demonstrate, and further enhance, their research skills. The empirical project is the culmination of the development of their research skills during the course.

In addition, the unit has a strong emphasis on self-management: the project is the opportunity to demonstrate the students’ skills in managing their time within a specified time-frame.


Background Information

The project may draw on potentially any aspects of the programme of studies, and students will be encouraged to consider applied topics (e.g. consumer behaviour, business planning, marketing strategies, market research, etc:). The chosen project topic will reflect the research interests of the individual student and member of staff.

Areas covered will include: identifying a research problem, formulating and defining research questions, choosing an appropriate methodology, demonstrating awareness of ethical issues and current codes of conduct, obtaining the appropriate ethical approval; conducting an appropriate analysis of data, and evaluating the findings in light of previous research, reporting on limitations, drawing conclusions and making recommendations.


Assessment Task

Students are to prepare a final individual project report of a maximum of 8,000 words (excluding references and appendices).This project report will meet the objectives as set and agreed by you and yourProject Supervisor.

Students are advised to read the Unit Guide which has more detailed information relating to the nature of completing the Project.

The Project Report


Suggested structure (students are advised to refer to the CMI Report Template)


Cover sheet

Contents page


Executive summary

Background/introduction (to include a substantial literature review)








Appendices (where appropriate)

The appropriate use of tables, charts & diagrams, and the presentation of information are important, and you should ensure present your project in a professional manner.

Learning Outcomes

This assessment will enable students to demonstrate in full or in part the learning outcomes identified in the unit descriptor.

Knowledge and Understanding

K1 Demonstrate their understanding of the client/consultant relationship through negotiation and liaison in defining the projects’ objectives and meeting them.


Cognitive Skills

C1 Apply diagnostic, analytical and creative skills in meeting the client objectives.

C2 Critically review, consolidate and extend a coherent body of knowledge in the appropriate context of the client.


Practical and Professional Skills

P1 Design and execute an appropriate research programme for the client.

P2 Prepare and deliver professional standard oral and written reports for the client.


Transferable and Key Skills

T1 Negotiate expected outcomes with a number of interested parties.

T2 Experience how to deal with and solve unstructured problems.

  A1 A2 A3 A4 B1 B2 B3 C1 C2 C3 D1 D2 D3 F1 F2 F3
Background and introduction (including literature review) Exceptional introduction to the purpose of the project. Exceptional critical evaluation of relevant literature. Evaluation drawn from a wide range of quality sources. Excellent introduction to the purpose of the project. Excellent critique of the relevant literature.  Evaluation drawn from a good range of reputable sources. Good introduction to the purpose of the project.Good analysis relevant literature. Evaluation drawn from a reasonable range of sources. Satisfactory introduction to the purpose of the projectSatisfactory analysis of relevant literature.  Some evidence of sources used in evaluation. Adequate introduction to the purpose of the project.Adequate analysis of the relevant literature.  Evaluation drawn mainly from Limited evidence from range of external research sources. Weak or non-existent introduction to the purpose of the project. Weak description of the relevant literature. Limited sources used & analysis very limited/ descriptive.
Methodology, research effort and data collection Excellent approach to logical research methods and an excellent critical evaluation of the selection of appropriate research options.  Demonstrates exceptional research effort. Very strong approach to logical research methods and a very robust critical appraisal of the selection of appropriate research options.  Demonstrates very good research effort. A good approach to logical research methods and a robust critical appraisal of the selection of appropriate research options.  Demonstrates good research effort. Acceptable approach to research methods and a good evaluation of the selection of appropriate research options.  Demonstrates acceptable research effort. Adequate approach to research methods.  Somewhat vague/ disjointed evaluation of appropriate research options.  Somewhat acceptable research effort throughout. Unacceptably flawed approach to research methods and a weak appraisal of the selection of research options.  Demonstrates inappropriate research effort.


Excellent presentation of all data forming the base for excellent analysis. Very good presentation of most data forming the base for strong analysis. Good presentation of data forming the base for a good analysis. Generally acceptable presentation of data forming the base for a reasonable analysis. Presentation of findings somewhat inconsistent. Difficult to follow clarity of points needed to form the base of a reasonable analysis. Unacceptable presentation of the data forming a poor base for analysis.
Conclusions, options and recommendations


Excellent conclusions are chosen using a strongly appropriate and systematic method.  The excellently robust process allows for all variables and flows directly from the excellent research base.  The recommendations are ‘robust and fit for use’. Robust conclusions are chosen using a very appropriate and systematic method; allowing for most variables and flowing directly from the strong research base.  The recommendations are ‘robust and fit for use’. Credible conclusions are chosen using an appropriate and systematic method; allowing for the key variables and flowing directly from a sound research base.  The recommendations are ‘robust and fit for use’. Acceptable conclusions are chosen using an appropriate and systematic method; allowing for many of the variables and flowing directly from the research base.  The recommendations are mainly ‘robust and fit for use’. Somewhat acceptable conclusions.  The recommendations are somewhat vague and don’t necessarily follow a logical train of thought or clarity of relevance to the client. Unacceptable conclusions are identified using an inappropriate and unsystematic method.  The process does not allow for sufficient variables and fails to flow directly from the research base. The recommendations are insufficiently underpinned, showing a lack of attention to the relevance and practicality to the client.
Use of tables, charts, diagrams etc


Diagrams and/or charts used extremely well.   Data presented clearly adds value to overall argument and professionalism of report. Diagrams and/or charts used very well.   Data presented clearly adds value to overall argument presented within report. Diagrams and/or charts used well.  Data presented adds value to the overall argument. Appropriate diagrams and/or charts are used.  Data presented generally appropriate for a client report. Diagrams and/or charts are used, however data only somewhat presented in an appropriate manner for a client report. Inappropriate diagrams and/or charts are used.  Data presented inappropriate for a client report.
Presentation of information (including executive summary, glossary, cover sheet  contents page, references and appendices)


Excellent use of English, grammar and spelling to communicate all aspects of the report. Excellent structure of ideas and use of Harvard Referencing throughout. Very good use of English, grammar and spelling to communicate full impact of the report.  Very good structure of ideas and use of Harvard Referencing when citing sources throughout. Good use of English, grammar and spelling to communicate essential aspects of the report. Good structure of ideas presented.  Sources cited (in text and at the end) with only a few errors in Harvard Referencing format. Appropriate use of English, grammar and spelling to communicate basic elements. Acceptable structure of ideas.  Sources cited but with some errors in Harvard Referencing formatting. Use of English, grammar and spelling somewhat acceptable when communicating basic elements.  Structure of ideas somewhat difficult to follow. References generally provided but sources not cited (in text and at the end) in accordance with Harvard Referencing format. Very unclear with very poor use of English, grammar and spelling. Inappropriate structure of ideas and minimal use of Harvard Referencing when citing sources.


Extenuating Circumstances

The University’s Extenuating Circumstances procedures are in place if there are genuine circumstances that may have affected your academic performance. Remember however you need to be ‘fit to study’, this means that you can either submit your assessed work or declare extenuating circumstances, but you cannot do both.

A summary of guidance notes for students is given below:

Academic Misconduct

Any submissions must be your own work and, where facts or ideas have been used from other sources, these sources must be appropriately referenced. The University’s Academic Handbook, includes the definitions of all practices that will be deemed to constitute academic misconduct. You should check this link before submitting your work.

Procedures relating to student academic misconduct are given below:


Ethics Policy

The work being carried out by the student must be in compliance with the Ethics Policy. Where there is an ethical issue, as specified within the Ethics Policy, then the student will need an ethics release or an ethical approval prior to the start of the project.

The Ethics Policy is contained within Section 2S of the Academic Handbook:

Anonymous Marking

A copy of the University’s Policy on Anonymous Marking, process details and student guidance on submission sheet completion can be found on the following links, which are also uploaded on the Student Portal.  The guidance ‘fact sheet’ will be available at Faculty Reception Points.



Fact Sheet:

Grade marking

The University uses a letter grade scale for the marking of assessments. Unless you have been specifically informed otherwise your marked assignment will be awarded a letter grade. More detailed information on grade marking and the grade scale can be found on myCourse. The guidance ‘fact sheet’ is available at the Faculty Reception Points.


Fact sheet:

Topic: An Investigation into how Design Thinking is used in Apple Inc

Project Proposal

Table of Contents

Background. 2

Literature Review.. 3

Purpose. 7

Aims and Objectives. 7

Methodology. 7

Possible Findings. 8

Action Plan.. 10

References. 11


The word ‘Design Thinking’ has remained the part of the shared consciousness of scholars and academics since Rowe utilised it as a title in1987 for his book (Rowe, 1987). One of the first design thinking research symposium was based on exploring into design methodology. Various models of design thinking have been developed since then and have been applied to different design situation in psychology and education etc. Today, the concept of design thinking is viewed as an exciting paradigm used by businesses to deal which issues. (Brooks, 2010). The enthusiasm to implemented and use design practices in other business areas has generated anultimatum for clear informationon design thinking. Businesses often adopt design thinking when they senseapressing need to further widen their strategy range to address open-ended and complex challenges (Stacey, et al, 2000).

A method of design thinking inspires business teams to create “project war rooms” and working visually with the help of sketches, diagrams, photographs, video clips and items gathered from their investigation for creating an immersive working environment. This allows the whole team to gain a deep and more intuitive understanding about the needs of their customers and users. With the help of iterative development cycles, the design team creates rough prototypes for validation with the project stakeholders and all end-users (Kumar and Holloway, 2009). Therefore, design thinking is a human-focused method to innovation which draws from the toolkit of designer to incorporate the need of individuals, potentials of technology and the needs of business success. Taking the benefit of design thinking could assist leaders in making their goals real through clearly defining their goals, understand customers and align their teams to deliver outcomes. There are different models of design thinking which has been used in the literature. One of the most distinguished models is the IDEO model. This model is based on 3Is include inspiration, ideation and implementation. It was first advanced by IDEO firm during 2001 (IDEO, 2018). Another potential model of design thinking is HRD which stands for hear, create and deliver and the Model of Hasso-Plattner Institute. Hasso-Plattner model is a five-step design thinking model that offer a solution based method to businessproblems. It is more useful in tackling multifaceted issues which are imprecise and indefinite (Interaction Design, 2019). This research aims to apply the approach of design thinking to innovation in Apple Inc.

Literature Review

The concept of design thinking is animprovementthat has latelyfascinatedthe attention from management studies. Design thinking is explained as: mind-set, processes and tools. When consider design thinking as a mind-set it is characterised by various philosophies, a mixture of convergent and divergent thinking, alignment of clear and unknown needs of customers and prototyping (Brenner and Uebernickel, 2016, p. 3). Nowadays, different organisation, universities and consulting firms use design thinking to enlarge and define their meaning. In Universities it is communicated as a problem-based path while associating with research firms and conducting project successfully. One of the examples of companies which have implemented design thinking is of Proctor and Gamble (P&G). The company has continuously pushed towards great innovation by embracing customer driven product developing by adopting a company-wide design thinking initiative (Design Thinking, 2017). P&G has developed a design thinking facilitation team which teams who come from different areas of the company. The company introduced design thinking workshops which were focused on different issues such as new products, business strategy and relationship building with customers. Dunne (2018) has also quoted the example of P&G. The objective of P&G was dealing with intense worldwide competitions and rapid changes in technology. Design was the missing ingredient in P&G’s search to gain organic growth. To foster growth, P&G started giving design thinking training to its employees where were then more curious, creative and thoughtful. But irrespective of the benefits of design thinking, it also has some drawbacks for the larger firms. For big firms it might not offer ready solutions for the original questions, instead question the original question itself (Dunne, 2018, p. 62).  For larger firms, design thinking could be disruptive and consume more time and resources with indeterminate results. But irrespective of the challenges, big firms such as P&G and ATO have succeed in implementing design thinking.

Another example of design thinking was quoted by Leavy (2012). According to Leavy (2012) IDEO model was applied in healthcare giant, Kaiser Permanente. The company improved the quality of healthcare experiences for its patients and providers.  By adopting IDEO model the company proposed that rather than hiring internal designers, the present staff in the organisation should be invigorated to learn the design thinking principles and apply them. It was carried out by offering workshops which resulted in ‘portfolio of innovations’ (p. 26). With the help of techniques such as observations, brainstorming, prototyping, videotaping, roleplaying and direct involvement of patients, the staff at Kaiser came up with a novel approach to shift the regime which split the changeover time and gave nurse and patients more confident that most of the data was apprehended and transferred (Brown 2008).

According to Liedtka (2014) SPA, a German business management firm has merged design thinking with out-dated approach to strategy for composing and communicating novelapproaches around the concept of Web 2.0. Moreover, Toyota has also employed design thinking for examining its client contact centers In West Coast through a cross-sectional team of front-line representatives, engineers, leaders and change agent. All were involved in a redesigning process which transformed the experience of service center of associates as well as customers (Liedtka, 2014). Moreover, design thinking has also assisted a team at IBM for generated insights from studying human interaction to transform their marketing events, and trade shows in a collaborative experience. Furthermore at intuit the design service team carried out the efforts for embedding design for delighting customers into its DNA utilising design thinking to offer tools to engage workers in the organisations to think creatively (Liedtka, 2014).

Clark and Smith (2008) also quoted the example of IBM. According to Clark and Smith (2008) the experience design team at IBM lead a unique internal engagement with the communications and human resource team in India for evaluating the experiences of employees when they are hired and brought on board. With the help of design thinking approach the company uncovered the underlying issues and needs. Different touchpoints derived were used to deliver a better experience for new hires. Design thinking helped IBM shape a better employment journey for new hires in India (p. 10).

According to Liedtka (2018) the method of design thinking take a very diverse approach to identify the hidden needs of customers. Liedtka (2018) quoted the example of Kingwood Trust which is a UK’s charity that helps adults with Asperger’s syndrome and autism. In this organisation, one member of the design team attended a non-verbal adult with autism. The team members saw the adult engaging in damaging act just rubbing indents in walls and picking at the leather sofa. The team member started documenting the behaviour of adult and defined the problem as how destructiveness can be prevented (p. 76).

According to Dunne (2018) design thinking could be implemented to all types of problems and it has a particular advantage with ‘wicked problems’ which is the key issue is deciding what the problem is. Wicked problems are known as chronic issue having no clear solutions or boundaries. Rittel (1973) has argued that wicked problems are ill-formed and they very confusing information. In wicket problems, different customers and decision makers have conflicting values and the ramification of the entire system is perplexing. Organisation apply design thinking facilitating innovation, bringing internal change, enhancing user experience, fostering collaboration, attracting talent, and bringing system change. (Dunne, 2018, p. 55). One of the example quoted by Dunne (2018) is of Australian Taxation Office (ATO). ATO intended to become user-centric but was challenged with the complexity of taxation system. Taxpayers were escaping tax not due to the reason that they were criminals but because it was too complex to navigate the whole system. Then designers in ATO used the term called “outside in” as a means to consider the situation from the perspective of external people. This was a new way to look at the problem rather than from an inside-out perspective (p. 56)


The purpose of this research is analysing how design thinking approach to innovation was adopted at Apple Inc. Apple is a leading American multinational technology firm which is the leader in innovation. When Apple first entered the business and faced intense competitions, the roots of its success confused various industry and technology experts. The company has always defined conventional and traditional business methods and was never afraid to experiment outside its core markets. Apple also realised that ‘business as usual’ is not working in the world which is now more complex, globalised and wired. Though technology offered mind-bending solutions but it also created mind-bending problem. Due to this, design thinking appeared to offer innovative solutions for such wicked problems (Dunne, 2018). Design thinking is often used by tech firms as it help reduce uncertainty and risk involved in innovation through engaging customers or used along a series of prototypes to test, learn and further refine the concept. There is a reason why the products of Apple are simple yet user-friendly and this case study will explore this reason.

Aims and Objectives

  1. To analyse the design thinking process for facilitating innovation in technology firms?
  2. To evaluate the application of design thinking approach at Apple Inc.
  3. To assess whether design thinking can help businesses solve wicked problem in today’s technological complex environment.


The research methodology used in this research will be a case study. Case study is one of the several method to carry out a social science research. Case study approach is more useful when the research was to investigate how, or why questions. In such research, the investigator has a very less control on the events and the focus is mostly on the contemporary phenomenon in a real-life context. A case study is explained as an empirical inquiry which investigate a phenomenon in depth in the real-time context (Yin, 2017, p. 18)). Therefore, this research will explore how design thinking approach to innovation is applied at Apple Inc. The data collected in this case study will be secondary data. The data will be collected from previous journal articles, Apple, reports, case studies previously done and books. The case study will begin with company’s description, industry in which it is operating and the design thinking process applied for innovating. The outcomes of this research will be analysed by using a thematic analysis approach.

Possible Findings

This research will help find out how Apple has developed into a technology and innovation leaders despite facing intensive competition. This findings of this research will also help reveal how design thinking has helped Apple a way through wicked problems and how it solved complex issues using this approach rather than using conventional methods. The findings of this research will also reveal why the products of Apple are different from its competitors and how Apple has managed to achieve innovation in its products. Moreover, the research will help reveal how Apple has catered to the needs and desires of people with its innovative product design and how it has develop simple and user-friendly products.

Action Plan

Weeks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Finalisation of the proposal
Consultation with the supervisor
General reading around the topic
First draft of the literature review
Consultation with the supervisor
First draft of the methodology chapter
Consultation with the supervisor
Secondary data collection
Analysis of secondary data
Consultation with the supervisor
First drafts of Analysis and discussion chapter
Consultation with the supervisor
Dissertation proofreading and editing
Printing and binding
Dissertation submission


Brenner, W. and Uebernickel, F., 2016. Design thinking for innovation. Research and Practice. London: Springer

Brooks Jr, F.P., 2010. The design of design: Essays from a computer scientist. Pearson Education.

Brown, T., 2008. Design thinking. Harvard business review, 86(6), p.84.

Dunne, D., 2018. Design thinking at work: how innovative organizations are embracing design. University of Toronto Press.

Rowe, P. (1987). Design thinking. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Rittel, H.W. and Webber, M.M., 1973. Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy sciences, 4(2), pp.155-169.

Stacey, R., Griffin, D., & Shaw, P. (2000). Complexity and management: fad or radical challenge to systems thinking? London: Routledge

Kumar, V. and Holloway, M., 2009. How tangible is your strategy? How design thinking can turn your strategy into reality. Journal of Business Strategy. 2(3), pp. 50-56.

Liedtka, J., 2014. Innovative ways companies are using design thinking. Strategy and Leadership, 42(2), pp.40-45.

Liedtka, J. (2018). Why design thinking works. Harvard Business Review, 96(5), 72-79.

Interaction Design, 2019. 5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 March 2020].

Design Thinking , 2017. Design Thinking At Proctor & Gamble. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 March 2020].

IDEO, 2018. Why Design Thinking. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 20 March 2020].

Leavy, B., 2012. Collaborative innovation as the new imperative–design thinking, value co‐creation and the power of “pull”. Strategy & Leadership. 40(2), 25–34.

Yin, R.K., 2017. Case study research and applications: Design and methods. London: Sage publications.

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