Disruptive Innovations in Business Education Research Group

Disrupting the future landscape of business education
We are a transdisciplinary group of engaged and evaluative pedagogical and higher education researchers generating rigorous applied and theoretical research that seeks to innovate, reshape, and disrupt the understanding and landscape of business education. We interrogate the future of business education and how the forces that shape the role and focus of Business Schools influences how we design for a better education and a more effective role of Business Schools as leaders for good.

Our purpose

A business education that is transformative, inclusive and enables its graduates and faculty to make a difference to society is at heart of the ambitions of every Business School. In this highly competitive market, disrupted intensely by the pandemic, the capacity to leverage the teaching/research nexus within the interstitial spaces of pedagogical research and transform the ways in which both teaching and research are integrated and applied to the business of Business Schools is where sustainable competitive advantages lie. 

The Disruptive Innovations in Business Education Research Group explores the challenges that arise from how we engage in business education in the face of crises and disrupt the status quo as we emerge from them. Our research group enables the ambitions and capabilities of educational practitioners to respond responsibly to the critical global and local challenges facing civil society, the faculty, the students and the community and economy through the design and interrogation of radical, transformative, and provocative ideas about business education. 

Our research

Our research provides a reliable and rigorous foundation on which agile decisions and rapid responses can be made with a higher degree of confidence. Our research aims to stress test emerging models of curriculum and delivery, student experience strategies, approaches to diversity and inclusion, uses of technology and innovations in assessment that can be deployed as part of a design portfolio to new and emerging megatrends, opportunities, and threats. The group is a third space of academic work that promotes multilateral flows of knowing and doing. The practices of integration, transdisciplinary approach, and learning are where the connectedness of authenticity, the connectedness of knowledge and the connected spaces of learning that span disciplines and fields are integrated into a bigger, more ambitious vision of the world that Business Schools operate in.

The Disruptive Innovations in Business Education Research Group has two main research areas of interest:

  1. Informing the design and evaluation of disruptive pedagogical practices in business education: evaluating activities, technologies. strategies and practices that challenge dominant business teaching and learning paradigms.

  2. Interrogating and reimagining the design of strategic pedagogical and student experience change programs for business education: interrogating strategic and practical approaches to enabling transformative educational change at scale.

Our people

The Disruptive Innovations in Business Education Research Group is a hybridised community of academic staff and educational professionals. We lead impactful research projects that align to our key areas of interest and address the critical research challenge of defining and shaping the future of the business education in a post-crisis world. The group welcomes researchers in business education from across the University of Sydney Business School, and those who are interested in business education as a field of research from across the University and other institutions. We are actively looking for partners on ambitious research programs and major grants. We actively support early career pedagogical researchers both in academic and other roles to develop their methodological and disciplinary skills through workshops, mentoring and collaboration on the group’s foundation research projects. We are an inclusive and open group of scholars committed to better understanding the challenges of business education through engaged and impactful research. 


The aim of these provocations is to start our members thinking about challenges for which their research, ideation and creativity could be applied to help further our understanding of business education. If they interest you as a researcher, we may be able to connect you with others.

One of critical provocations we want to address is the future of Business Schools. Business education has been buffeted by the forces of scale, revenue, internationalisation, the pandemic, changing trends of global employability and the challenges to the efficacy of business education to the success of a civil society. What should a Business School and its education portfolio look like in 2032? What does the ‘the market’ look and act like for core programs, for management and executive education and for emerging new products like micro-credentialing. Who are our students and what kinds of education and student experience do they want (need) from a Business School? 

These are critical questions that the Disruptive Innovations in Business Education Research group will interrogate through our projects undertaken by members, our visiting faculty and our public and media face.

Key publications:

  • Using co-design processes to support strategic pedagogical change in business education:
  • Making education better is not a nice to have: Why Business Schools need to engage in and value pedagogical research

Part 1:

Part 2:   

One of the greatest existential challenges in business education is moving the wheels and key infrastructures of the institution, the Business School and its complex ecosystem of staff, students, stakeholders, and communities towards a new future state. The pandemic was an experience of significance for all of higher education. What have we learnt from it? How do we ensure we don’t ‘snap back’ to the Business School model of 2019 and lose all of the rich learnings of the last 3 years that made change happen. To paraphrase George Santayana, if we don’t learn from the crisis, we are doomed to repeat it. Our research group will take a positivist view on the changing nature of business education and how change can be successfully designed, understood and analysed.

Key publications:

#OurPlace2020: Blurring Boundaries of Learning Spaces

Our projects

CI: Professor Peter Bryant and Mr Ryan Menner 

A research project to better understand the student experience at the Business School and embed their perspectives in the design of innovative approaches to pedagogy. The project uses a unique and purposeful ethnography-like digital storytelling methodology to collect and analyse hundreds of conversations with our students in situ either on campus or on Zoom. WLPL has entered its fourth year and is focused on the experiences of students disrupted by nearly three years of the pandemic and how it impacts on the intersections of their work, their life, their play, and their learning.  

Watch Work Live Play Learn: Being a part of our place on YouTube.

Watch Work Live Play Learn: Making our place better on YouTube.

CI: Professor Peter Bryant and A/Prof Elaine Huber

Scale is a manifest reality for most Business Schools. In the disrupted financial environment for many universities, the need for business education to grow and engage with larger cohorts is critical for the future viability of the institution. This research project uses an educational design research approach to investigate the student and staff perceptions, lived experiences and considerations to learning and teaching in large classes. Findings from the study will enable us to develop a set of principles and digital artefacts (technological solutions) for teaching large cohorts which can be disseminated widely across other disciplines and the higher education sector.

Watch our Connected Learning at Scale overview on Vimeo

Watch out CLaS design patterns website

CI: Professor Peter Bryant

The pandemic disrupted the nature and flow of campus life, with teaching and learning pivoting to remote emergency modes. Zoom replaced classrooms and the modes of interaction, engagement and connection were broken and rebuilt in a hybridised world. The traditional designs of business education campuses are no longer fit for purpose. But what does the Business School campus of 2030 look like? Through piloting of cutting-edge teaching spaces, this project will explore the spatial, pedagogical and design affordances that emerge from transforming didactic teaching spaces to interactive, connected environments at scale.

CI: A/Prof Elaine Huber

Building on a solid literature review which found a dearth of published work in this area, we are investigating staff perceptions. We also know from our research and other literature that students in very large cohorts are increasingly feeling disconnected from their university experience and their learning. Introducing experiential learning practices is one way to address this problem in that students are encouraged to connect and learn in authentic, collaborative, and action-oriented ways. This study investigates ways in which we can overcome the barriers to implementing and assessing experiential learning in large classes.

Read about the findings from this project

CI: A/Prof Elaine Huber

The rapid, large-scale transition to online delivery in higher education driven by the COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on the quality of online teaching, learning and assessment. In this context, the Australian Business Deans Council funded this project to examine the types of online assessments in use in Australian business schools and to develop a framework to evaluate online assessments against a number of key design considerations. The elements are academic integrity; a positive student learning experience; quality feedback; the integrity of student information; and equitable access. This project consisted of a comprehensive literature review of the above factors, a survey of 97 educators from Australian Business schools and focus group discussions with 19 business educators from across Australia. Our findings led us to modify our framework to include a sixth key design consideration: online assessments must be authentic and assure that students can apply their skills and knowledge to contexts and situations relevant to the workplace. We also extended our understanding of the broader, interrelated contextual factors that influence decisions about assessment design from scale of delivery and resource limitations to include institutional policies and accreditation requirements. 


This portal provides further details of our findings along with practical good practice examples.

CI: Professor Peter Bryant

Developing business graduates to have the transdisciplinary and resonant capability to be leaders for good throughout their career is a complex curricular challenge. The design of leadership education programs is impacted by the transitions students are experiencing as they journey through higher education and the transactional behaviours engendered by policy and institutional practice.  This project interrogates the tensions and dissonances arising from the curriculum design and teaching and learning approaches.


Peter Bryant
Professor Peter Bryant
Academic profile


Elaine Huber
Associate Professor Elaine Huber
Academic profile


Juliette Overland
Associate Professor Juliette Overland
Academic profile