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Designing Workshops to Generate Innovative Thinking



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Workshops can be a powerful way to bring people together to explore problems and develop new solutions. This course will teach you how to apply creative design principles to workshop planning, in order to deliver impactful events that lead to lasting change.

About this course

This short course reveals the key components of designing and facilitating an effective workshop to engage stakeholders in a participatory, or co-design process.

You’ll explore research that identifies the different levels of co-design, shows how workshop tools generate new patterns of thinking and discusses the role of a group facilitator in enabling the emergence of new ideas.

The course content includes workshop design examples drawn from over a decade of experience in participatory design by the Design Innovation Research Centre at UTS. You’ll be encouraged to design your own workshop using a series of creative tools and templates provided during the course.

Course structure

This short course is delivered online through self-directed learning over ten hours. Course content includes reading materials, videos, case studies, templates and online discussion boards.

The following topics will be covered during the course:

  • Understanding your commitment to participatory design
  • Defining the purpose of the workshop
  • Identifying participants, including enabling marginal voices
  • Designing activities, with an emphasis on

- Utilising different senses and modes of engagement

- Curating participant experience through divergent and convergent thinking stages

- Tools to support planning.

  • Establishing atmospheres and moods
  • Becoming an effective facilitator for complex contexts, including:

- Communication and listening style

- Working with group tensions

- Providing context and rationales.

  • Note-taking and visual narration
  • Post-workshop activities, including synthesis, reporting and promoting action.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you will understand:

  • How to identify and facilitate different levels of participatory design
  • How different modes of engagement can stimulate new thinking and collaboration
  • Effective facilitation techniques
  • How to structure engaging activities
  • Workshop planning and curation techniques
  • How to drive outcomes after a workshop.

Enrolment conditions

Course purchase is subject to UTS Open Terms and Conditions. 

COVID-19 response 

UTS complies with latest Government health advice. Delivery of all courses complies with the UTS response to COVID-19.

Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for professionals and students seeking more effective ways to engage people in participatory processes to drive innovation and change. It will benefit those in the fields of:

  • Business and management
  • Innovation
  • Design
  • Marketing
  • Start-ups
  • Research and development
  • Strategy.
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Acknowledgement of Country

UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.