Design Thinking for Facilitators

Skillful Engagement Series

2016, Community Building, Skillful Engagement

During the third installment of the Skillful Engagement series – Design Thinking for Facilitators – you’ll learn about design thinking, a human-centred, systems-based approach to problem solving that encourages you to step back and explore a problem space with an open mind and an expanding set of methods. Design thinking is an iterative, generative and collaborative process that aims to deeply understand and reframe  complex problems into tangible opportunities for social and sustainable innovation. Similar to engagement practices, design thinking is transdisciplinary and optimistic.

This introductory workshop invites you to participate in a hands-on design jam, in which design thinking theory and methods are put into practice, to generate, capture and share unexpected solutions to your community engagement challenges. Through this experience, you will have a better understanding of the Design Jam process and framework, how it can flex and adapt to different contexts, and see why it is a successful tool for civic engagement and collaboration.

Come with an open mind, expect to have some fun, and walk away with new tools and approaches for bringing people together to better understand and address complex issues and engage in collaborative problem solving.

Wed, 22 Jun 2016

2:00 p.m. (PT)

SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre
Room 1400
515 West Hastings St, Vancouver

Skillful Engagement Series

Skillful Engagement is a community of practice for engagement practitioners. The series showcases innovative projects and speakers, provides a forum to share knowledge and challenges, and acts as a catalyst to inspire and support the growing engagement sector. This work reflects a shared understanding that improved engagement of communities, organizations and stakeholders leads to better decisions and stronger, more resilient outcomes.

Skillful Engagement is a partnership between the SFU Centre for Dialogue’s Civic Engage Program, SFU Public Square, and SFU’s Dialogue and Civic Engagement Certificate program.


Sarah Hay

Sarah Hay holds a Bachelors of Industrial Design from Carleton University (2003) and a Masters of Applied Arts in Design from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2007). Armed with these and 10 years of experience in the sustainability + design space, she founded Slow & Steady Design, a studio focused on creative strategy, branding and typography for small businesses who dream big and share her desire to protect and nurture our creative, natural and local capital. She is a sessional instructor at Emily Carr University in the faculty of design + dynamic media and long standing member of Vancouver Design Nerds where she leads and facilitates workshops (design jams) on a wide range of urban and civic issues. Clients and collaborators include City of Vancouver, Museum of Vancouver, Fraser Health Authority, Metro Vancouver, Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition, SFU Public Square, City Studio, HiVE Vancouver, Civic Renewal Lab, Gen Why Media, Strathcona BIA, Downtown BIA and many more.

Jesi Carson

Jesi Carson is inspired by compelling stories, engaging spaces and discovering cultures through travel. She is currently the Design and Communities Coordinator for Participedia, an international research network documenting cases of participatory political engagement. With Participedia as her basis of research on the intersection of democratic innovation and design thinking, Jesi will begin her candidacy for a Master of Design from Emily Carr University of Art + Design this fall.  Jesi holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Interaction Design from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where she undertook interactive systems design and sustainability studies in addition to human centered design and research. Jesi co-founded Basic Design, a social enterprise with a passion for upcycling, and sits as Board Chair of Cultivate Projects, a non-profit focused on building collaborative food gardens. As a Project Lead and member of the steering committee for the Vancouver Design Nerds, Jesi strongly believes in the power of design as a tool for activism.


Skillful Engagement Series Events

  • Systemic Design and Promising New Forms of Public Engagement

    2018, Skillful Engagement, Community Building

    In this interactive workshop, Ben Weinlick of the Skills Society Action Lab, along with colleagues Aleeya Velji and Sameer Singh of the Edmonton Shift Lab, will share learning and experience around stewarding social innovation labs, and robust community co-design processes. Systemic Design is the engine underlying much of their lab work and essentially blends systems thinking and design thinking to help with tackling complex challenges with community.

    Read More →

  • Don't Engage the Public... Before You've Answered These Six Questions

    2018, Community Building, Skillful Engagement

    This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to explore key characteristics of highly effective public engagement. Using case studies, scenario exercises, and industry best practices, the session will provide an opportunity to road-test six strategic questions that can help increase the effectiveness of engagement initiatives and meet the expectations of sponsors and participants.

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  • Cultivating Trust: An X Factor for Effectiveness

    Community Building, Skillful Engagement, 2017

    In this experiential workshop, we’ll explore cultivating trust at three different levels: Self, Group, and System. Along the way, we will tap into the frameworks and wisdom of Trust Theory and Process Oriented Psychology. We’ll also practice Groundwork, Intuitive Writing, and Flirts – three versatile inner work practices for gaining insights and responding well regardless of what life brings us.

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  • Evaluating Engagement: Exploring Principles-Focused Evaluation

    2016, Community Building, Skillful Engagement

    Join us for the 4th installment in the Skillful Engagement Series to learn with world-renowned author, evaluation consultant and thought leader Michael Quinn Patton. Michael will share insights from his most recent work and thinking on Principles-Focused Evaluation, which examines whether principles are clear, meaningful, and actionable, whether they are actually being followed, and whether they are leading to desired results.

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  • Design Thinking for Facilitators

    2016, Community Building, Skillful Engagement

    During the third installment of the Skillful Engagement series – Design Thinking for Facilitators – you’ll learn about design thinking, a human-centred, systems-based approach to problem solving that encourages you to step back and explore a problem space with an open mind and an expanding set of methods.

    Read More →

  • Engaging Across Differences with Natasha Aruliah and Suzanne Hawkes

    2016, Community Building, Skillful Engagement

    In this 3-hour workshop you'll learn about the key, practical questions to ask at the outset of any skillful engagement initiative to ensure a more inclusive process and outcomes. Facilitators Natasha Aruliahand and Suzanne Hawkes will share several brief case studies and best practices and draw on the wisdom and specific challenges of participants in a rich, highly interactive dialogue.

    Read More →