Design thinking (& doing) for social innovation is a short course based on what we’ve learnt at TACSI about using design mindsets, methods and practices to create social purpose innovations – in systems, policy and services.

Over 5 modules (in 4 live sessions) you’ll explore the fundamentals of design thinking (and doing) with TACSI’s Chief Innovation Officer Chris Vanstone – drawing on his 25 years of design experience, key theory and TACSI case studies.

Diagram of the 4 Diamond Design Process.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course you’ll be able to answer these questions:

  • When is design a good approach, and when not?
  • How can I Identify opportunities for innovation?
  • How can I have better ideas?
  • How can I turn ideas into solutions that work?
  • What’s good design practice, and what’s not?
  • How can I use design thinking & doing in my work?
  • How can I continue my learning journey in design thinking and social innovation?

What you get

Example pages of different tools that are included in this course.
  • 4 x 1.5hr live zoom sessions with up to 15 of your fellow learners. Live sessions recap on the main learning points, provide a space for personal reflection and feature interactive learning experiences to deepen your understanding.
  • The podcast – Hosted by Chris featuring thinkers, writers and practitioners from TACSI talking about their work. Each episode introduces a module.
  • The coursedeck – Somewhere between a course book and a slide deck the course deck summarises the main learning points, frameworks, and visual references, complementing the podcast and live sessions.
  • Read and watch list – A list of books, articles and videos to extend you design learning, with recommendations for each of the four modules.
  • TACSI Academy account – All conveniently served up on the TACSI Academy platform.

The modules

Example pages of different tools that are included in this course.

1: What’s the course?
An introduction to the course and what’s required.

2: What project?
Assumptions, the innovation journey, power, participation, trust and when (not) to use design. 

We’ll share tools for:

  • Creating a project brief
  • Judging the quality of the ‘What project?’ stage

3: What is?
Discovery work, design research methods, recruitment, consent, making sense of it all, shaping good opportunities and sharing them. 

We’ll share tools for:

  • Planning discovery work
  • Doing design research
  • Making sense of ‘what is’
  • Developing good opportunities 
  • Creating a project brief
  • Judging the quality of a ‘What is?’ stage

4: What if? 

Having good ideas, developing good concepts, making good choices.

We’ll share tools for:

  • Boosting creativity
  • Shaping concepts
  • Prioritising strong concepts
  • Judging the quality of a ‘What if?’ stage

5 What works?

Prototyping and beyond; developing improving, evaluating & scaling  concepts

We’ll share tools for:

  • Prototyping
  • Judging the quality of a ‘What works?’ stage

Your facilitator

Chris Vanstone
Chief Innovation Officer, TACSI

Chris started his career designing biscuits and razors before transitioning into social innovation over 20 years ago.

As TACSI’s CIO, he’s responsible for keeping TACSI at the cutting edge of social innovation, playing a big role in the development of our practice, major initiatives and strategy.

Chris’ goal is to democratise social innovation. He’s always striving to get important concepts into the world in ways that are clear.

Chris Vanstone

Sample materials

Listen to the first module podcast to hear what’s featured


We wish to acknowledge the knowledge that has been shared by First Nations practitioners, writers and thinkers that is woven throughout this course.

Timing, pricing and availability

The time commitment is an hour of preparatory podcast listening prior to the
4 x 1.5 hour live zoom session.

This course is now available for teams of up to 15.

Enquire below for pricing.