Enabling Change

That's you
leading change

The Art of Innovation:

Rethink your project or service to be zestful, engaging, and fit for need.

Learn how to create a project, service or event that excites your community, better solves problems, and spreads by word-of-mouth.

It's a crash course in design thinking and innovation practice...especially for tackling tricky social, health and environmental problems.

You'll learn fun, creative facilitation methods.

You'll generate solutions that attract attention, respond sensitively to people's hopes and needs, and spread contagiously by word of mouth (and are fun).

By learning how to involve your users directly in the process, you'll ensure your offering is an excellent fit the people it's intended for.

You'll also create a winning pitch that generates support from managers, funders and supporters.

Suited to professionals in corporations, NGOs, councils and state agencies...as well as volunteer leaders.

The City of Sydney used a one-off 'innovation lab' to develop fun, engaging projects that encouraged better behaviour by bicyclists.

During the day, you'll work in teams on real-life challenges to reinvigorate and relaunch existing services or projects, or generate entirely original answers to social, health or environmental problems.


- learn how to establish a brains trust of users and experts;

- find out how to inform and inspire your brains trust;

- learn how to rethink a problem;

- run a workshop that uses creative techniques to generate ideas and assemble them into prototypes for testing;

- create a perfect pitch with an X-factor to win support from funders, managers and friends;

- take away a reinvented project or service model ready for testing.

And along the way you'll become a better and more creative facilitator.

This workshop suits:

  • community services (youth, aged, disability, clinical);
  • community engagement projects;
  • workplace change projects;
  • health promotion projects;
  • sustainability and NRM projects;
  • community road safety projects.

What happens in the workshop


Introduction to innovation thinking + design thinking

Seven Innovation Principles

  • naivety: avoiding the curse of knowledge
  • curiosity: open-minded questioning
  • inspiration: being excited by possibilities
  • safety: safe times and places for imagination
  • multi-disciplinary: the 'who' matters
  • conventional methods: not the enemy
  • permission: to place small bets on unproven ideas.

Innovation method: Passion-mashing.

Innovation method: If not, then what?

Working in teams on real life project challenges

1) Rethink the problem and create a clear purpose or future

Briefing: What motivates people.

2) Establish your brains trust

Briefing: How to inform and inspire your brains trust.

3) Identify success factors


4) Model your current assumptions (using program logic)

5) Reinvention brainstorms

Method 1: Assumption busting

Method 2: Solving the opposite problem

6) Get real (set evaluation criteria and filter the concepts)

7) Pitch your idea! Uses Les's perfect pitch template to sell your idea to funders, managers and friends.

Ask a question about the training.

For bookings and enquiries

To book in-house training email Les Robinson at:


or phone him on 0414 674 676

Les shows how to use the "If not, then what?" method
It's a 'crash innovation' technique that rapidly generates a host of stereotype-busting ideas.
From the fun session at the NE Landcare Forum 2013.

About the thinking

Before the workshop, I recommend participants read Design Thinking, an 8pp article in Harvard Business Review by IDEO's Tim Brown. It's an exceptionally useful and concise explanation of design thinking and practice.

Innovation thinking and design thinking are exciting additions to the change maker's toolbox, transforming the way we go about designing change efforts. Although there's been a lot of buzz about innovation, the practice of innovation in the public sector is only just beginning. Les brings together proven tools and processes in this enjoyable, practical workshop.

For more on Les's approach to innovation, see Innovation for the rest of us.

This workshop complements the Changeology workshop by focusing strongly on the creative thinking and innovation for on-ground projects or "tactics".

What is reinvention?

Reinvention involves, first, rethinking the problem, then using engaging facilitation techniques to coax creativity out of a diverse group of people. Ideally, you'll want to include some lay users in that group, because they live with the problem every day and often think of solutions that surprise professionals.

About the facilitator,
Les Robinson

"Les seems to be able to draw innovation out of nowhere." - council waste planner

Les is the author of Changeology, How to enable groups, communities and societies to do things they have never done before, Les has been training government professionals and community leaders to design innovative programs for many years. He recently facilitated Rapid Innovation Labs for the City of Sydney and Wyndham City Council to develop original community programs.

His Passion Mashin' workshop has spread the idea of reinvention to scores of Landcare and Bushcare groups around Australia.

A few reinvention examples...

Here are some projects reinvented using the methods in this workshop:

  • a community grants program reinvented as an Idol style pitch competition plus mentoring;

  • an anti-dumping program reinvented as a crowd-reporting project using the Instagram app;

  • a community consultation program reinvented as a travelling "Mayor's High Tea in the Park";

  • a Landcare group reinvented as BuzzCare, a specialist group recreating native bee habitat.

"All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning." - Albert Camus

Hand made in good ol' HTML.