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ThinkPlace Executive Education program: Introducing our 2019 short courses...

Executive Education ThinkPlace

At ThinkPlace we specialise in tackling the world's most complex problems to create positive social change. We are happy to share that expertise via our bespoke executive education program.

We understand the challenges of leadership and practice in public governance are wickedly complex.

While the scale may change, a global health program, a national social services program and a state- or province-level environmental management initiative all represent what Yale Professor Kelly Levin once described as “super-wicked problems” – problems without a clear definition, a clear outcome or an aligned sense of approach.

Our new 2019 syllabus will focus on the issue of complexity in government, answering the question: how can public leaders and sleeves-rolled-up practitioners build the knowledge, mindset and tools needed to shape a dynamic future?

What you will learn will help you create better futures for your society, and beyond your society, for an uncertain world.

As always, part of the fee you pay for the course goes directly to our ThinkPlace Foundation, for creating leadership skills for young changemakers in both developed and developing countries, to create the next generations of ethical, impactful leadership capable of tackling wicked problems in their community.

Welcome to our 2019 Program.

What is on offer?


Our 2019 education program offers powerful growth experiences for leaders and practitioners in government and other public good institutions.

Each course combines theory, case studies and interactive, hands-on activities to inspire and challenge participants, and increase their capacity for public impact.

Why choose this program?


The ThinkPlace Accelerated Mastery Program immerses leaders in powerful learning experiences that lift their impact on the world.

Our focus is on building capacity through education, connection, immersion and provocation.

We work with senior leaders in the public, non-profit and responsible for-profit sectors, and with school students and their educators in developed and developing countries.

An exclusive 10% discount to all CIPI members on all training courses. CIPI is our Community for Innovation and Public Impact. Join for free here or learn more

Course Guide 2019


1. The Ethics of Digital Transformation

The ethics of digital transformation ThinkPlace

About the course:

Big data, privacy breaches, artificial intelligence, social license...the world of digital transformation can feel like a minefield. This one-day course will give you a powerful briefing and hands-on insight into the high-profile, ethical challenges facing governments as they progress their digital transformations.

Duration: One day


  • AUD $800 per person 
  • AUD $700 per person for groups of 12 or more

Max class size: 24

About You:

Senior executive in a qualifying Government, Senior Executive in a Transnational Governance Organisation (eg UN, OECD), High-performing middle manager with Senior Executive acting experience in one of these institutions.

Scholarships: Attendance at this course can partially (and sometimes, full) subsidised for attendees from transnational governance organiastions or from developing economies. To enquire about scholarship places, please email education [at]

What you will learn:

  • Important ethical concepts and paradigms for government digital transformations, and how to apply them
  • Ethical danger-zones in a digitally transformed world, including interactive case studies of where ethical blind-spots have resulted in governance failures
  • Social licence: what it is, and its implications for how you design programs, services and regulation
  • Algorithms, artificial intelligence, and how to navigating challenges like unintended bias and right to explanation, to deliver public good
  • Big data, little data, privacy, and the ‘ethics of knowing’
  • Dark strategies: the trust gap, how bad actors and bad design have widened it, and what it means for government
  • Case studies and compelling stories of how other countries are tackling these challenges right now
  • Regulating the internet of things in bodies, cities and beyond
  • A framework for assessing the ethics of digital transformation initiatives (including a hands-on intensive where you get to use it on a realistic challenge)


education [at] (subject: Interested%20in%20-%20The%20Ethics%20of%20Digital%20Transformation) (Register your interest and receive notification on upcoming course dates)


2. Agile for Policy, Programs and Enablers​

Agile learning course ThinkPlace

About the course:

Taking an agile approach to the design and delivery of public policy, programs and enabling functions means innovation at pace with a dramatic reduction in risk.

Agile for Policy, Programs and Enablers takes agile – often and thought of as an IT methodology – and applies its principles and techniques to the design and implementation of complex initiatives to tackle societies’ or organisations’ most intractable challenges.

Duration: 1.5 days


  • $1,200 per person
  • $1,100 per person for groups of 16 or more

Max class size: 24

About You:

You are involved in the design or implementation of policy, programs, services, compliance or digital experiences.

You work for a government, or a transnational governance organisation (e.g. UN, OECD)

What you will learn:

  • The agile philosophy and mindset, and how it differs from traditional approaches
  • Organising principles, including how to set up multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs), and the critical roles and ceremonies that shape how they work
  • The stages of agile, from Discovery to Live, and critical agile concepts for building evidence, creating policy/program/enabling prototypes, conducting experiments, and iterating the design
  • Design thinking, and how to use it to deliver innovative and human-centred policy, programs and enabling functions
  • The Deep Dive – an intense, sleeves-rolled-up experience of agile methods that will ground what you have learned
  • The common mistakes people make when running an agile initiative, and how to avoid them
  • Personal/team reflection and Q&A session – coaching for how to implement agile and run your first agile policy, program or enablement initiative.


education [at] (subject: Interested%20in%20-%20Agile%20for%20Policy%2C%20Programs%20and%20Enablers) (Register your interest and receive notification on upcoming course dates)


3. Strategic Worldbuilding for Public Innovators​

Strategic WorldBuilding ThinkPlace

About the course:

2030 is going to be very different from today.

The pace of social, technological, scientific and economic change continues to speed up against an uncertain geopolitical and environmental backdrop.

Engaging with these forces and trends is challenging, but it is also key to long-term strategy. Our strategic worldbuilding course is both a briefing on the future, and a unique training opportunity in how to forecast it and plan in longer timescales. You will create a rich, future world as the basis for planning long-term policy, regulation, organisational enablement and strategic interventions, multiplying your governance impact on the public good.

Duration: Two days


  • AUD $1,850 per person 

Minimum group size: 8

Maximum group size: 24

About You:

You are a senior leader, or high-talent manager with senior-executive acting experience, in a government, or a transnational governance organisation (e.g. UN, OECD).

What you will learn:

  • The major societal, technology and environmental trends that are most likely to shape the next decade for government.
  • The mindset and skills used by authors and screenwriters to worldbuild – develop complex future contexts, within which new ideas and challenges can be investigated.
  • Advanced narrative techniques and foresighting tools to describe policy, regulatory and service initiatives in a human-centred way
  • To chart strategic planning and investment planning processes using long-term framing
  • To sustainably embed this category of thinking into your organisation

education [at] (subject: Interested%20in%20-%20Strategic%20Worldbuilding%20for%20Public%20Innovators) (Register your interest and receive notification on upcoming course dates)


4. Design for Public Good

Design for Public Good ThinkPlace

About the course:

Design thinking is a powerful tool for creating or improving policy, programs, services and digital experiences. ThinkPlace’s Design for Public Good course will give you leading theory and intense hands on experiences to accelerate your understanding and your practice of design thinking for public impact.

NOTE: This course can be run as one-day introdcutory or two-day intensive course

Duration: One or Two days


  • $800 - $1,600 per person
  • $700 - $1,450 per person for groups of 16 or more

Max class size: 25

About You:

You are involved in the design or implementation of policy, programs, services, compliance or digital experiences.

You work for a government, or a transnational governance organisation (e.g. UN, OECD)

What you will learn:

  • What is a design thinking mindset and how is it different?
  • How design thinking can be used to design better government policy, programs, services and digital experiences
  • How to conduct and synthesise user research to build an evidence base for your design process
  • How to map user journeys, to make the user’s experience and pain points visible
  • Capturing story-based requirements using Harvard’s JTBD framework
  • Ideation approaches to generate breakthrough concepts and models
  • Prototyping approaches to make designs tangible and testable early, allowing iterative improvement
  • How to make your design thinking process relentlessly ethical

education [at] (subject: Interested%20in%20-%20Design%20for%20Public%20Good) (Register your interest and receive notification on upcoming course dates)


5. Situation X

Disaster Response Course ThinkPlace

About the course:

Something has happened. Something very, very bad. And it’s about to hit Australia.

As the news trickles in, you and your team will have to create the Government response to a disturbing situation nobody could have predicted or imagined.

You’ll have to use advanced thinking tools to understand world-scale, long-term consequences, and to work out how the government can intervene to mitigate the worst of what is coming.

The clock is ticking, and nightfall is coming.

Duration: Two days


  • $1,500 per person

Minimum group size: 8

Maximum group size: 16

About You:

You are a You work for a government, or a transnational governance organisation (e.g. UN, OECD). You have a strong understanding, through experience, of how government works.

What you will learn:

  • The Cynefin framework, with a focus on how you make decisions in chaotic and complex situational domains
  • Systems mapping, to extend your understanding of a challenge and identify critical systems-level leverage points to maximise the effect of an intervention
  • Forecasting, enabling you to create realistic future scenarios based on multiple emergent factors and trends, that can form the basis for strategy and planning
  • Divergent and convergent ideation, driving innovative and viable ideas that can break through on intractable issues
  • Bringing these four tools together in an intense, full-day scenario that will have you driving the national recovery from a catastrophic event from the minds of ThinkPlace and an internationally acclaimed science fiction author.

Note: this course contains mild-moderately disturbing content.

education [at] (subject: Interested%20in%20-%20Situation%20X) (Register your interest and receive notification on upcoming course dates)

Want to run an in-house course or immersive?

All of our courses are designed to be run on request for your agency or for a group of agencies that come together with similar learning needs.

In addition to our Accelerated Mastery Program, we also design bespoke training and immersives customised to your specific requirements, on topics such as design thinking, community engagement, digital transformation, futuring/forecasting, ethics, regulatory design, innovation and agile leadership.

Get in touch with us to learn more, or to request a course delivery or development, at education [at]

Join CIPI, our Community for Innovation & Public Impact

CIPI is our community of changemakers – people who are working to design, create and scale public good innovation. Members of CIPI get a 10% discount on all training courses, and access to member-only events/briefings and community connectivity.

Join for free here or learn more

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