The Foundations of Innovation Practice

2020 (or the year COVID knocked us all on our asses) was a wake up call to everyone.

We all experienced, in some form, a rapidly-changing external environment. This isn’t going to settle down anytime soon.

Innovation went from being a nice-to-have to being a necessity in how we respond to an ever changing environment. Our online Foundations in Innovative Practice course is designed to introduce you to new skills and mindsets needed to navigate complex public problems.

The program will introduce you to a range of innovation approaches and disciplines. We'll explore an integrated approach to applying new ways of working in different challenge spaces. You’ll leave the course with more tools in your belt and, therefore, more options to respond with when facing uncertainty. After all, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

What you'll learn

We have developed this course to create an on-ramp for anyone who wants to think and work differently. Over six weeks we will:

  • Introduce you to multidisciplinary practices that allow you to understand your problem space more effectively
  • Introduce you to tactics to manage uncertainty
  • Offer you methods to implement more collaborative approaches with your team
  • Encourage reflective practice that connects your practice with your purpose and role

Who can take this course

This course will benefit anyone. You don’t need to work in innovation to benefit from innovation principles — everyone can reframe their work and work differently. You should take this course if:

  • You want to see how innovation applies to your work
  • You’re curious about how different innovation practices fit together
  • You’re looking to introduce new ways of working into your team
  • You're looking to refresh your approaches

Your facilitators

Brenton Caffin has taught, coached and advised executives and their teams from over twenty countries in governments, multilateral and development agencies such as the UN, and international NGOs. Brenton was Executive Director of Global Innovation Partnerships at the UK's innovation foundation, Nesta, from 2013-2020 and is a Nesta Fellow. Brenton was the founding CEO of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, and held executive positions with the South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Government Reform Commission and WorkCover.

Nicole Barling-Luke is the Head of Learning at States of Change. She has spent over 7 years working to create inclusive and engaging learning environments. Initially at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government before joining the States of Change team via Nesta in London. As a manager, designer and facilitator of learning programs Nicole has worked with numerous government departments across the world, as well as international institutions such as the UNDP. Nicole holds an honours degree in Anthropology and is currently completing a Masters of Design Futures at RMIT.

“We used to play on the edges but States of Change has enabled us to have real discussions about the challenges that we all face.”

New Zealand government public servant

The logistics

Delivery: Online. We will use Miro and Zoom for our online sessions. We’ll spend time getting comfortable using both these platforms at the beginning of the course.

Structure: This course covers six modules, one module per week. Each weekly module includes a three-hour online session and one extra hour of preparation and reflection.

Class size: Capped at 25 people to keep it intimate. Individuals and small teams are warmly welcomed to join.

Dates: Thursday April 22nd, 2021 and finishes 27th May, 2021.

Schedule: Online sessions are held each Thursday at 2pm - 5pm AEST. Preparation and reflection are undertaken in your own time, at your own speed.

Facilitators: Brenton Caffin and Nicole Barling-Luke

Cost: AUD$3,500 + GST* per person or a discounted rate for teams of three or more.

Book your place

“The hands-on training, guided by some of the best global public innovation experts and design thinkers, has been a powerful experience. My old ways of thinking have been shaken up, making room for a curious mindset and new skills to tackle complex government issues.”

Louise Dobel. Queensland State Government

Course structure

Six weeks, six modules

  • Module 1: Introduction to the key mindsets and capabilities. Thursday 22nd April: 2pm - 5pm AEST.
  • Module 2: Introduction to the six principles - People and systems. Thursday 29th April: 2pm - 5pm AEST.
  • Module 3: Introduction to the six principles - Facts and futures. Thursday 6th May: 2pm - 5pm AEST.
  • Module 4: Introduction to the six principles - Problems and solutions. Thursday 13th May: 2pm - 5pm AEST
  • Module 5: Leadership and the conditions for change. Thursday 20th May: 2 - 5pm AEST
  • Module 6: Experimental practice and what it means for policy. Thursday 27th May: 2pm - 5pm AEST.

Contact hours and tasks

The time commitment of this course is around four hours a week. Each weekly module includes a three-hour online session, one preparation task that should take 30 minutes, and one reflection task that should take 30 minutes. That's one afternoon and a bit of homework.


If you are interested in attending the course but the timezones don't work for your part of the world, please drop us a line as we will be re-running the course for different time zones over the course of the year.

“I’m asking better questions now. I always come back to ‘What are we missing?’ ‘What are we missing?”

Victoria State Government official

Get in touch

Ask your questions to me, Nicole, and because spaces are limited to keep it intimate, feel free to get in touch to hold a place.

Let's work together