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Co-Design: A How-To Workshop for Facilitating Community-Led Innovation

Join us for a hands-on facilitation workshop to prepare you to host and lead creative and collaborative Community Innovation sessions. 

How can you bring diverse members of your community together to develop creative new ideas, innovative approaches to persistent problems, and build alignment and momentum for action?  

Over the past 17 years the Tamarack Institute has been helping communities come together in creative ways for community change. This workshop will give you the tools and practice to host and lead these collaborative Co-Design sessions effectively. We will go deep on different approaches to engage the community to innovate together, understand what makes these kinds of gatherings distinct, and provide you with tools that you can use to host them.

Building on our deep practice knowledge in Community Engagement and Community Innovation, this is a unique opportunity to learn how to combine these practices for positive community change.

What Will I Learn?

Our unique workshop format will provide participants with hands-on experience and a step-by-step approach to designing and facilitating collaborative Community Innovation sessions. This 2-day workshop will include: 

  • A step-by-step approach to designing inclusive collaborative gatherings that meet the needs of your community

  • An exploration of best practices in community engagement and innovation

  • A set of principles and techniques to guide facilitation and help troubleshoot tough situations.

  • The use of interactive exercises, case studies, and real-world vignettes to make ideas and methods concrete.
By the end of this exciting, 2-day workshop you will be able to:
  • Confidently design an engaging Community Innovation session that works for your community

  • Navigate session conflicts successfully and respectfully

  • Effectively facilitate Community innovation sessions

This workshop is best suited to those who have an interest and some basic knowledge and experience with community engagement and are eager to tackle the challenging but critical task of hosting gatherings to spark new ideas and inspire the community to act and build together.

This Workshop Is For You If:

  • You are interested in bringing diverse stakeholders together but aren’t sure how to best manage the conversation 

  • Engagement or Innovation is part of your job description 

  • You are in a Collective Impact network and want to learn how to facilitate gatherings that lead to a common agenda and identify areas for action with community 

  • You are a social innovator 

Learning Agenda:

Highlights of the learning agenda include:

  • Essential components of Innovation and Engagement What makes new ideas possible.

  • A design approach – How the needs of your community should shape your engagement design.

  • The key is diversity – How to ensure your session is truly inclusive, respectful, and honours diverse people and perspectives.

  • The facilitator’s toolkit – Tips, tricks, and techniques for maximizing your impact.

  • Choosing the right method – Exploring various methods for each stage of the co-design process and helping you to select the right method based on your goals.

  • Bringing it all together – Designing your next engagement.






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"The palette of approaches for community changemakers is ever-expanding, but with all of these new approaches and trends, how do those working to effect community change know where to start, what to draw upon, and what to leave behind?"

Galen MacLusky, An Overview of Community Change Trends - Part One: Design-Based Approaches


Lisa Attygalle

In her role at Tamarack, Lisa works with cities and organizations to help them meaningfully engage their communities. Over the last six years her work has focused on creating authentic engagement strategies and training staff teams, teaching and writing about innovative engagement methodologies, designing and facilitating workshops with a focus on raising the voice of the context expert, integrated communications planning, and the use of technology and creativity for engagement. Lisa advocates for simplicity in infrastructure, frameworks and design and loves applying the principles of marketing, advertising, loyalty, and user experience to community initiatives.

Lisa comes to this work from the private sector where she worked at one of Canada's leading communications firms with clients in agribusiness, healthcare, financial services and technology. Lisa brings private sector knowledge to public sector work. Hailing from Australia, Lisa also worked on major water infrastructure projects as the liaison between municipal government, engineering and the community.

Liz Weaver 1Liz Weaver

Liz Weaver is the Co-CEO of Tamarack Institute where she is leading the Tamarack Learning Centre. The Tamarack Learning Centre has a focus on advancing community change efforts and does this by focusing on five strategic areas including collective impact, collaborative leadership, community engagement, community innovation and evaluating community impact. Liz is well-known for her thought leadership on collective impact and is the author of several popular and academic papers on the topic. She is a co-catalyst partner with the Collective Impact Forum and leads a collective impact capacity building strategy with the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Liz is passionate about the power and potential of communities getting to impact on complex issues. Prior to her current role at Tamarack, Liz led the Vibrant Communities Canada team and assisted place-based collaborative tables develop their frameworks of change, and supported and guided their projects from idea to impact.


The workshop will take place at Ryerson Student Centre in the Tecumseh Auditorium located at 63 Gould St, Toronto, ON M5B 1E9 from March 4-5, 2020. 


Registration will open at 8:30am on both March 4th and 5th. Coffee & tea will be served. The workshop begins at 9:00am and runs until 4:00pm, with lunch and snacks provided.



The registration rate (in Canadian dollars) is

$850 per person for a single registration

$800 per person for groups of 2-4

$750 per person for groups of 5 or more

Vibrant Communities members are eligible for the lowest rate. The registration rate includes the two-day workshop, practical exercises and a membership into Tamarack Institute's Learning community. 

If you are in need of assistance with your registration or have any questions, contact Jack Gibbings. 



Get a jump on your learning with these suggested resources:

Paper | An Overview of Community Innovation Trends: Part One - Design Based Approaches

Paper | Creating Fertile Soil: Catalyzing Community Innovation


March 4-5 | Toronto, ON

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For questions regarding this event, reach out to Stephanie.
For questions regarding invoicing and payments, reach out to Jana.