Details to help you make your own activities


The Card Sets contain a selection of Activities that describe different ways to use the Change Design Principle and Key Factor cards. These prepared Activities are a starting point for how you might engage with the Principles as you design experiences for people.

You can create your own Activities, with knowledge of the four underlying concepts that shape how you utilise the cards. It is a combination of these four concepts that produces a fit-for-purpose conversation using the Principles.

The four concepts are:

  1. Time and intention focus for the conversation: past (reflection or evaluation); present (observation or participation); future (ideation)
  2. Role of influence for the conversation: directly, indirectly; mix of direct and direct
  3. Method of selecting principles for conversation: intentional; random; mix of intentional and random
  4. Participant in the conversation: self; group; mix of self and group

These are further explained below.


This diagram illustrates the four concepts ; and how two of the Activity cards in the Card Sets relate as a combination of the four concepts.

Model showing four concepts that when mixed in combinations can produce different approaches to using the Change Design Principle cards


1. Time and intention focus for the conversation

The conversation that you have with the cards may be focused on the past, the present or the future. Typically a focus on the past is with the intention to look back, to reflect on or evaluate what happened. A focus on the present is with the intention to be present, with mindfulness of what is being observed and what is the actual nature of participation. A focus on the future is with the intention to look forward, to generate knowledge (including ideas) to address possible futures or shape preferred futures. Choose a temporal space (i.e. time) that best fits the focus for your conversation; and set the intention accordingly.


2.Role of influence for the conversation

When you design with a human-centred perspective, you design for a person or persons and their purpose. It is best if one or more of those people are part of the conversation so they can directly influence what goes into the conversation and where the conversation might go. This is a primary source of knowledge. There will be occasions when you cannot access these people so their influence will be indirect and come from secondary sources such as interviews, surveys, anecdotal conversations, stories, data sets, etc. There is a risk that secondary sources are misinterpreted; or inappropriately nuanced due to translation through the cognitive filters of those who are actually in the conversation. When you are aware of such risks, you can mitigate for some consequences.

It is good to have cognitive diversity in the knowledge contributed to the conversation, as well as what emerges in the conversation. The people who will be directly affected by, or will participate/use what you design, bring real – often messy yet critical – knowledge to the conversation. This is where the potential for meaningful and effective change experiences lies.

Generally we don’t recommend approaches to change design conversations that are solely ‘indirect’ influence.


3. Method of selecting Principles for conversation

The Principles are separate entities for which any combination could serve a situation. A combination of Principles may come from people in the conversation intentionally choosing them. They might go with a sense of resonance or intution; or be lead by particular insights or formal knowledge; or connect to relevant experiences. In this situation, the Principles represent part of the wisdom that exists in the group in the conversation.

By intentionally selecting Principles, there is the risk of tapping into assumptions, cognitive heuristics (aka biases), current frames of reference, and known patterns. In situations with high complexity, this can inappropriately constrain novel innovative thinking. So randomly selecting cards, introduces an element of serendipity and opens the conversation to new vectors.

You may have participants in the conversation who wish to intentionally select Principles because they align to a vision or critical success factor – and to select a Principle is an act of leadership (situational or positional).  To get the best of leadership intention, and fresh possiblity – then do a mix of intentionally and randomly selecting Principles.


4. Participant in the conversation

It is possible to have a meaningful conversation with yourself! You may do so with the Change Design Principles to set/reset your mindset; to reframe your thinking about an approach; and to stimulate new ideas that become part of your approach. This maybe for your own personal development; to lead others in a team of practitioners; or to role-model new practices to others.

The real power of the Change Design Principles comes in the creation and utilisation of collective knowledge from a group of people. The group comes to share new meaning and make agreements for action based on participation in the conversation. The group conversation can be with practitioners preparing to serving others (indirectly-outward); with the practioners improving the quality of their team practice (directly-inward); or with a set of practitioners facilitating those who will be directly affected.

As a group is made up of individuals, there can be great value in mixing participation with self and group work – where self-work is personal preparation for the group work.


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