Using creative facilitation to solve ‘wicked problems’: entrepreneurship for all

Hilary Collins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Downloads (Pure)


Our creative facilitation project, in partnership with a key charity, aims to offer some new thinking in how we can adopt a different, and more creative approach to explore knotty problems. We discuss how this project delivered and evaluate to what extent; our approach will offer additional armoury to organisations and individuals through the development of a practical online creative toolkit that third sector organisations can use to co-create entrepreneurial solutions with users. We detail the design and facilitation of five online workshops to illicit issues around the problem areas and then following on from the workshops themselves an additional co- creation collaboration to develop ideas for solutions also developed and delivered. Working with the charity aiming to support entrepreneurship for an aging society- entrepreneurship for all- we had participants from a variety of companies, stakeholders, individuals and professionals in caring and health roles as well as entrepreneur experts. We used a combination of two different perspectives on making change: a system thinking approach and a design thinking approach.

A systems approach looks at problems and potential solutions through the lens of a wider environment. Systems thinking is an approach to analysis that focusses on how the different parts of a system interrelate and how systems work within the context of other, larger systems. It is a holistic approach that can be used in many areas of both business design and research. We incorporated this with design thinking, which is a creative approach to problem-solving that encompasses three aspects: desirability, feasibility, and viability. The goal of desirability is to fully understand the problems within the organization by asking what people are “hearing and seeing and feeling and thinking.” This process of identifying the “deeply felt needs” of various stakeholders is sometimes referred to as human-centred design or empathy. The second aspect—feasibility—requires stakeholders and planners to look at what is possible in the organization in terms of existing and potential capacity, human resources, processes, and technology. Finally, the third aspect is viability, which requires us to consider how a change can be implemented and sustained over time.

Following initial explorations and collaborations in the workshops, three questions were set to guide the project and the results of these and led to insights on collaborative co-creation for wicked problems with a positive user experience. How can digital transformation in creative facilitation be used to co-create solutions that address the needs and wants of potential entrepreneurs? How can Design Thinking and Systems thinking be used to enable collaboration to create concepts for entrepreneurship for all? Can the process of collaborative co- creation be enhanced by incorporating design and systems thinking? The paper also reports back on the results of this project now used to develop online courses for budding entrepreneurs.

The project has impact by developing supportive toolkits and a robust course development model for online short course development . We were able to develop online workshops to gain a deep understanding of the needs of industry stakeholders and entrepreneurs. The results enabled the charity to support entrepreneurship for all ages and for us to develop the pedagogy for online courses using concepts and tools that have been trialled in this project.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication16th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
EditorsLuis Gómez Chova, Chelo González Martínez, Joanna Lees
Place of PublicationValencia
PublisherInternational Academy of Technology, Education and Development
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9788409559428
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameICERI Proceedings
PublisherIATED Academy
ISSN (Print)2340-1095


  • design thinking
  • creative facilitation
  • entrepreneurship


Dive into the research topics of 'Using creative facilitation to solve ‘wicked problems’: entrepreneurship for all'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this