University of Technology Sydney

81538 Frame Innovation

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Transdisciplinary Innovation
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 81539 Impossibilities to Possibilities
Anti-requisite(s): 81512 Creative Practice and Methods AND 81540 Technology, Methods and Creative Practice AND 94672 Creative Methods and Entrepreneurial Initiatives


This subject is offered every second year.


This subject centres on frame creation, a design-based approach to networked problem solving, developed and used in the UTS Design Innovation Research Centre. Working with the multidisciplinary staff from the centre, participants in this subject engage with the question of how to 'solve the unsolvable' – the open, complex, dynamic and networked problems facing society today. Participants learn the theory behind the nine-step frame creation methodology, putting into practice and testing its associated methods and tools. Through first-hand experience of the power of frame creation, participants create new approaches to problems that have confounded conventional problem-solving practices. They then shift towards the broader practices of frame innovation – the skills, knowledge and mentality required to drive frame creation in an organisation and society.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Examine, select, create and apply various techniques and methods for understanding, visualising, interpreting and investigating both simple and complex problems.
2. Contribute to team-based decision making approaches to deliver on complex and open briefs.
3. Test and articulate the value of different methods for exploring, understanding and addressing complex challenges in creative ways.
4. Explore and ideate using the Frame Creation methodology.
5. Use a range of media and techniques creatively and critically in multi-disciplinary teams to communicate ideas.
6. Work on a client brief to design and develop ideas, strategies and/or practices for betterment.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject contributes specifically to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes:

  • Research and analyse problem situations or contexts from multiple disciplinary or personal perspectives to develop a deep understanding of the needs, interests and values of multiple stakeholders (2.2)
  • Integrate findings from research and problem/stakeholder/data analysis in creative and useful ways to generate a proposal (2.3)
  • Design, develop and apply appropriate team-based decision-making frameworks and participate collaboratively in teams according to proposed intentions (3.2)
  • Select and use a range of appropriate data, tools, techniques, technologies and methods creatively and critically in multidisciplinary teams to discover, investigate, design, produce and communicate ideas or artefacts. (3.3)
  • Design and develop ideas, strategies and practices for betterment that engage with and respond respectfully, generatively and analytically to different ways of knowing across community and cultural contexts (4.2)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The subject provides opportunities for you as a student to draw on diverse disciplinary perspectives to examine the ways stakeholders’ needs, interests and values could be addressed through a creative response to a real-world challenge. Through a thorough step-by-step application of the Frame Innovation methodology you integrate your research findings and stakeholder analysis to critically examine the paradoxes implicit to complex real-world problem situations. You work in multi-disciplinary teams to collaboratively develop a response to an industry or community challenge that is creative, yet sensitive to stakeholder values or cultural contexts.

So your experiences as a student in this subject support you to develop the following graduate attributes (GA):

  • GA 2 Creating value in problem solving and inquiry
  • GA 3 Inter- and trans-disciplinary practices
  • GA 4 Imaginative and ethical citizenship

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject will consist of six full days scheduled over 3 weeks, supplemented by online modules and activities.

Learning will take place in a collaborative, immersive, experiential, studio-based environment. Students will work with academics and professionals across a wide range of disciplines and undertake a project set in a real life context to explore the use of technology and methods in creative practice.

Content (topics)

  • Frame creation methodology
  • Design based methods
  • Team-based decision making
  • Data visualisation and storytelling
  • Evaluating proposals


Assessment task 1: Paradox Box


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

2.2 and 2.3

Type: Case study
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

Assessment task 2: Methodological Map


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 3 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

3.2, 3.3 and 4.2

Type: Report
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 35%

Assessment task 3: Framing for the Common Good


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3, 4 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

3.2 and 4.2

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 40%

Minimum requirements

Students must attempt each assessment task and achieve an overall pass mark in order to pass this subject.

Late penalties apply to all assessment tasks as outlined in the FTDi FYI student booklet. Please consult this booklet for other useful information including Special Consideration, Plagiarism, Extension, and Student Support Services.

A minimum of 80% of attendance of classes (as outlined in the timetable) is required.

Required texts

Dorst, K., Kaldor, L., Klippan, L. and Watson, R., Designing for the Common Good, BIS Publishers, Netherlands

Recommended texts

Dorst, K. (2015) Frame innovation. MIT Press

Dorst, K. (2107) Notes on Design; how creative practice works, BIS Publishers, Netherlands