University of Technology Sydney

94668 Project: Complex Challenges to Creative Possibilities

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

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 94674c Technology Lab 1: Imagine and Create AND 94673c Science Fiction: Making Futures
The lower case 'c' after the subject code indicates that the subject is a corequisite. See definitions for details.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject engages with the question of how to address the open, complex, dynamic and networked problems facing society. The project enables students to gain first-hand experience of the nature of today's problems, while they experiment with and consider new opportunities afforded by technology, now and into the future. Using research-inspired methodologies and practices already trialled in professional and industry contexts, students enact and test related methods, tools and techniques to create propositions in a collaborative environment. Through engaging with and evaluating the power of various methodologies, and exploring technological possibilities, they are inspired to identify new opportunities and create new approaches to challenges that have confounded conventional problem-solving practices. In the process, this subject hones students' skills in team collaboration, modelling, visualisation and presentation.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

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

1. Identify, describe and explore a range of challenges or situations in order to discern significant opportunities
2. Articulate and explain the thinking behind particular selections of ideas, strategies and interpretations generated in teams
3. Use a range of appropriate methods, techniques and technologies creatively and critically to discover, investigate, design and communicate ideas as a team
4. Examine, select and test various techniques and methods for studying, visualising and understanding both simple and complex problems or systems
5. Generate imaginative ideas, speculative scenarios or provocations and technological ideas that take ethical considerations into account
6. Analyse ideas, situations and opportunities from different disciplinary and personal perspectives to integrate insights for the betterment of others

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

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

  • Communicate, explore, network and negotiate in ways that elicit and are inclusive of ideas from diverse disciplines (3.1)
  • Design, develop and apply appropriate team-based decision-making frameworks and practices to collaborate according to proposed intentions (3.2)
  • Use a range of appropriate data, media, techniques, technologies and methods creatively and critically in multi-disciplinary teams to discover, investigate, design, produce and communicate ideas or artefacts (3.3)
  • Identify and represent the components and processes within complex systems and organise them within relational frameworks (4.1)
  • Identify significant issues, challenges or opportunities and assess potential to act creatively, technologically and ethically on them (5.1)
  • Design and develop technological 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 (5.2)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject provides opportunities for you as a student to draw on diverse perspectives to explore and reframe a complex problem through self-directed and collaborative enquiry. You will be exposed to various methods, practices and tools which will enable you to explore the complexity of problems related to future cities. As part of this, you will work alongside industry and community stakeholders to explore the complexity of developing future cities. Finally, the subject challenges you to experiment with expressing and communicating different ways in which futures cities can be imagined.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Graduate Attribute 3 - Inter- and transdisciplinary practices (Course Intended Learning Outcomes 3.1 and 3.2)
  • Graduate Attribute 4 - Resilient practices within complex systems (Course Intended Learning Outcome 4.1)

  • Graduate Attribute 5 - Imaginative and ethical citizenship (Course Intended Learning Outcomes 5.1 and 5.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

Learning in this subject is experiential and takes place in active, collaborative, immersive and experiential environments, using inquiry-oriented learning strategies. Students work with academics and industry/community mentors across a wide range of disciplines, undertaking a project as individuals and teams. Taking a creative and critical approach, students generate and explore possibilities surrounding a complex opportunity space and work to reframe this problem. Students are required to prepare for each class by completing pre-work, and this is then practically applied in class in interactive seminars, tutorials and/or workshops. Students are given formative feedback on their progress in the subject, both in class face-to-face (weekly) and on all assessment tasks (via Review).

Content (topics)

  • Introduction to complexity
  • Introduction to methodologies for exploring and reframing complex situations
  • Multidisciplinary methods and practices for inquiry, including modelling and visualisation
  • Ethical considerations and values
  • Team communication for transdisciplinary practice, including listening and eliciting ideas


Assessment task 1: Data and discovery in situ


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:


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


Type: Case study
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

Assessment task 2: Future cities


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3, 4 and 5

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

3.2, 3.3, 4.1 and 5.1

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 50%

Assessment task 3: Sensemaking and communicating


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:


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


Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

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 FTDiFYI 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

No required texts. Readings and other resources will be provided online.