Design thinking for tourism

Tourism Colab Workshops
tourism by design

5 weeks

15 hours


Tourism by design is an intentional approach to creating places that flourish. 

Are you looking to change mindsets and shift thinking in your tourism organisation, business, destination or community?


Are you looking to learn practical, effective and engaging ways of working on tourism's complex challenges?

So you've heard of design thinking, but not quite sure what it is?


Design thinking is so much more than service design, visitor experience design, and customer journeys.  It offers enormous potential to learn and better understand the complex challenges faced by destinations, businesses and communities. 


But before you jump in, it's important to take a journey into and learn. At The Tourism CoLab, we have been working with design principles and applications across destinations, communities, and organisations for over 25 years. We have developed our own approaches, tools and frameworks that are specific to tourism.

In this course, we introduce creative and design thinking. We will take you on a journey to discover your own creativity and how to unlock your team's creative problem-solving capabilities. 

Join us in exploring design thinking and what it means for you, your tourism organisation, your destination, your business and your network.

Design thinking inspires us, but our approach is so much more. We have developed our own approaches and toolkit drawing upon decades of research and application. Whether it's designing a resilient organisation, a destination, visitor experiences, a change journey, or a business makeover, intentional design asks us to work with heads, hearts and our deepest instincts.

We're on a mission to build creative thinking and problem solving capacity in tourism.

Hands up if you think we need new and creative thinking in tourism. Hands up if you think we need a shift of mindset and new ways of problem-solving.

Design thinking is known by a number of different names - human-centred design, systems design, customer service design. The one thing all these applications have in common is intentional design. We'll provide an introduction to intentional design and explain how you can unleash design thinking approaches and tools in tourism. Once you see it, you can't unsee its power to help generate new and creative solutions and actions.

The Tourism CoLab - tourism by design

Course Description

A 5 week online course introducing the basics of design thinking and co-design for tourism. The course is aimed at professionals, destination managers, researchers, students, tourism business and industry stakeholders who would like to understand design thinking, co-design and how these practices can change how we work in tourism.

Add-on virtual whiteboard training available

The five-week Tourism by Design course can be complemented with a hands-on training package currently under development where you can learn how to use a virtual whiteboard to host, engage and support your community conversations. More information when enrolments open.

Course Objectives

  • Explore design thinking principles, skills, tools and practices

  • Explore the difference between traditional problem-solving and design thinking 

  • Learn about co-design, what it is, what it entails, and how to develop the practice.

Course Content

  • What is design thinking illustrated with case studies

  • What is the pedagogy and tools that underpin this way of thinking and problem-solving

  • Leading a design thinking exercise, the art, craft and science of facilitation

  • Practical skills in design thinking facilitation and co-design

  • Summary, reflections, from strategic management to co-design and working in complexity

Our approach to Tourism by Design is inspired by nature's design, complex systems, and creative thinking. We've applied these principles to organisations, to destinations, and in place-making experiments. It's an approach that inspires and connects participants in the story of special places.

Course Delivery

A 5 week introductory course that combines cutting edge thinking on the intentional design in tourism. 


The course runs over 5 weeks and includes:

5 x Learning circles (Live 1.5hr zoom sessions every week).

5 x Learning modules including learning materials, tools and templates.

Access to The Tourism CoLab’s membership community (one year).

What you will gain

  • Familiarity with design thinking principles and approaches.

  • Working knowledge of design thinking, tools and practices.

  • A working appreciation of co-design, what it means and what it involves.

  • Access to design thinking templates and tools to help you on the journey.

  • Certificate of completion.

Our commitment

We offer a 30 day satisfaction guarantee or your money back. 

Want to know more about the importance of creativity and design thinking?

Co-design is so much more...

Co-design is so much more than an interactive meeting with a whiteboard and sticky notes. It is also so much more than asking your industry what they think and producing a list of bullet points. Done well, a design thinking process can generate ownership, joint actions and shared intentions.


But it's important to understand the pedagogy and design principles that will take all your stakeholders from A to B and beyond.

If you are interested in bringing co-design into your organisation, your community or your network, talk to us. We will deliver a co-design journey that builds capacity, new skills and collective action.

We can deliver in person, online and in a hybrid mode to suit your needs. Send us an email to make a time to chat!


Q. When does the course start and finish?


The course website will open one week prior to the start date. The content for the Introduction and Module 1 will be available at this time. Thereafter, the relevant materials for the next module will be released one week ahead of time.


Q. How is the course run?


The course will be run using Zoom and Teachable (learning resources and worksheets).


Zoom presentations will be recorded and made available for viewing. Unstructured check-in sessions will not be recorded.


Q. What happens if I can't attend the live webinars?


The course may be completed asynchronously. That is, you can view the learning materials and the webinar recording in your own time. 


Q. How long do I have access to the course?


After enrolling, you have access to this course for three (3) months, across any and all devices or until further notice.


Q. What if I am unhappy with the course?


We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.


Q. Will the course be offered at a later date?


Yes. The course will be offered again (dates to be confirmed) but we can't guarantee the same pricing.