All Courses

Utilizing our core areas of expertise, we’ve created high-quality, interactive online courses.  We offer some of them through public offerings. We also offer training for teams and organizations. 

We offer Technology of Participation (ToP ®) courses in partnership with Sacramento Professional Facilitators and the Institute for Cultural Affairs:

Don’t see exactly what you’re looking for? We can customize courses or build new courses to meet your organization’s needs. Please contact for more information.

Creativity Tools to Jumpstart Problem Solving

2-hour session

Throughout the last year, organizations have been forced to adapt in every way imaginable.  This hands-on workshop introduces simple tools you can easily use with groups to move from identifying the right question to ideating solutions.  We’ll provide tools that you can use individually and with your teams to improve, adapt, and transform your programs and organizations.

This class is an action-oriented two hours, where we apply the tools to a real-world problem you identify.  Come ready to engage in some fun, results-oriented tools!


This hands-on class applies creativity and problem solving tools to help you:

  • Ask the right questions
  • Look at problems in a new way
  • Combine perspectives to develop novel insights
  • Ideate to generate solutions

Design Thinking: An Innovation Tool for Turbulent Times

4-hour session or two 2-hour sessions

Organizations need customer-focused ways of reimagining internal and external services. Design thinking provides an approach for deep understanding of service recipients’ needs. Organizations can use design thinking as a human-centered approach to transforming programs and services.

Design thinking arose out of product design with its deep focus on user needs and empathy. Today, it also provides a powerful method for transforming service delivery. As organizations grapple with pandemic and post-pandemic needs, they face massive challenges in delivering essential services. Design thinking offers a structure for purposeful redesigning for the user. We can use it to help our stakeholders reimagine services from the perspective of the person who experiences the services. We’ll give you foundational knowledge and skills to facilitate basic design thinking processes.


In this hands-on training, you’ll gain hands-on experience using design thinking to address an actual organizational challenge. By the conclusion of the session, you should:

  • Understand the fundamentals of design thinking and human-centered design 
  • Complete an actual empathy-focused design process with a team of colleagues
  • Identify opportunities for using this process after the training

This is an ideal course for teams working together to collaboratively solve a problem with a process, service, or product.  Or, it can also be used with individuals from various departments, groups, or organizations.


During this fast-paced session, you’ll learn:

  • Why? Design Thinking
  • What? Guides Practice in Tackling a Real-life Design Challenge in Your Team
  • How? To Continue Using It

Framing Programs for Clarity and Impact

2-hour session

Without a clear logic, programs likely fail. Program staff need a clear understanding of resources, processes, and outcomes. At its core, that’s what a logic model accomplishes. In this session, participants build a model for new and existing client-centered initiatives. Participants also practice telling the story of the program’s purpose, rationale, and intended outcomes. This action-focused session is designed for executive directors, program managers, and other leadership.


In this hands-on training, you’ll gain hands-on experience framing programs and initiatives for clarity and impact. By the conclusion of the session, you should:

  • Understand the Basics of Program Theory
  • Articulate the Importance of Logic Models
  • Develop a Program Logic Model, Including Key Indicators and Outcomes
  • Tell a Story Using the Logic Model Framework


Designing Powerful Online Meeting Experiences

2-hour session

Are you tired of hosting mediocre online meetings? Do you need new ways to move teams forward in this new virtual era? 

In this interactive training, you’ll learn how to engage stakeholders online. Engagement provides a key solution to helping teams reach creative solutions to problems. 

Good meetings happen because good planning happens. We’ll provide you with simple tools to design meaningful online experiences. In this hands-on session, you’ll design a results-oriented online meeting. You’ll also learn how to best facilitate interactive online experiences.


By the conclusion of this session, participants should:

  • Understand the fundamentals of online meeting design and facilitation
  • Design the critical elements of an online meeting
  • Identify the appropriate technological tools to use in a given meeting
  • Use and identify compelling interactive visuals to engage participants


During this fast-paced  session, you’ll learn what to do:

  • Before the Meeting – Establish the purpose, design the meeting, identify technology
  • During the Meeting – Engage participants
  • After the Meeting- Implement decisions

Tools and Tricks for Powerful Online Collaboration

3-hour session

Designed for those that feel good about the basics of facilitating online meetings and are ready to add more pizazz to their next online collaboration.

Facilitators need to learn new, creative ways to engage participants. Many new tools and tricks have emerged recently. But tools and tricks are not enough. They are only valuable when they support the meeting purpose. We will help you identify which tools are appropriate where. You will learn what tools to use to keep participants engaged and interested. 

Participants build skills to successfully facilitate online meeting by learning to:

  • Develop confidence in utilizing multiple tools simultaneously to enhance meeting goals 
  • Experience a variety of tools in various scenarios
  • Apply the online meeting design framework for selecting appropriate tools 
  • Assess whether to use tools in various situations


Offered in a three-hour format. During this fast-paced session, you’ll use tools and learn new ways to impress participants when: 

  • Informing
  • Seeking Feedback
  • Brainstorming
  • Collaborating
  • Making a Decision

Tools and Tricks for Powerful Online Learning

3-hour session.  Are you feeling good about the basics of facilitating online meetings and classes? Ready to add some pizzazz to your next online session?

Facilitators and trainers need creative ways to engage participants and many new tools and tricks have emerged in recent months. But tools and tricks aren’t enough! They’re only valuable when they support the purpose of a meeting or lesson.  We will help you identify which tools are appropriate where. You will learn what tools to use to keep participants engaged and interested. 


Participants build skills to successfully facilitate online education through:

  • Exploring new ways to engage and make online education interesting to their audience.
  • Assessing whether to use tools in various situations.
  • Practicing applying a framework for selecting appropriate online tools for various situations.
  • Experiencing interactive tools within an online platform to enhance participant engagement.


During this three-hour training, we’ll help you design a plan to keep participants engaged and interested. You’ll learn to use tools and strategies to build energy and participation when engaging your audience with a goal for: 

  • Connecting
  • Informing
  • Checking for Understanding
  • Collaborating
  • Doing

ToP Facilitation Methods—Online Intensive

Nine 2.5-hour modules.  Explore, learn, and practice three key processes for activating group participation virtually, in the acclaimed ToP flagship course modified for the virtual world.  This intensive experience will transform your approach to facilitating groups and meetings.

The Technology of Participation (ToP ®) is a world-renowned collection of structured facilitation methods that transform the way groups think, talk, and work together. They enable highly energized, inclusive, and meaningful group collaboration that leads to successful outcomes.  ToP supports genuine participation, which leads to long term commitment and quality outcomes, as well as more effective teamwork. Developed and refined by the Institute of Cultural Affairs, ToP Methods recognize and honor contributions from all group members, identify commonalities, and pool contributions into useful patterns – all while welcoming diversity and minimizing conflict.

This course provides an intensive pathway to applying ToP methods, face-to-face or online. This unique format is for individuals who want training that includes both an understanding of these methods alongside hands-on experience with ToP Methods in order to deepen their capacity and confidence to use them in their work.

Schedule and Format

The class meets 2.5 hours for three mornings each week.  It covers one method each week:

  • Week 1: Focused Conversation – a structured approach to meaningful conversations to increase awareness of differing perspectives and foster a deeper understanding of any topic.
  • Week 2: Consensus Workshop – a method to leverage collective thinking to enable individuals to expand their perspectives, identify areas of group agreement, and gain comfort in moving forward with practical and creative solutions.
  • Week 3: Action Planning – the integration of both the focused conversation and consensus workshop methods in a dynamic process to enable any group to create actionable plans that include ownership, timelines, and success measures.

This comprehensive three week, 9-module course provides the knowledge comprehension and skill practice necessary to apply a rich learning experience back on the job immediately. The curriculum includes structured reading reviews, active participation, discussion, and debriefing of professionally-led demonstrations. Participants then design processes, facilitate groups outside of class with a group of their choosing, and report back on their experience. Coaching, provided in small groups and personally for each participant, includes written feedback on facilitation designs and tips for adapting the online tools provided for each situation.


By the end of the program, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate ability to design and facilitate the three foundational ToP methods.
  • Model neutrality while facilitating the three methods, honoring all participant ideas with equal respect.
  • Identify foundational elements of creating participatory environments online and in-person
  • Create physical or online materials for supporting facilitative methods.

ToP Accelerated Action Planning Online

5-hour session.  Plan and prepare a group project for launch, and develop shared commitment to timelines, tasks, and success measures in the time it takes to have a regular meeting.

This course helps you energize and align your team to successfully plan a project, initiative or event in a matter of hours.

The fast and engaging 8-step planning process ensures that all the practical details that make for a successful project are covered and a comprehensive, high level action plan produced… in just two hours!  This process is especially useful for small teams of 4-10 members who are planning a discrete, defined event or project that will be completed within the next 12 months. 

You’ll receive: Access to the ToP Accelerated Action Planning online and poster template tools to support continued project planning. This course is an accelerated version of the traditional ToP® Action Planning course taught in the two day ToP® Facilitation Methods training.

Most useful for projects that are: 
  • Doable – Tangible project or event. Possible to do given timeframe and resources.
  • Discrete – Separate and distinct. Can be considered individually.
  • Defined – There’s a general understanding of what needs to be done and the desired results.
  • Decided – There’s already consensus that this project or event should happen.


  • Produces a comprehensive high-level action plan in just two hours.
  • Creates a highly motivated team willing to take action.
  • Gets a team on board quickly to develop a plan to address an emergency or priority need.
  • Motivates your team to embrace the plan.
  • Enhances confidence in quickly attaining a successful plan.


By the end of the course, you will:

  • Learn an accelerated 8-step, action planning process.
  • Receive an action planning tool for a small team to quickly develop a high-level plan.
  • Acquire tools to lead a fast and engaging planning session.

Who Should Take this Course

  • Those who need to work with or lead small groups to create effective organization plans
  • Community leaders
  • Team leaders
  • Managers
  • Local, state, and federal leaders and program managers
  • Facilitators and consultants